News & Analysis

NFL Week 7 PFF ReFocused: Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Tennessee Titans 24

Oct 25, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) flips the ball as he scores against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers remain the AFC's only undefeated team after building a 24-7 halftime lead over the Tennessee Titans and holding on when a Stephen Gostkowski field goal sailed wide with 19 seconds remaining.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story of the Game

At 38-years-old and with an average depth of target of 7.2 yards, Ben Roethlisberger cannot push the ball downfield. He looked tremendous in Nashville, embracing his physical limitations to carve up the Titans defense as a lethal dink-and-dunk passer.

Derrick Henry finished the first half with eight carries for 27 yards, averaging less than a yard before contact. Without Taylor Lewan, the Titans offense could not get any push against the Steelers defensive front. 

Tannehill looked like a shell of the MVP candidate he has been through the first six weeks. He came into the game ranked as the fourth-highest-graded QB on throws for 10 yards or more. Without a dominant performance from Henry, Tannehill could not thrive off of play-action, attempting only two deep balls of at least 20 yards. 

Oct 25, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Roethlisberger delivered the ball to seven different targets, leading all QBs with the shortest average time to throw (2.27 seconds). The quick passing game wore out the Titans' pass-rush, which generated five total pressures. 

A.J. Brown almost single-handedly led the comeback for Tennessee, compiling 95 of his 153 receiving yards after the catch.

Rookie Watch

Chase Claypool played in 65.7% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps, catching just one pass — he looked like a decoy while his teammates combined for 17 receptions, 222 yards and two touchdowns. 

For Tennessee, Kristian Fulton tallied 34 snaps as the primary backup to 14-year veteran Johnathan Joseph. Fulton held up in coverage, allowing three catches on four targets for 28 yards. 

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