News & Analysis

PFF ReFocused, NFL Preseason Week 3: Pittsburgh Steelers 18, Tennessee Titans 6

The Tennessee Titans gave up two early scores through the air and never clawed their way back, ultimately falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 18-6.

PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game and the other games played this week will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle. ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats.

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Final Score

Pittsburgh Steelers 18, Tennessee Titans 6

Pittsburgh Steelers

In his first 2019 action, Ben Roethlisberger hit on a deep post to JuJu Smith-Schuster for a touchdown that looked like mid-season form. But he also missed on a couple of short passes that should have been easy completions.

After James Washington‘s disappointing rookie season, he's looking significantly improved this preaseason. He only caught one pass on Sunday night, but it was a throw of 40-plus air yards from Mason Rudolph on a post route for a touchdown, his second score of the preseason. It's nearly impossible to replace the caliber of Antonio Brown, but Washington stepping up this season would help mitigate the loss and take some attention off Smith-Schuster.

Stephon Tuitt turned in a quality performance in this one, starring as a pass-rusher on multiple snaps en route to two sacks among several other positve plays.

Tuzar Skipper has been impressive all preseason. The undrafted rookie out of Toldeo added another sack to keep his streak of a sack in every preseason game.

Rookie Takeaways

As mentioned above, Tuzar Skipper has been lights out all preseason and continued to dominate the line of scrimmage against Tennesse. Isaiah Buggs struggled significantly in the trenches. The former ‘Bama standout struggled to get off blocks in run defense and when rushing the passer.

Tennessee Titans

The thing that stood out the most on the Titans' defense was their complete lack of ability to get pressure on the quarterback, whether it was their starters or further down the depth chart. Regardless of the quality of some of their defenders in coverage, a lack of a pass-rush is going to make things far more difficult on them if their inability to generate pressure becomes a trend.

Tennessee has several rookie defensive linemen vying for final roster spots behind their starters. While Isaiah Mack didn't do much as a pass-rusher in his limited playing time, he was fully in control in run defense on several occasions. He made at least a couple stops himself and beat his blocker to force the running back away from the intended point of attack on several other plays, as well.

The Titans' starting offense struggled to get anything on offense on the two drives Marcus Mariota was in the ball game. He failed to complete a pass and took a safety before heading to the sideline. When Ryan Tannehill was also under siege behind Tennessee's offensive line, but he still completed 6-of-9 passes for 62 yards before handing the reigns to former AAF star Logan Woodside.

Rookie Takeaways

Isaiah Mack was easily the Titans' top defensive lineman in this one. He didn't offer much as a pass-rusher, but his run defense was outstanding. Rookie running back Alex Barnes struggled in pass protection and added little above expectation when called upon in the run game.

[Editor’s Note: All of PFF’s player grades and advanced statistics are finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle of each game during the preseason. Sign up today to gain access!]

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