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Titans Open Regular Season Sunday at Pittsburgh

Posted Sep 2, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans (0-0) open the regular season on the road this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0), marking the 76th all-time meeting between the two franchises. Kickoff at Heinz Field (capacity 65,500) is scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT/noon CDT on Sunday, Sept. 8.

Download Game Release (PDF)

THE BROADCAST

This week’s game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF News Channel 5. Ian Eagle will handle play-by-play duties while Dan Fouts provides analysis.

The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck and sideline reporter Cody Allison.

Additionally, ESPN Radio will broadcast the game to a national radio audience. Sean Mc-
Donough (play-by-play) and Mike Tomczak (analyst) will have the call.

TITANS TURN FOCUS TO REGULAR SEASON

The Titans turn their attention to the Steelers after closing out the preseason last week at Minnesota.

The Vikings got a late field goal to win the game by a final score of 24-23, ending what was a back-and-forth affair that featured eight lead changes. It left the Titans with a 1-3 preseason record.

The Titans used the bulk of their starters, including quarterback Jake Locker, for only a series against the Vikings. Some, such as running back Chris Johnson, never took the field.

Locker completed three of five passes against the Vikings to bring his preseason passing totals to 49 attempts, 33 completions, 338 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 93.7. The eighth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Locker is entering his second season as the team’s starter. In 2012, he started 11 games, missing five full games and parts of two other contests with a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury. Including his rookie season, his career statistics include 211-of-380 passing for 2,718 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, plus two additional rushing touchdowns.

The Titans this week begin their third campaign under head coach Mike Munchak, who is in his 32nd consecutive season as a player or coach with the franchise. His total of 15 wins from 2011-12 was the third highest number in team history in a head coach’s first two full seasons.

Munchak and general manager Ruston Webster oversaw significant changes to the team during the 2013 offseason. Through free agency and the draft, the Titans added more than two dozen new faces. Among the veteran newcomers expected to make their regular-season debuts this week with the Titans are safety Bernard Pollard (Ravens), left guard Andy Levitre (Bills), center Rob Turner (Rams), tight end Delanie Walker (49ers), linebacker Moise Fokou (Colts), defensive end Ropati Pitoitua (Chiefs) and defensive tackle Sammie Hill (Lions). The team’s first-round draft pick, right guard Chance Warmack, also is expected to start this week.

Levitre, Turner and Warmack, alongside stalwart bookend tackles Michael Roos (left) and David Stewart (right), are commissioned with opening holes for Johnson, who begins his sixth NFL season on Sunday. Since Johnson entered the league in 2008, his 6,888 rushing yards rank second in the NFL, trailing only Adrian Peterson’s 7,508 rushing yards.

THE STEELERS

Led by Mike Tomlin, who enters his seventh season as head coach, the Steelers are coming off an 8-8 record and a third-place finish in the AFC North in 2012.

Yet the Steelers finished last season with the NFL’s top-ranked defense (275.8 yards per game) and the league’s best passing defense (185.2). It was the fourth time under Tomlin that the Steelers led the league in total defense, and many of the mainstays in the lineup return in 2013, such as linebacker LaMarr Woodley and safety Troy Polamalu.

The Steelers offense is led by two-time Pro Bowler Ben Roethlisberger. In nine previous seasons, the former first-round pick has quarterbacked the team to four division titles, three AFC Championships and two Super Bowl victories. During the 2012 campaign, he passed for 3,265 yards and 26 touchdowns with only eight interceptions, and along the way, he surpassed Terry Bradshaw as Pittsburgh’s all-time leading passing yards leader.

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