PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers kept insisting during a listless preseason the intensity would be there once the calendar flipped to September and the games started to count.
The calendar flipped. The Steelers still flopped.
Sloppy at the start and injury ravaged by the finish, Pittsburgh opened the regular season with a dismal 16-9 loss to Tennessee on Sunday. The offense managed just 32 yards rushing. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times.
And while the defense kept Tennessee under wraps, it still allowed a pair of lengthy scoring drives.
Even worse, Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey ripped up his right knee and linebacker Larry Foote ruptured his biceps. Both players are likely out for the season.
Weve got a lot of work to do, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. Nobody cares about our problems. Theyre glad weve got them. We need to understand that. We need to stick together and persevere.
Roethlisberger never looked comfortable while completing 21 of 33 passes for 191 yards and an interception.
Tennessees Jackie Battle ran for a 3-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and Rob Bironas kicked three field goals for the Titans.