It’s an age-old saying in sports, sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn’t. On Sunday the ball was not bouncing the Steelers way. There are multiple examples of just how close this game came to a huge blowout victory for Pittsburgh.
1.) Titans First Break – Tip Drill
The Titans needed the drive to get back into the game. Pittsburgh had just taken a 14-0 lead and the Titans had a third and long situation. Ryan Tannehill dropped back to throw on the play and the ball was tipped at the line. Then, it looked like Minkah Fitzpatrick would come up with a huge interception, but the ball bounced off his hands and into the arms of receiver Adam Humphries.
This play kept the Titans’ drive alive. If the ball had hit the ground the Titans would have been forced to punt. A Fitzpatrick interception could have opened this game up to get really ugly early on. Instead, the Titans finished the drive with a touchdown and cut the lead to 14-7.
2.) Titans Catch Another – Perfect Bounce
On that same first drive, the Steelers had a second chance to get a big turnover. Vince Williams absolutely blasted Ryan Tannehill at the five-yard line.
— Anthony Biase (@AnthonyBiase) October 25, 2020
The ball was clearly out for a fumble but bounced right into the arms of Titan tight end Marc Mariani. On the field, it was not ruled a fumble. The announcers said the Steelers should challenge the play, however, with the clear recovery by the Titans it wouldn’t have made sense to throw the red flag.
Again, the Steelers were so close to getting a big turnover on this drive, but the ball just didn’t bounce their way.
3.) Steelers First Break Comes Too Late
Pittsburgh finally caught a big break in the game, but it came too late in the half. On fourth-down on their own 32-yard line, the Titans lined up to punt the ball back to the Steelers. A bad snap forced Titan’s punter Brett Kern to try to make a play, but it ended in the Steelers taking over at the Titans 32-yard line.
With only 14 seconds on the clock, however, the Steelers didn’t have enough time to make anything happen before the half and ended the half with a hail mary attempt that was intercepted.
4.) Titans Second and Third Interceptions
This is two huge breaks in one.
Jayon brown is good at football 🤝
— ELI⚔️ (@i_am_DEH) October 26, 2020
The first was a classic tip drill play. Roethlisberger’s pass is batted into the air and lands in the waiting arms of Jayon Brown. The Steelers tip drill earlier in the game landed in that arms of Humphries for a big first down. The Steelers, though, were not nearly as lucky.
Roethlisberger’s third interception was another huge break/bounce for the Titans. The ball to Juju Smith-Schuster looks to hit off the helmet of Jayon Browns and takes a favorable bounce and is intercepted by Amani Hooker.
5.) Steelers Break – The Huge Miss
The Steelers were preparing to go to overtime. The Titans were lining up for a game-tying 45-yard field goal.
🗣️"No good!" ❌
Stephen Gostkowski missed a 45-yard field goal with 19 seconds left as the Steelers beat the Titans to stay unbeaten in the #NFL
Watch full highlights below and more now on @SkySportsNFL 👇
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) October 25, 2020
The miss by Gostkowski iced the game for the Steelers and gave them the break they needed to get out of Tennesse with the win.
As Coach Tomlin said after the game in his press conference: “You don’t win many games by being minus-3 in the turnover department. You don’t win many games by giving up 73-yard TD passes.”
You also don’t win many games when the ball is just not bouncing your way. On Sunday, despite all of that, this team still found a way to win. They are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL and just the second team in Steelers history to reach a 6-0 record.