|Other Week 1 Game Recaps|
|BUF at NE||CHI at GB||DAL at TB||DEN at CIN||DET at NO||JAX at IND||KC at BAL||MIA at ATL|
|MIN at CLE||NYJ at HOU||PHI at CAR||SD at OAK||SF at ARI||STL at SEA||TEN at PIT||WAS at NYG|
Week 1 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 10, Pittsburgh Steelers 13
|QB Kerry Collins, Pass: 22 - 35 - 244 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0|
Collins might be one of the oldest starting QBs in the league, but he stood tall and moved the offense against arguably the best defense in the league. Collins made one mistake, underthrowing a deep ball that resulted in a Troy Polamalu interception, when rookie Kenny Britt had a step on Polamalu. Collins was able to elude pressure more than once and find a safety valve. Ten to fifteen yard outs were open all night, and Collins was connecting with his receivers on them at will. Collins read the field and made the right decision like a veteran should. The big gain of the night was a long catch and run to Britt when Ryan Clark lost track of the big wideout. Collins was also victimized by a Justin Gage drop in the end zone, or he could have had a bigger night. He's still only a backup fantasy QB, but he's safer in that role than some of his peers who present more upside.
|RB Chris Johnson, Rush: 15 - 57 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)|
It was a disappointing night for Johnson, not because of any shortcoming on his part, but because of the lack of creativity in the playcalling. Even with little room to run against the Steelers stout front seven, Johnson had a decently productive night on his modest amount of carries. With superior vision, he found the cutback twice to break long gains, but was otherwise stymied by the Steelers defense as a runner. As a receiver, Johnson got one opportunity, and made good on it, eluding LaMarr Woodley in the open field for a good gain. Unfortunately, the Titans did not call more designed passes to Johnson, or he could have easily had a 100+ total yard evening. The light back also showed blocking prowess, holding up a blitzing LB to give Collins enough time to convert a key third down. Johnson yielded to LenDale White about 1/3 of the time, but he is still the clear lead back for the Titans. Johnson also got the sole red zone carry for the team, and he ran inside with the toughness of a bigger back. Check his owners for a buy low moment next week.
|RB LenDale White, Rush: 8 - 28 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)|
White was indeed slimmer, quicker, and had a little more pop at the end of the runs. He planted his foot in the ground and cut upfield decisively to get productive gains, and even looked competent on his one passing target. We didn't get any goal line situations to see if White is still the prevalent choice when the Titans are knocking on the door. White also had a nice blitz pickup on James Harrison. He looks better suited to be a lead back if Chris Johnson were to go down than he did last year.
|WR Justin Gage, Rec: 7 - 78 - 1 (11 targets)|
Justin Gage had a big night in the box score, but it could have been even bigger. Gage dropped two passes, one in the end zone. Still, he was a very dependable target for Kerry Collins all night, finding soft spots in the zone and absorbing punishment to move the chains. He had one long gain overturned by one of the many illegal formation penalties on the Titans, but otherwise he did not look dangerous on his downfield targets, even though he drew a weak penalty call on Troy Polamalu, who him blanketed on an attempted longball. Gage has Collins trust, but the number of targets he gets will go down significantly when the Titans can establish the run and have their full compliment of targets in the passing game.
|WR Kenny Britt, Rec: 4 - 85 - 0 (6 targets)|
Britt got a lot of snaps in his first regular season game because Nate Washington was not 100% for this game. He was inconsistent in his route running, but when he was sharp, he easily got open on 15-yard outs. He also had the biggest gain of the night on a catch and run that showed the physical talent that made him a first round pick. This passing offense is not potent enough to make Britt a serious fantasy threat this year, but he should become the best downfield receiver on this team in time.
|WR Nate Washington, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets)|
Washington was a surprise active after most signs indicated that he would have to sit out the season opener against his old mates. He didn't trust his hamstring enough to run the deep routes that got him noticed as a member of the Steelers, but he did catch an underneath route from Collins to convert a third down. With Kenny Britt looking ready to assume a role in this passing offense, it's hard to get excited about Washington's prospects, even when he's healthy.
|TE Bo Scaife, Rec: 5 - 48 - 0 (6 targets)|
Scaife was Kerry Collins main man early, often catching passes on short routes in formations where he lined up outside, and also staying close to the line of scrimmage so Collins could find him when he was under duress. Scaife had to leave the game when James Harrison hit him hard and buckled his knee. Scaife was in enough pain that he just put the ball on the ground so he could grab his knee.
|TE Alge Crumpler, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (3 targets)|
Crumpler got a few safety value targets, but mostly looked fat and slow.
|TE Craig Stevens (1 targets)|
Stevens got in the game when Scaife went down because Jared Cook was also out. He got one catch downfield for a first down, but it was overturned by penalty. He struggled mightily as a blocker against the Steelers ferocious OLBs.
|TE Jared Cook|
Cook was inactive, but we have to point out that Kerry Collins really favored the TE as a safety valve, completing seven passes to tight ends. Bo Scaife also went down with a knee injury. If Cook gets Scaife's targets, he could easily crack the top 10-15 fantasy TEs in any given week that Scaife is out.
|QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pass: 33 - 43 - 363 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0|
If you took Roethlisberger as your backup QB, congratulations. It looks like the Steelers will have most of their success as an offense through the air, especially in the no huddle. Big Ben had a few shaky trademark Big Ben moments, eating the ball instead of throwing it away and costing the team three points, and being off on his timing to Santonio Holmes early in the game on an out, resulting in an interception. His other interception was on the last play on the half trying to make something happen, one that shouldn't be counted too heavily against him. Roethlisberger was doing his usual Houdini act when under pressure, but mostly, the Steelers much-maligned offensive line gave him a lot of time to calmly survey the field and find open receivers. Roethlisberger showed outstanding accuracy on downfield throws, and finished the game with 12 straight completions. He has one of the better starting WR combos in the league, and he should be a starting quality fantasy QB most weeks as long as the Steelers game plan to their strength on offense.
|RB Willie Parker, Rush: 13 - 19 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)|
Parker was showered with praise leading into this game, but he couldn't anything going against the Titans. Sometimes the hole just wasn't there, but Parker also looks like his initial burst is nowhere near what it used to be. He was more tentative on his attack, and he was not very nimble in and out of his cuts. The one time he did get to the second level of the defense, Parker had trouble keeping his feet. He will still have some big games when the Steelers dominate their opponents, but Parker is clearly an average back. If Rashard Mendenhall was running like a first-round pick, Parker's job would be in danger, and his work might get cut down anyway because this offensive line is much, much better at pass blocking than run blocking. He's looking like an acceptable RB2/Flex in favorable matchups, but not a guy you'll just leave in your lineup every week.
|RB Mewelde Moore, Rush: 5 - 8 - 0, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (7 targets)|
Moore is the RB in the no huddle offense, and the Steelers are most effective when they are in the no huddle. Coincidence? Moore showed the best initial burst of the Steelers three RBs, and as usual, he converted some good gains as a receiver out of the backfield. Moore made a few Titans miss in open space, and his role is bound to grow, whether by injury or necessity. He should be picked up in deep PPR leagues.
|RB Rashard Mendenhall, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0|
Mendenhall got in for a few series, and it wasn't pretty. On his first series, he ran in to Ben Roethlisberger, and then picked the wrong hole on the next carry. He ran tougher and flashed his patented spin move in his second series, even getting a few yards after contact. It's hard to get excited about Mendenhall in any scenario, because the Steelers offensive line is getting no push at the point of attack.
|RB Frank Summers|
Summers was largely ineffective as a lead blocker, but that just made him blend into an ineffective Steelers offensive line on running plays.
|WR Santonio Holmes, Rec: 9 - 131 - 1 (11 targets)|
Santonio has clearly carried over the trust he earned in the Super Bowl. He was silky smooth on his routes, displaying sticky hands and solid run after catch instincts when he was targeted. Holmes got open with ease, especially on his 34-yard TD when he snuck behind Chris Hope. Holmes made a tough catch in traffic over the middle, he got down and made the catch when Big Ben missed low, and he responded to a redirection from Big Ben perfectly on a key fourth quarter play to set up the tying field goal. He was drafted as a WR2/WR3 in most leagues, but this kind of WR1 production should be common for Holmes this year.
|WR Hines Ward, Rec: 8 - 103 - 0 (10 targets)|
Hines Ward had a productive night, but he won't want to hear that. Ward got his share of the underneath routes over the middle that he has made a living on, getting yards after the catch and providing a safe, easy target for Big Ben, and he also got free downfield twice. The second time, he was looking for the game-winning TD in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, but Michael Griffin caught him from behind and forced a fumble that Griffin also recovered. Ward was distraught, but he came back to catch a pass in overtime that helped set up the game winning field goal. Ward is looking like a tremendous value in PPR leagues yet again, as the Steelers appear to be much better at passing than they at running the ball.
|WR Mike Wallace, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (6 targets)|
Wallace got a target early, and also got a target when he left alone after being the object of a fake end around. He also converted the most important catch of the night to set up the game-winning field goal, and threw a decent block downfield on Hines Ward's catch and run and fumble at the end of regulation. He could have had an even bigger night if Roethlisberger hadn't underthrown him when he got open deep early in the game. Wallace isn't going to be a breakout fantasy stud this year without injuries in front of him on the depth chart, but he is looking like a nice stash in dynasty leagues.
|WR Limas Sweed|
Sweed was supposed to be the 3A with Mike Wallace as the 3B, but he was nowhere to be found in the Steelers passing game, and you have to wonder if Wallace is making his move to relegate Sweed to the fourth WR on this team.
|TE Heath Miller, Rec: 8 - 64 - 0 (8 targets)|
Miller's line was almost identical to his line vs. the Titans last year. He was targeted often as a safety valve, seemingly knowing exactly when to turn and face Roethlisberger because he had exhausted his downfield options. Miller ran tough after the catch even though he didn't break any big gains, and he should be a big part of the passing game when the Steelers face teams that keep the game close. He is still not trustworthy as an everyweek starter, but Miller is one of the best backup fantasy TEs to own in PPR leagues.