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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Titans 16, Steelers 9, 79th season opener

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media


Looking ahead to kickoff …

Game: Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans, season opener for both

Time: 1:02 p.m.

Site: Heinz Field

TV, radio: KDKA-TV, WDVE-FM, ESPN Radio 970

Here is the official live summary.

Here is our Steelers page. Alan Robinson, Mark Kaboly, Ralph Paulk and I are on the scene. If you missed it, the Friday column included my predicted score.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. DK: One funny person on my Instagram account posted the following comment with the above pic: “The seams are strong with this one.”


    Happy game day to one and all! Nothing like it!

  2. Rbilak says:

    The key to this season is Adams and Gilbert. Their ability to pass-block and open running holes will be the No. 1 factor in their record. Adams has not shown the ability to handle speed-rushers. Gilbert has a long history of failing to finish games healthy. Not only does he get hurt, he takes out teammates.

    Key two is defensive turnovers. Allen showed he has the ability, Jones has also but the unwillingness if this organization to start rookie must change. We cannot afford three years of learning like Heyward or Keon Lewis before him. Jones must play

    Zoltan will be a big upgrade. Watch any Steelers-Raven game and how Koch destroys our punter and changes field position.

    Today we musy contain the QB, hot day, we know cramps will be coming.

    DK: Good stuff. Thanks. Though I’ll take mild exception to characterizing Marcus as being somehow responsible for injuring other teammates. Those are fluke accidents.

  3. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yoda is drinking because Lucas sold him to Disney.

  4. JohninOshkosh says:

    Come to think of it, Dejan and Yoda now have the same employer.

  5. JohninOshkosh says:

    Robert De Niro, the greatest, did the intro for Fox NFL Sunday. That’s how big the NFL is and how much the New York Super Bowl will be hyped this year.

    Welcome back, NFL!

  6. camchuck says:

    We will be hearing it ad neausem for the rest of the year!

  7. Ghost says:

    Junior Yinzer is telling the little woman to “Shut up and drink, you’re barely even pregnant.”

  8. JohninOshkosh says:

    You know it.

    I’m praying for snow!

  9. camchuck says:

    I would love a blizzard just to mess with them….

  10. cmat0829 says:

    yes, early season MVP HAS to go to the jean shorts on that one. he needs to put those poor shorts out of their misery, make them into grease rags after the game, they will be in a much better place.

  11. cmat0829 says:

    NY needs to find a new generation of representatives…De Niro is getting old, literally and figuratively. Same for the LAKERS and Jack Nicholson. And they can save their Spike Lee, Donald Trump, Regis Philbin, Mike Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, Joe Namath, Derek Jeter too…. 1996 called and they want their NY icons back.

  12. theplanisworking says:

    GO STILLERZ !!!!!!!!

  13. pattonbb says:

    easiest 2 points the Steelers will ever get.

  14. theplanisworking says:


    Cue 3 Stooges theme !

  15. JMB says:

    oh yeah!

  16. theplanisworking says:


  17. pattonbb says:

    There goes the season Steeler fans.

  18. Sarah says:

    Decostro took a wierd line there

  19. Sarah says:


  20. theplanisworking says:

    Yep, keeping Redman over Dwyer was smart.
    Does Tomlin now cut Redman over a fumble?

  21. pattonbb says:

    No idea what he was trying to do.

  22. pattonbb says:

    Bench Redman.

  23. DJ says:

    DeCastro went to Stanford, right?

    What the hell did he think he was doing on that play?

  24. twentytwo22 says:

    Driving, turnover out of nowhere. I had enough of that last year.

  25. DJ says:

    Piggy on the ground won’t go over big with Tomlin.

  26. DJ says:

    The key to our season may have just left a few minutes ago on a cart.

  27. pattonbb says:

    Exactly what he was probably taught to do at Stanford, take out a DL’s knee.

  28. DJ says:

    . . . speaking of taking out teammates.

  29. DJ says:

    Sure, but it would help to go after the DL instead of the OL.

  30. twentytwo22 says:

    Did you see him do a 360 spin when he got to the line of scrimmage on that one run? Mendenhall. lol

  31. pattonbb says:

    I thought the same thing.

  32. twentytwo22 says:

    I’m thinking Pouncey blocked the wrong guy. Zone blocking. DeCastro was supposed to cut the back side. I don’t know if there was confusion. The guy that Pouncey was engaged with was to his right. The run was to the left. Or maybe it was a man blocking run and DeCastro was confused.

  33. pattonbb says:

    Either way, DeCastro shouldn’t be leaving his feet in that situation.

  34. DJ says:

    Agreed. It was like DeCastro picked out a spot where he thought the DL would be, zeroed in on it and then never wavered from putting his helmet right there.

    It just so happened that Pouncey neutralized his man and was never really pushed backwards by the DL. And so DeCastro’s “target” never moved either.

  35. pattonbb says:

    Adios Redman. Get him the hell out of there.

  36. Sarah says:

    Ok. Seriously seriously?

  37. JoeyBats says:

    Fumble # 2 for Redman.
    WOW….anybody have Johnny Dwyer’s cell# on speed dial! ;-)

  38. twentytwo22 says:

    Redman: 1 yard rushing, 2 fumbles. They ran a WR screen on 3rd and 11. Crappy offensive game so far.

  39. twentytwo22 says:

    Blatant block in the back by that Steeler. Dumb penalty on special teams.

  40. Bob Hasis says:

    A week or so ago in this blog, I predicted a 5-11 season at best. After watching this first half – and losing Pouncey doesn’t, which really doesn’t affect my new thinking – I will now say 4-12, and I don’t know where those 4 wins will be.

    Honestly they are very ordinary

  41. Bob Hasis says:

    doesn’t help

  42. twentytwo22 says:

    And everything is just like last year. Turnovers. Penalties on special teams. The defense plays great and then gives up a touchdown drive that looks too easy.

  43. theplanisworking says:

    Dont worry.

    Tomlin will “Unleash Hell” in the 2nd half.

  44. Steelag70 says:

    Wow….how inept can this team be? Unbelievable…

  45. pattonbb says:

    Maybe today is a good day to go clean out my garage, wash the cars, and ignore all things Pittsburgh sports related.

    This sucks.

  46. Steelag70 says:

    It just amazes me that this organization cannot draft and develop even a DECENT offensive line….and that we are snakebit with injuries at this position every year…

  47. Steelag70 says:

    It’s going to be a long season folks…this new o-line has already given up 4 sacks…

  48. Steelag70 says:

    If I’m Ben, I play out my contract and go to a team that has an offensive line and allows me to play my game…

  49. theplanisworking says:

    Guess the ballhawks arent playing today.

  50. Reading says:

    Third down defense.

  51. Brandie says:

    Fire Tomlin! Fire Haley!

  52. Steelag70 says:

    Now Allen and Clark hurt too…long season folks…

  53. theplanisworking says:

    Fire Everybody !!!

  54. Steelag70 says:

    Brandie, in this case I do agree…no excuse for losing like this at home to TN…even with Pouncey out…going to be a looooong season…

  55. Brandie says:

    WIM = WOE IS ME!

  56. Steelag70 says:

    Now LSH injured too…

  57. Steelag70 says:

    Steelers have 2 yds offense in last 4 drives…

  58. Steelag70 says:

    Make that 9 yds in last 5 drives…

  59. WVStarship says:

    The Steelers big a big break and had a chance to make a statement on their first offensive possession of the game. And they did make a statement: “We suck.”

  60. Steelag70 says:

    Brandie, I am being serious. I hate being negative, but this team has not improved from last year…

  61. Steelag70 says:

    I feel for Ben…

  62. Steelag70 says:

    TN moving the ball at will now…one more score and they can seal the win…

  63. Brandie says:

    Seven scariest words for a Steelers fan…”I’m William Gay in for Cortez Allen.”

  64. pattonbb says:

    Wonder how long Redman’s next fumble will keep him out of the game?

  65. theplanisworking says:

    Redman is Tomlin’s boy.
    Dwyer was Tomlin’s whipping boy.

    Another horrible decision by Tomlin.

  66. pattonbb says:

    Zoltan Mesko looks like he’s a pretty good punter.

  67. Brandie says:

    Plus they now look like a MASH unit. HOKA HEY!

  68. Steelag70 says:

    Anybody know the seriousness of injury to Allen and Clark?

  69. Kevin says:

    Bad weekend for Pittsburgh sports. :( no more injuries please. Oh and bring back Dwyer!

  70. Brandie says:

    He was great as Dr. Foreman on House.

  71. Reading says:

    Can’t wait for the post-game reassurances about taking full responsibility, and the impending unleashing of hell during their practices in shells starting Wednesday.

  72. pattonbb says:

    Clark’s fine. He came right back in. Missed one play.

  73. Kevin says:

    Is it hockey season yet? ;)

  74. Brandie says:

    Can we trade for Nate Washington?

  75. Steelag70 says:

    We are playing for a high draft pick folks…

  76. MadTurk says:

    I wish he would go and go soon. We need someone to get rid of the ball and not be afraid to let it fly. But he does not know how to lead a receiver.

  77. Reading says:

    What will come first, Pirates 82nd win or Steelers offensive points?

  78. pattonbb says:

    Don’t forget, “The expectation remains the same”.

  79. Bob Hasis says:

    WE scored the fastest points in history, to start a game and still them – 2 stinking points, midway through the fourth qtr.

    That is terrible.

  80. Steelag70 says:

    Wow…we could be waiting a while…

  81. theplanisworking says:

    If we get beat by Jake Freaking Locker, will the standard still be the standard ??

  82. Steelag70 says:

    So when was the last win the Steelers had including this preseason??

  83. Reading says:

    A three and out would really be key.

  84. MadTurk says:

    He will hold it way to long and that is why most times he takes a sack. Yes he can be evasive at times but those days are getting to be behind him.

    He is staring down the receivers now as well.

  85. Brandie says:

    If the standard is suck, then yes!

  86. pattonbb says:

    Now Clark really is hurt. He was just kinda hurt before.

  87. theplanisworking says:

    + Statler and Waldorf !!!!

  88. Steelag70 says:

    Just great….

  89. Reading says:

    But since our third-down defense is basically the worst in the NFL, FBS, and FCS, that won’t be happening.

  90. pattonbb says:

    Strike that, he was just kinda hurt again.

  91. Steelag70 says:

    I know it was a big blow losing Pouncey, but NO excuse for being shutout in an NFL opener….especially at home…hoping the Rooneys get wise after this season…

  92. Reading says:


  93. JMB says:

    My 11-5 was ridiculously optimistic.

    4-12 here we come ….

  94. Steelag70 says:

    And that officially ends it folks…too big a differential to overcome…

  95. Steelag70 says:

    I am thinking 2-14…

  96. Reading says:

    At least he didn’t down the ball for a safety.

  97. theplanisworking says:

    6 minutes to go, down by 11, a whopping 137 total yards.

    No real upgrades in the offseason, go with the players that got you a whopping 8-8 last year.

    Now, multiple injuries today. poor effort.

    Why does Colbert not get held accountable for this disaster? He is the one who didnt upgrade, and stood pat. Jokers.

  98. Brandie says:

    Guess we’re auditioning folks for next season.

  99. theplanisworking says:


    Good afternoon all.
    Enjoy the high draft picks that Colbert will blow.

  100. Steelag70 says:


  101. Steelag70 says:

    Get ready for 0-4 start to this season folks…

  102. pattonbb says:

    Remember back when we had a 2 point lead, 3 seconds into the game?

    Yea, those were good times.

  103. Reading says:

    Ballgame 2. Titans get three and outs without even really trying. Maybe Titans will take 4 knees here. No need to rub it in with another score in garbage time.

  104. DJ says:

    Nice punt by Zoltan. What was that, about 36 yards, 2 seconds of hang and a twenty yard runback?

    Sanders is a slot receiver now playing out of position. He is terrible outside.

  105. Brandie says:

    Wait until the emotions die down to really figure out what the take always are…

    No O line.

    No running game.

    Multiple injuries.

    Horrible execution.

    I think every team has nightmare games. You just hope this is one of your few, go lick your wounds, bring back Max Starks, cut William Gay, and move on with life.

  106. Steelag70 says:

    Putrid offensive line…5 sacks running game…

  107. DJ says:

    I think “when the emotions die down” we will be looking at pretty much what you put down above.

  108. pattonbb says:

    The Todd Haley era is officially a failure.

  109. Steelag70 says:

    No need for Heath to rush back…no chance this season anyway…

  110. Steelag70 says:


  111. Brandie says:

    Above score needs to be changed.

  112. Brandie says:

    16-9 makes it look more respectable than what it was.

  113. Steelag70 says:

    At least we will be tied for 1st…

  114. Steelag70 says:


  115. DJ says:

    Say what you want about Dwyer but 2 fumbles in his career (I think that’s the stat DK threw out) made him a better option than Redman.

    Foote, although a media favorite, should pack it in.

    Worilds buried on two consecutive plays at goal line on the early Titans drive. Jones should be the full-timer in Game 2.

    We have problems . . . and they are great.

  116. WVStarship says:


  117. Rbilak says:

    1. Anyone want still argue for only 2 preseason games? Redman carried two times in preseason, two fumbles in real game, coincidence? I think not. Poor coaching decision, absolutely.

    2. Mike Adams, his pass blocking is so far below the line that Mario Mendoza would be baseball equivalent. Horrible, unacceptable, Colbert needs to look, he will be the cause of Ben injury, career ender if not replaced. He stinks, get the point, coach needs to call him out.

    3. Kevin Colbert better do something now about this offensive line. Guy Whimper is one play away from actually playing. They have cap space. Drafting L.Jones, using IR on Spaeth are extremely poor moves. No excuses on not finding someone and now!

    4 . Jason Worlids even playing one play over Jones is pointless , his highlites include special teams penalty and being pancaked on every ruining play.

    5. Sanders, as usual can’t control catch. I wanted 3rd round pick. Steelers will regret move.

    6. positives, Zoltan, much better than Butler. William Gay did not get beat for a TD!

    7. Todd Haley’s offense sucks. What was the game plan? Feature Howling-Stephens?

    8. How did Carter not get that on-side kick? Well it would be the first play he ever made.

    9. Dwyer is laughing his butt off right now.

    10. No excuses line play poor w/o Pouncey, had zero do do with Adams whiffing on a majority of pass plays.

    11. Most laughable Tomlin quote”Heyward played well in preseason”. When? The 3 plays vs 4th teamers? Bust, Adams BUST

  118. camchuck says:

    still in 1st place in the central….just sayin

  119. WVStarship says:

    1-15 for me. Cleveland has to beat them at least once.

  120. camchuck says:

    jeez…show they give up the season?…WOW

  121. camchuck says:


  122. WVStarship says:

    Uhhhh…just what are you saying?

  123. Rob says:

    WOOHOO The Steelers are in first place!

  124. camchuck says:

    I’m saying its a long season and it looks like balt cincy and cleve have 1 loss…just like us…big game next week

  125. Parrothead01 says:

    Holliday continues to hit ground balls between first and second against us. Will Walker ever learn and play straight up when Holliday bats.

  126. theplanisworking says:

    Here we go………………..

    ACL and MCL injury for Maurkice Pouncey, which will require surgery. Larry Foote has a torn biceps injury, which will also require surgery.

  127. Jeff says:

    Worlids is worse than Rey Malaluga in Cincy… grass stains on his name, much? if you cannot beat the Titans at home, what is going to happen mext Monday down here in Cincinnati? Should I scalp my seats and save the humiliation?
    At least the Bears came through and saved the day… whole stupid division 0-1!

  128. Rbilak says:

    Kicker w bad hammy and the Hypen hurt knee. Allen bad ankle. But Guy Whimper is fine.

  129. florida steeler says:

    Good block by our #1 draft choice–Decastro–too bad he blocked a Steeler and ended his season.
    Pathetic performance, but there will be many this year under Tomlin.
    Special teams horrible again, no offensive line, midget wide receivers, Jason Worilds a complete failure.
    Worst Steeler team in many years.

  130. Steelag70 says:

    Well…looks like I can free up my Sundays now….

  131. WVStarship says:

    You know, we have have a chance for history to be made here. No team in NFL history has ever lost every game, including preseason. Not even the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs. If Tomlin & Haley can find a way to lose twice to Cleveland it’s doable.

  132. Steelag70 says:

    At least they have competent offenses….

  133. Steelag70 says:

    LSH has a bad knee too….

  134. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Well….I had hoped that I was wrong, but my worst fears are now confirmed.
    This is a bad team.
    I have zero hope for them at this time.
    Probably the best thing to do is what Indy did a couple of years ago….
    Lose almost every game, and get the best pick you can get.

    I will say this.
    I remain BAFFLED at how the Steelers (for the third year in a row) are injury stricken to the hilt.
    THAT is pure bad luck.

    However, it is what it is, and I’ll find a way to deal with it…..

  135. JMB says:

    Lacy is looking good. If we draft him, do we win today?

  136. Brandie says:

    Say goodbye to Pouncey. Torn ACL and MCL. Say goodbye to Foote. Torn bicep.

    This is hopefully a wakeup call…Dermontti Dawson and Jeff Hartings are not walking him to that locker room anytime soon. Mr. Beachum it’s time to step up.

    How can the running or passing games develop when there is no offensive line to speak of? What was there looked young and slow. What is needed is the steadying hand of someone who had been there before. Paging Mr. Max Starks. Please pick up the Black and Gold Courtesy phone.

    Where were the ball hawks? Even the defense had missed tackles today though give credit to Mr. Woodley for the sack and to Mr. Jones for that awesome stop of Chris Johnson on the run. Still, way too little for a Steelers team that should have taken it to the Titans.

    If the standard is the standard and the standard is suck, then the Steelers found new and exciting ways to achieve that standard. I don’t know about any of you, but I hope there are bold reamings for all concerned parties. I hope this loss lingers in the backs of their throats like the tang of ripe nasty sweat socks so the Steelers will have no choice but to win and win convincingly to get rid of the putrid taste of choke.

  137. k2 says:

    I agree, worst team in a long time…ugly game. Picking up where they left off last year. Lacking in almost every phase of the game. Hard to see an upside(?).

  138. Steelag70 says:

    Better call John Malecki….

  139. Brandie says:

    Every silver lining has a cloud. Every thorn has its rose.

  140. BreakTheStreak says:

    Bad players, bad head coach, bad O coordinator!! 3-13 is coming folks and the house cleaning will start. Haley will be gone. But who will be fired with Haley? Tomlin or Colbert or maybe both?

  141. Sarah says:

    Are the injuries last couple of yes only bad luck, or does poor conditioning enter into it?
    I read an article re the new CBA and how supervised off field workouts are now limited, ie the players can lift and work out but do not have coaches watching them.
    So it’s more on them, to work hard without coaches keeping an eye on them.

  142. JohninOshkosh says:

    I hate Clay Matthews.

  143. BreakTheStreak says:

    I watched the game with 30 fans and we all thought it looked like Decastro cut Pouncey on purpose!! I’m sure he didn’t mean too but it sure looked like it to everyone watching

  144. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I would say conditioning is a part of it, but the Pouncey injury in particular was sold bad luck.

  145. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    solid bad luck

  146. Rbilak says:

    100% correct. Tomlin’s pick over Sean Lee. Not only poor on D, gets a special team’s penalty also. But he will continue to play.

  147. Rbilak says:

    Ditto should have been ejected, late hit, launched himself, headshot, throw at least 3 punches. Should be out of game.

  148. Rbilak says:

    People only want 2 preseason games. Imagine how sloppy play would be with that. Lack of OTA’s, reduced training camp, I believe do effect conditioning. Surprised if Clark survives season.

  149. DJ says:

    Why is it every time I see Worilds play I think of Aaron Jones?

  150. Sarah says:

    With a heaping dose of Stupid by Decastro

  151. Karen22 says:

    Maybe the only 2 points the Steelers will ever get…

  152. Karen22 says:

    Or last. It’s all about perspective.

  153. pattonbb says:

    He’s a filthy player. Surprised someone hasn’t taken a dive at his knee yet.

  154. WVStarship says:

    That’ll be DeCastro’s job when they play this year. He’s good at it.

  155. In the spirit of the day, we need one

    (Interchangeable with Bylsma, Hurdle or whoever we can blame)


    Thank God it was the first game of the season.

  156. lupesanchez says:

    Otherwise, mrs Lincoln, how was the play?

  157. Bob Hasis says:

    Watching these two teams – GB and SF – I doubt the Steelers could hang within 17-21 points of either team.

    And there are at least 10 or more teams for which the same could be said.

    Here’s some controversy to get you going; I think helmets, and blocking in the back penalties on kick returns should be banned.

    The first would make the game safer because it – the helmet – is a weapon and not much of a protection.
    The second would make the game far more interesting.

  158. JohninOshkosh says:

    It certainly is an entertaining game, Robert.

    Doesn’t hurt that both teams dislike each other.

  159. Bob Hasis says:

    I loved Eddie Lacy at Alabama, and thought surely the Steelers would draft him – they had the chance.
    Then watching him in the first quarter he looked ordinary, but now he looks terrific. Good draft by the Pack

  160. Eric Bowser says:

    Steelers offense had 53 yds in 1st drive (12 plays) & 75 yds on last drive (9 plays) for TD. They had 67 yds in 9 other drives (32 plays).

  161. Rbilak says:

    Huey Richardson comes to mind also

  162. pattonbb says:

    I’m a big Lacy fan, Bob. I’m willing to write off the first quarter to nerves. I do think he’s going to have a big year for the Pack.

    Behind the Steeler’s OL though, he’d look like Isaac Redman.

  163. BDHumbert says:

    I thought Tomlin deserved to be fired after last season – he lost three games on his own. He is a bad game coach and clearly makes poor decisions on personel.

    But the root cause of this is higher up – poor drafting and draft strategy.

    The offensive line is worse today – even if they had not lost Pouncey than it has been in 20 years or more. Draft picks have been used for running backs and linebackers that could have been used to build depth and talent in the OL. This is inexcusable – and becomes even more so when it will mean that we will be wasting at least two – if not three or four of Ben’s prime years.

    Building a line that can pass protect AND run block should have been the priority FIVE YEARS AGO! It was not – and is not today.

    I am not a Haley fan – but he is not the one missing blocks – cut blocking an all pro center or wiffing on pass blocks.

    3-13 is the best I see for this team – and that may be hard to get to…

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