The Steelers used big plays in the passing game to take an lead early, and the defense kept the Titans out of the end zone on Sunday as Pittsburgh topped Tennessee, 18-6, to improve to 3-0 on the preseason.
In his first action of the preseason, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers offense to one score on three drives when he hit JuJu Smith-Schuster on a 17-yard post route to cap a nine-play, 58-yard drive.
Roethlisberger finished 8 of 13 for 63 yards, finding his most success throwing to Smith-Schuster (four catches, 37 yards) and Donte Moncrief (two catches, 11 yards).
That scoring drive came right on the heels of a defensive score, as Stephon Tuitt sacked Marcus Mariota in the end zone to give the Steelers a safety. The Tennessee starter had a miserable outing, finishing 0 for 3. The Titans first-team offense finished with negative four yards on his five plays.
The second quarterback into the game was Mason Rudolph, and he continued to assert himself in the battle to be Roethlisberger’s backup.
Rudolph found favorite target James Washington on a 41-yard touchdown strike and finished an efficient 6 of 9 for 75 yards. He also had an interception on a miscommunication with Washington.
The Titans finally got on the board before the half with a 24-yard field goal from Ryan Succop and he added another chip shot in the second half.
Josh Dobbs took over at quarterback for the Steelers in the second half, although he wasn’t as efficient or effective as the first two passers. He did not lead a touchdown drive, but did drive the offense far enough for a Matthew Wright field goal. Dobbs finished 4 of 9 for 79 yards.
The Steelers will wrap up their preseason schedule with their semi-annual visit to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers. That game is Thursday night with a 7 p.m. kickoff.