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Either bad calls or a worse offense are to blame for the Tennessee Titans’ second-half breakdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, losing 19-13.
The referees had a handful of moments that brought the home crowd at Heinz Field to their feet: whether it’s Jeffery Simmons’ assisted roughing the passer call or Kristian Fulton’s DPI on a handsy Chase Claypool.
But the Titans offense, handling a 13-10 lead in the third quarter, emerged as the worst unit on the field — courtesy of wideout Racey McMath, tight end Anthony Firkser and quarterback Ryan Tannehill spearheading the collapse.
McMath cradled an errant fumble near the Titans’ 40, setting up Steelers’ Chris Boswell for the game-tying field goal, 13-13.
Tannehill’s 14th interception of the year allowed the Pittsburgh offense to start on the Titans’ territory and allow their onslaught of field goals to begin. He completed 23-of-32 for 153 yards and an interception.
Firkser extended his lackluster season as Jonnu Smith’s successor with a crucial drop on third-and-five in Steelers territory and a lost fumble.
On three occasions in the second half, the Titans turned the ball over: including a fumble, interception and another fumble.
The only player on offense to make Mike Vrabel and offensive coordinator Todd Downing’s Nice list (just a week away from Christmas) was running back D’Onta Foreman — carrying the ball 22 times for 108 yards.
Pittsburgh scored 16 unanswered in the second half, which was less of a call for the Titans defense to step up — having a solid day, collectively — but more of a need for the Derrick Henry-less offense to manage a lead.
The Steelers ultimately capitalized on the offense’s follies and the Titans (9-5) missed their shot of climbing past New England (9-5) and challenging the Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) for the AFC’s top spot.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela