Roethlisberger, Collins trade TD passes late in 1st half; Steelers, Titans tied at 10 after 4

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Steelers, Titans tied 10-10 after 4 quarters

PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger and Kerry Collins threw touchdown passes 34 seconds apart late in the first half and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans were tied at 10 at the end of regulation in the NFL’s opening night Thursday.

Hines Ward was stripped of the ball at the Titans 4 by Michael Griffin after a 30-yard completion with 51 seconds to play in regulation. The fumble was recovered by Stephen Tulloch.

Roethlisberger threw a 34-yard pass to Santonio Holmes with 1:22 left in the second quarter and Collins capped a three-play drive 34 seconds later with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Justin Gage.

The Tennessee touchdown was set up by a 57-yard reception by Kenny Britt.

Rob Bironas kicked a 45-yard field goal 3:57 into the fourth quarter to give the Titans their only lead, and Pittsburgh’s Jeff Reed tied it with a 32-yard field goal with 2:57 to play in the fourth.

Holmes had eight catches for 120 yards to lead both teams in both categories.

The Titans, who were the only team to gain more than 300 yards against the Steelers in the regular season last year, outgained the Steelers 320-294.

Pittsburgh had only 54 yards of offense until its scoring drive late in the first half, which went 79 yards and was capped when Roethlisberger hit Holmes open in the middle of the end zone.

Steelers star safety Troy Polamalu was knocked out of the game when a Titans player fell on his leg during a 31-yard Bironas field goal attempt that was blocked by the Steelers’ Aaron Smith in the first half.

Polamalu had an interception and led all players with six tackles at the time of his injury.

The Steelers have only 33 rushing yards; Willie Parker has 13 carries for 19 yards and Rashard Mendenhall 6 yards on four carries.

The Steelers are 3 for 13 on third-down conversions and allowed Tennessee to sack Ben Roethlisberger three times and intercept him twice — once on a Hail Mary with no time remaining in the half, which Cortland Finnegan returned 80 yards.

Five times, the Titans drove into Steelers’ territory but did not score.

Bironas missed a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter and had a 31-yard attempt blocked by Aaron Smith in the second quarter, and Polamalu intercepted Collins late in the first quarter.

During a play that originated at the Steelers 44, Polamalu made a one-handed interception on a pass intended for Britt at the 5.

Collins was 22 for 35 for 244 yards. The Titans got a 32-yard run from Chris Johnson in the first quarter.

The Steelers are starting their quest for their third Super Bowl title in the past five seasons and record seventh overall.

The Titans beat the Steelers 31-14 late last season and took the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs, but lost their first playoff game.

Roethlisberger’s third completion was the 1,192th of his career, moving him into second place on the team’s career list ahead of Kordell Stewart. He also surpassed 15,000 yards passing.

Parker surpassed 5,000 career yards rushing during the game — joining Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis as the only Steelers to gain that many with the team.

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