Capitals

Steelers ready to start winning streak at Titans

201210071620588203294-p2.jpeg

Steelers ready to start winning streak at Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers may have picked the right place to start winning on the road when they visit the punchless Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.

The Steelers (2-2) have two home wins and two road losses, and with running back Rashard Mendenhall back in the lineup to complement Ben Roethlisberger, they hope to pound away at a defense that has allowed more points than any other team in the league.

``If we are going to be a competitive type of team, the type of team we aspire to be, you have to go into hostile environments and do the job,'' Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. ``We haven't done that. Thursday night in Nashville, we anticipate it to be hostile. We anticipate a certain level of urgency coming from these guys.''

Urgency may be putting it mildly. The Titans (1-4) come into the game off a 30-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, a game in which quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was ineffective replacing the injured Jake Locker and Chris Johnson was held in check with 24 yards on 15 rushes.

Even with safety Troy Polamalu missing his third game with a strained right calf and linebacker LaMarr Woodley possibly out with a strained right hamstring, the Steelers are looking to begin a winning streak.

``We've just got to play good football,'' Steelers defensive back Ike Taylor said. ``We're 0-2 on the road, that's what the resume says about our 2012 season.''

Ryan Mundy is expected to replace Polamalu again, though Will Allen might get more playing time. Linebacker James Harrison returned last week from a left knee injury. And through the injuries, the Steelers are still fifth in the NFL, allowing 280 yards a game.

The Titans, meanwhile, are 30th in rushing at 65.4 yards a game, and Johnson added to his struggles by losing a fumble in last week's loss. The former 2,000-yard rusher is averaging all of 2.9 yards per carry with 210 yards and no touchdowns.

Hasselbeck is starting his second straight game with Locker sidelined with a dislocated left shoulder. The good news is receiver Kenny Britt is healthy, and has practiced the past couple days. He is returning from a torn right knee ligament last season followed by a sprained left ankle last month.

The Titans are ready to get back on the field early after last week's loss.

``Having no time to really harp on all the stuff the last couple weeks, it's good,'' Titans left tackle Michael Roos said. ``It's going to be a physical fight. Everyone here's played against them before in the offensive line. You know what's coming. Just get ready for it.''

The Steelers have dominated this series between the former AFC Central rivals, winning three straight and six of their last nine with Tennessee.

Having Mendenhall back after a knee injury in January should help. He debuted against Philadelphia and averaged 5.8 yards a carry.

Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,111 yards with nine touchdowns and only one interception, and he has been fine on the road, too, with six TD passes and his only interception. Roethlisberger is a big reason the Steelers convert an NFL-best 53.2 percent of their third downs, and now he gets to face a defense giving up an NFL-worst 36.2 points per game.

``I don't think that their defense is an indication of their record,'' Roethlisberger said. ``I think they're a lot better than that. We have to prepare accordingly, because I think they are a good defense.''

The Titans have gotten little help from the offense. Tennessee trailed 14-7 at halftime before losing 38-14 in Houston, and 13-0 at halftime in Minnesota.

``It all comes down to one simple thing,'' Johnson said. ``We're not making plays. We're not staying on the field, not sustaining drives. And at the end of the day, no matter how good our defense does ... they can't keep going out there and making plays when we keep leaving them on the field like that. We have to do our job as an offense.''

The Steelers routed Tennessee 38-17 last season in Pittsburgh and forced seven turnovers in their last trip to Nashville in a win in 2010.

Titans coach Mike Munchak said he knows from experience the Steelers likely will have 30,000 fans in the stands. Needing a win playing Pittsburgh is never easy.

``It's been a couple of weeks, and it's been two long weeks,'' Munchak said. ``Hopefully this week will change that.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter:http://twitter.com/teresamwalker

Quick Links

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

usatsi_10850115.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

payne-allen_otas_tandler.png
NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 25, 62 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Trades, misses and mistakes explain Redskins' dead cap—This post does a good job of outlining where the Redskins’ dead cap came from. It should be noted that dead cap is a part of the cost of doing business in the NFL and the Redskins have done fairly well managing it this year. Only about a dozen teams have less dead cap on the books than the Redskins $5.2 million. 

Tandler's Take—The best- and worst-case scenarios for the 2018 Redskins—I received some comments saying that my worst-case scenario, a 6-10 finish, is not low enough. Since we’re talking about events that won’t begin to happen for about three and a half months, I can’t really argue with them. But it’s just hard for me to see them dropping more than a game from last year when they were hit harder with injuries than any other team in the NFL. 

Pre-OTAs Redskins player one-liners, defense—An extension for Matt Ioannidis seemed preposterous a year ago, now it seems like a good idea. How many sacks for Lanier? When will Ryan Anderson get his first sack? Plus offensive player one-liners here

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp—You can’t tell everything from OTAs, but you can tell some things. Taking another look at this post, I gave a good, detailed look at the session, but I didn’t really mention the overall feel, which was fun and energetic. 

Tweet of the week

Certainly, Derrius Guice is the fan favorite of the rookie class. But the great reaction to this tweet shows that there is plenty of love for Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, last year’s top pick. 

In 2016, the starting defensive line consisted of Ricky Jean Francois, Chris Baker, and  Ziggy Hood. The top reserve was Cullen Jenkins. They all had their good qualities and made some plays. But Baker was the youngster of the group and he turned 30 during the season. It clearly was a group on the decline. 

Two years later, the picture is quite different. Payne and Allen lead a younger group that will get better over the next few years. Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Tim Settle, and Stacy McGee should round out the group. McGee is by far the senior member of the group at age 28. None of the others have celebrated his 25thbirthday yet. 

Fans should perhaps temper their optimism with the knowledge that potential doesn’t always develop into performance. But unlike years past there is something to look forward to. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 18
—Training camp starts (7/26) 62
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 76

The Redskins last played a game 145 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 107 days. 

In case you missed it

[embed] <iframe src="https://art19.com/shows/redskin-talk/episodes/97f8d46f-bc10-4563-8bc5-a4e3cfd2f98e/embed?theme=light-custom" style="width: 100%; height: 200px; border: 0 none;" scrolling="no"></iframe> {/embed]