They're Back!

Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes and the Steelers' defense bounced back from last week's humiliating loss to beat the Tennessee Titans, 38-17.

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh's version of "Where's Waldo?" has been more like Where's Woodley? Or Farrior? Or Timmons?

Anybody looking for Steelers linebackers found them at Heinz Field Sunday during the Steelers' 38-17 win over the Tennessee Titans.

It was a bounce back win for the team, foremost, but it was also a bounce back game for the linebackers, particularly LaMarr Woodley, James Farrior and Lawrence Timmons.

With James Harrison out of the lineup, the group banded together to pick up the Silverback's slack.

"We were trying to overdo it," Woodley admitted. "We were trying to make plays we're not supposed to make, but I think today we went out there and played as a team and everybody stayed in their gap, everybody did a good job tackling, everybody did a good job rallying to the ball, getting back to Steelers defense, the way we've been doing that for years. When we do that, we're hard to beat."

Woodley was the prime example last week of trying to do too much. On a handoff to Arian Foster, Woodley went too deep because his other responsibility – aside from a potential cutback by the runner – is a bootleg by the quarterback. While looking for that, Woodley was scorched by Foster for the 42-yard winning touchdown.

"I feel like I let the team down by missing that tackle," Woodley said. "I had the opportunity and I missed it. I missed the tackle. I hate to let my teammates down. I don't care what anybody else says about me or about my play, but when I feel like I let my teammates down, I let this organization down, that's when it's like, ‘Oh, man, you missed that tackle.'"

Woodley made up for it Sunday against the Titans with 1½ sacks and an interception. The sack on 2nd-and-goal from the 7 was the key to forcing the Titans into kicking a field goal on their first possession. And the interception killed the momentum the Titans had seized by recovering an onside kick at 28-10 late in the third quarter.

"That was a great catch by Woodley," said Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. "We had momentum, and they just stole the momentum right back."

Did Woodley break out of his early-season slump Sunday?

"I'm not going to say he was in a slump," said Farrior. "I told Woodley the other day that he doesn't really get cranked up until the middle of the season anyway, but since they gave him all this money people are looking for him to be doing stuff right out of the gate. I think he's doing a good job. He's playing the defense well. His plays are going to come."

Farrior did admit that Sunday's game was his best of the season. While he was nowhere to be found during Foster's big game last week, Farrior this week was all over Titans running back Chris Johnson, who gained only 51 yards on 14 carries – or 30 yards on 13 carries after ripping off 21 yards on his first carry.

"I said, ‘Oh, you know what,'" was Farrior's reaction to that run. But the defense settled down and Farrior, with a team-high 13 tackles, was a big part of it.

"Big-time plays from Wood. Big-time plays from Potsie," said Keisel. "We expect that from those guys. In fact, I told Woodley if he doesn't give me the flying kick today, I'm taking the friend card back. So he came up with some huge plays today. We needed that from those guys."


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