12:55 p.m.: "What a demanding schedule," Phil Simms reminded. Yeah, the most difficult in decades. And that was before Tennessee started 10-0. That remains a pointed question: Could the wear and tear of such a difficult schedule, especially a New England-Dallas-Baltimore flourish, catch up with the Steelers psychologically, emotionally and physically sometime down this stretch?
1:03: Why wouldn't Tennessee snap the ball with Troy Polamalu in their backfield and a free 5-yard pass to a first down available? When Kris Johnson tried to run, the first one there to hit him was, of course, Polamalu. Interesting start.
1:04: Is Boomer Esiason's endorsement for MVP an omen for James Harrison? Is that like a Sports Illustrated cover jinx?
1:08: Two tight ends (side by side) and one back, Willie Parker, seem to be a message from Bruce Arians: Goodbye ailing Titans Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch, hello run.
1:12: Oh, OK. Let's throw the ball and give the defensive-line replacements some mojo on a sack and a couple of hurries. . . . Good stat on CBS' part about the Steelers oh-ffense failing to score on its opening drive the past five games. . . . One other thing: They oughtta give Mitch Berger a short field all the time, huh? Those 30-, 40-yard punts look a lot better when they bounce near the goalline.
1:20: Ruh-roh, Harrison shaken up? Blame Esiason.
1:24: Parker sure looks like a dandy one-back, or I-back. As with this drive, he'll hit some, he'll lose yardage on them once in awhile. Ya hafta live with that. As for Ben Roethlisberger's fumble. . . the Steelers have been good about limiting turnovers on offense all season, and both the Steelers and Titans defenses have been superb about causing them by the busloads. A helmet-to-back-of-the-helmet hit brought about Big Ben's fumble and head-shaking rise. What if he and Harrison are injured for the day, or longer?
1:26: Harrison returned. . . . Good replay by CBS showing Nate Washington wide open in the back right corner of the end zone on that scramble. And that is what Roethlisberger is supposed to do well, make plays -- running and passing -- with his feet, but not so much that time. With Roethlisberger looking shaken and the Titans' offense looking revitalized, it doesn't look good for the Steelers already, huh?
1:32: Roethlisberger returned. . . . Berger punting from his end line, double ruh-roh. Not a bad kick, though. Again, Tennessee likely will get some sort of score here, which completely turns around that first-and-goal situation the Steelers just enjoyed -- or, if nothing else, should've enjoyed.
1:37: Harrison went somewhere -- the little linebacker's room, maybe -- and Lawrence Timmons started the series for him. But, again, Harrison returned. So everything must be all right with him now. . . . Kerry Collins keeps finding open receivers so far. Hmmmmm.
1:41: Now Jeff Fisher trots out onetime Steelers training camper Rob Bironas for a field goal! (See Dec. 14 Houston, 13-12, for details.). . . Ed Bouchette from LP Field reported: NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steelers Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison was taken into the locker room in the first quarter with a hip injury today. . . Also, due to technical problems, we were unable to post inactives in the pre-game edition, so here they are: Steelers -- No. 3 QB Dennis Dixon, S Anthony Smith, CB Fernando Bryant, LB Bruce Davis, OT Tony Hills, NT Scott Paxson, DE Orpheus Roye and the injured OT Marvel Smith. Titans -- No. 3 QB Chris Simms (hey, isn't that his dad working the game for CBS?), WR Paul Willaims, WR Chris Davis, CB Tyrone Poole, RB Chris Henry, OT Mike Otto and the injured DT Albert Haynesworth and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch.
1:50: Don't know if the Steelers should be up 14-3, but the Titans assuredly could be ahead 14-0 instead of 10-0 after that lovely, Collins-to-Justin Gage touchdown pass. Collins is 8 for 12 and picking apart the secondary. Not Peyton Manning. Not Tony Romo. Not even pass-efficient Philip Rivers. But AARP quarterback Kerry Collins.
2:01: Using the run with Parker and mixing in passes, with Roethlisberger making plays by holding the ball (with decent protection around him), the Steelers motor downfield -- which they absolutely had to do at this juncture. Why the QB checked off and went with a glacial-developing draw play against a speed defense is quizzical. But he compensated for it with a nifty third-down scramble, eluding his old Indianapolis buddy Nick Harper. . . . Tee hee, happy reunion. How's Mrs. Harper and the knife. We'll pay homage to that memorable play in a moment. What a great throw from Roethlisberger to Holmes, but an even better touchdown catch by a laying-out, using-his-forearms, snag-and-clutch-it-before-you-return to-Earth Holmes. Steelers within a field goal, 10-7. (Longest touchdown throw of the season, too.)
2:03: Producer Bdeff shows an awful lot of love for Roethlisberger in this video, but he does break down that Roethlisberger-v.-Harper tackle from the Super Bowl season: