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TENNESSEE 30, PITTSBURGH 13

Reserves Lead Titans

September 29, 2003|From Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Tennessee beat Pittsburgh as usual and the surprise was which Titans were responsible.

Backup linebacker Rocky Boiman scored on an interception return and sacked Tommy Maddox for a safety and Drew Bennett and Justin McCareins caught touchdown passes as the Titans beat the Steelers for the third time in less than a year, 30-13, Sunday.

As for the rest?

Eddie George averaged less than a yard a run, Derrick Mason made one catch and Jevon Kearse had one sack, but the Titans overwhelmed the mistake-prone Steelers with a combination of backups and big plays.

Other than quarterback Steve McNair, who had more scoring passes (three) than incompletions (one), the Steelers were asking themselves: Who were those guys?

"Nothing against them, but you never go into a game thinking Drew Bennett and Justin McCareins, you've got to stop them," linebacker Joey Porter said. "It was those role players who kept making big plays."

Players such as safety Tank Williams, who blocked Jeff Reed's 30-yard field-goal attempt and hurried Maddox into throwing the interception Boiman returned 60 yards for a touchdown, put the Titans up by 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Boiman also sacked Maddox for a safety with the Steelers up, 10-0, a play that began the Titans' turnaround and led to McNair's 10-yard touchdown pass to Bennett.

Boiman played extensively only because starting linebacker Peter Sirmon injured his back during Pittsburgh's opening drive, a 16-play possession that ended with Reed's 26-yard field goal.

"That's what it takes to win sometimes, backups making plays like that," Titan Coach Jeff Fisher said.

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