Titans' four-fold mission

Tuesday, September 23, 2003 at 1:00am

1.Absorb the first blow. Playing on the road against a big rival, the Titans will have to make sure the Steelers don't stagger them early with a big play. Maintaining focus will be key to having a chance to win at Heinz Field. Otherwise, a repeat of the 2001 Monday night debacle is possible.

2. Pass to run. The Titans probably already know that the yardage will be hard to come by on the ground vs. Pittsburgh. Eddie George has just one 100-yard game in his career vs. the Steelers, so the Titans will likely have to employ some three-wide sets early like they did vs. the Saints to loosen the Steelers defense.

3. Harass Maddox. The key to stopping the Steelers offense these days seems to be getting after Maddox and disrupting his rhythm with big-play receivers like Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress and Antwaan Randle-El. Well-timed blitzes and a strong pass rush are a must.

4. Get some interceptions. The Titans secondary played well Sunday against New Orleans, but Tennessee still has not recorded an interception in three games this season. If they can pressure Maddox, they might get one Sunday.

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