It could have been TJ Watt. Or Minkah Fitzpatrick. Or Cam Heyward. Or Chris Boswell. But just like the key to real estate is location, location, location, the key to coming out on top in a game that was in every way a must-have except that the mathematical calculation is timing. Joe Haden hasn’t made as many tackles as most of his defensive teammates, nor was he in the middle of the action that some of his fellow defensive backs did, but when the Steelers absolutely, positively owed have someone to step up and do a play, Joe Haden stepped in and did it.
On a fourth and 7 off the Pittsburgh 16-yard line with 46 seconds left and the Titans needing a touchdown to clear what was a 19-13 lead for the Steelers at the time, the Tennessee Ryan Tannehill dropped the ball in the middle of wide wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, who spun up and headed straight for the first marker down. Shortly after, Westbrook-Ikhine was encountered by Haden in the open field. And when a 6-foot-2, 211-pound receiver crashed into a 5-foot-11, 195-pound cornerback, the smaller guy got bigger.
Haden made the tackle near the line to win, play was suspended, the Steelers picked up the ball from the downs, Ben Roethlisberger went down to one knee and Pittsburgh had a necessary 19-13 victory over the Titans on Sunday at the Heinz Field. And Haden, who finished with two tackles, one of which ended the game, and a recovery fumble that led to one of the Steelers’ four home goals in the second half, is the Steelers Compendium Player of the week.
Also included was TJ Watt, who finished with five tackles, 1.5 sacks to bring his total so far in 2021 to 17.5 and break James Harrison’s franchise record in a single season of 16, plus three hits on the quarterback and one fumble recovery; Minkah Fitzpatrick, who led the team with 14 tackles and recovered a fumble; Chris Boswell, who was 4-for-5 on field goals, including 3-for-3 in the fourth quarter when the Steelers went from a 13-10 deficit to a 19-13 lead; Joe Schobert, who had seven tackles and one interception; Terrell Edmunds, who made 10 tackles, including two for losses; and Derrick Tuszka, who had three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.