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Maddox frustrated with third straight loss to Titans

Tommy Maddox doesn’t remember a great deal from the Steelers’ first meeting with the Tennessee Titans a season ago.

The details of the two subsequent games between the teams, he’d like to forget.

“It’s frustrating,” Maddox said after the Titans won their third straight against the Steelers, 30-13. “Two of the three times, I felt that we should have beat them.

“That’s the hard thing.”

Maddox was temporarily paralyzed during Tennessee’s 31-23 victory over the Steelers last Nov. 17 in Nashville.

In the playoffs back in January, he threw for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns but the Steelers still lost, 34-31, in overtime.

It wasn’t that close Sunday at Heinz Field, as Maddox completed a season-high 31 passes and threw for 322 yards but was sacked three times and intercepted twice.

His first interception was returned 49 yards to the Steelers’ 1-yard line with under a minute to play in the second quarter, and set the table for the touchdown that gave Tennessee a 16-13 halftime lead.

Maddox’ second interception was returned 60 yards into the Steelers’ end zone, closing the scoring early in the fourth quarter.

Maddox was also trapped for a safety, one that had required a challenge and a replay review overturning the call, with the Steelers leading 10-0 early in the second quarter.

“I can’t say enough about the guys today,” Maddox said. “We went out there and did all the things we talked about doing. We talked about controlling the line of scrimmage, controlling the clock, moving the ball.”

The Steelers did that well enough in the first half to amass advantages of 201-107 in total yards and 21:13-8:47 in time of possession, and still they trailed at the break.

The safety and Maddox’ first interception helped allow the lead to slip away.

The return for a touchdown — the second Maddox has suffered this season — helped seal the Steelers’ fate.

“You can’t give up plays like that,” he said. “When you give a good team 16 points and get beat by 17, that pretty much sums it up.

“The safety, I was just trying to get out of the end zone and slipped. I thought ‘Plex’ (wide receiver Plaxico Burress) was going to get inside (of cornerback Samari Rolle on Rolle’s interception and return to the 1). Obviously, looking back, it’s a throw I wish I wouldn’t have made.

“They blitzed off the corner (on Maddox’ second interception, which was returned for a TD by linebacker Rocky Boiman). Believe it or not, I was trying to do the smart thing and throw it away.”

Maddox isn’t ready to throw away his hopes or expectations for a season that has opened with the Steelers an unimpressive 2-2 after four games.

“The thing I love about playing with these guys, and it doesn’t matter, the two games we’ve won or the two games we’ve lost, everybody plays hard,” he said. “Everybody loves playing together and plays hard.

“If we do that, we’re going to be all right. Coin the phrase, you’re going to have days like this. You wish you wouldn’t, but you do. You try to learn from it, you try not to make those mistakes and you move on.”


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