Will T.J. Watt best his older brother J.J. Watt, as it pertains to defensive statistics?
Can the Steelers stay perfect?
All of those questions were answered on the field, and the Steelers were the lucky winners of the opening coin toss, choosing to defer their possession to the third quarter.
After Watson and company failed to gain a first down on their opening drive, the Steelers took over and put together their best opening drive of the season. The end result of the drive wasn’t a touchdown, but a Chris Boswell field goal giving the Steelers a 3-0 lead with 8:55 left in the opening quarter.
Needing an answer, Watson and the Houston offense responded in a big way. Watson had big pass plays to Brandin Cooks on third down, but it was the strike to Randall Cobb which delivered the first touchdown of the game. The point after made the score 7-3 with 6:01 left in the first quarter.
Both teams exchanged three and outs to end the first quarter, but with great field position the Texans’ offense was the next to draw blood. After several big plays through the air it was a David Johnson one yard run which made the score 14-3 with 11:32 left in the first half.In desperate need of a drive, Ben Roethlisberger and company delivered with a 75-yard drive that was capped off by a beautiful back shoulder throw from Roethlisberger to Eric Ebron.
The Boswell point-after made the score 14-10 with 5:05 remaining in the first half.
Pittsburgh’s defense responded with a three and out on the Texan’s next possession, and it didn’t take Roethlisberger and company long to strike again. After nice receptions to James Conner, James Washington and Ebron for first down, the Steelers caught the Texans in a blitz and it was an easy pass and catch to JuJu Smith-Schuster for the touchdown.
Just like that, it was a Steelers lead 17-14 with 1:14 left in the first half.
Right when you think the first half would end with the Steelers heading into the locker room with a lead, Deshaun Watson had different plans. Every play the Texans ran was able to garner 10 or more yards. The drive was capped off by a pass from Watson to Will Fuller to give Houston a 21-17 lead with just 24 seconds left in the half.
Pittsburgh received the football to start the third quarter, and went with heavy doses of Anthony McFarland Jr. and completions to James Washington to move the ball into Houston territory. Facing a 4th and inches situation, The Steelers elected to go for it, and Chase Claypool drew a pass interference call which set the Steelers up in the red-zone for the second time of the game.
However, the first and goal series was dead before it started. A first down penalty followed by back to back dropped passes equated in a 26-yard Chris Boswell field goal to make the score 21-20 Houston with 9:54 left in the quarter.
After the field goal the rest of the quarter was filled with both teams exchanging possessions. In the fourth quarter it looked like Watson was about to make some more magic, but on third and 15 his pass was intercepted by Mike Hilton giving the Steelers the ball with a chance to take the lead for the first time since they led 17-14 just before halftime.
Points off of turnovers is a huge statistic in the NFL, and the Steelers took the Hilton interception and turned it into a touchdown. A methodical, time consuming drive resulted in a James Conner touchdown run to give the Steelers the lead.
Rather than kick a point after, the Steelers opted to go for the two point conversion, and Roethlisberger hit Smith-Schuster for the conversion. The score stood 28-21 with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter.
Keith Butler’s defense continued to do their job in the second half, and after T.J. Watt sacked Watson on first down, it resulted in another punt to give the ball right back to Pittsburgh.
What ensued was a power running game Steelers fans haven’t seen in a long time. James Conner was the work horse and Benny Snell the complimentary back who put the Steelers into the red-zone. After a fourth down conversion to James Washington and a catch and run to the two yard line by Chase Claypool, the Steelers were facing a first and goal situation form the two yard line at the two minute warning.
Without any timeouts remaining, the Steelers elected to kneel out the clock, resulting in a 28-21 win over Houston.
The win moves the Steelers’ record to 3-0 as they now turn their attention away from the Texans and onto the Tennessee Titans in Week 4. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold.
For a full recap of Mike Tomlin’s post-game press conference, check out the podcast below: