The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Sunday when they played the Houston Texans in Week 3 of the regular season. After the AFC game on Sunday, it is time to see who performed well, and who left a lot to be desired.
Improvement was evident in some ways, and hopefully will continue, but the judgement process must go on. Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left plays on the field can be deemed ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.
Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after Week 3...
Stat Line: 23/36 / 2 TDs/ 0 INT / 101.3 Rating
If this is the Roethlisberger fans should get accustomed to seeing in 2020, and hopefully beyond, then I don’t think you’ll see many complaining. Roethlisberger has been extremely efficient in 2020, and once he gets those deep passes dialed in he could really do some damage through the air. Nonetheless, Roethlisberger’s play has been above the line, and easily puts him on the winners list.
Stat Line: 18 carries / 109 yards / 6.1 ypc / 1 TD
Conner has turned into one of the most notable “but” players. People say it all the time, “I love Conner, but...” or “Conner is a cancer survivor, but...” even last week’s “Yeah the Steelers rushed for 100 yards, but Conner got most of that on one run...”
The young man has done nothing but put his head down and grind, and I’m sure this was a vindicating game for No. 30. He ran well, and showed more patience than usual. His performance absolutely puts him on the winners list after Week 3.
Second Half Defense
Stat Line: 0 Points Allowed
Heading into halftime the last memory the Steelers’ fan base had was their defense allowing Deshaun Watson and company to drive down the field in 50 seconds to re-take the lead. What actually played out was a suffocating second half performance which didn’t allow a single point in quarters three and four. A tremendous feat, and kudos to both the coaching staff and players for the adjustments made and executed.
Stat Line: 8 tackles / 8 solo / 1 TFL / 1 QB Hit / 1 INT
I realize Hilton got beat badly on a touchdown reception in the first half, but Hilton is a big play waiting to happen. For what he lacks in coverage skills, he makes up for in big play ability. Whether it be a timely sack, a tackle for loss, or in Sunday’s case an interception. Hilton has a knack for making the big play, and he is setting himself up for a big payday somewhere once the 2020 season concludes.
Stat Line: NO TURNOVERS!!
For the first time in over 25 games, the Steelers didn’t commit a turnover. I honestly never thought it would ever end, but it deserves a spot on the winner’s list!
Stat Line: 60 straight games with a sack
As Will Ferrell famously said in Old School, “We’re going streaking!”
The Steelers have registered at least one sack in the last 60 games. What might be even crazier is when you watch this defense play I can’t even fathom what would need to take place for this streak to end. The Steelers’ pass rush is so dominant, it would be more of a shock to see the Steelers sack streak end than it was when the turnover streak ended Sunday.
Stat Line: 4 tackles, 4 solo, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 4 QB Hits
As a little brother myself, I know what Watt was thinking heading into the Watt Bowl Sunday. You want your brother to play well, you want everyone to stay healthy, but you want to prove you are up to the task. Prove you are more than capable of getting out of the shadow of your older brother. While he didn’t need this game to prove this, Watt did just that as he racked up the stats, added to his sack total and was his usual game wrecker self.
Watt, and the Steelers, didn’t just win the game Sunday, he won bragging rights over J.J. for the next few seasons.
Stat Line: Holding J.J. Watt to 4 tackles, 1 solo
In Week 2 everyone was in love with Kevin Dotson at right guard, and rightfully so. The rookie from Louisiana played well, but last week, and also this week, people are forgetting about Chuks Okorafor. Okorafor stood tall replacing Zach Banner in Week 1 and hasn’t missed a beat since. How well did Okorafor play Sunday? Anyone remember J.J. Watt’s name being mentioned?
3rd Down Offense
Stat Line: 8/18 for the day
The Steelers’ offense has been improving every week, and that is expected, but one area I hope to see some serious improvement in the coming weeks is on third downs. Finishing 8/18 on third downs isn’t awful, but certainly can be improved upon. The team who wins on third downs, extends drives and add to their time of possession usually wins the game. If the Steelers can improve their third down offense it will make them that more dominant.
1st Half Passing Defense
Stat Line: Gave up over 200 yards passing, 21 points in first half
For as good as the defense was in the second half, it was awful in the first half. To be honest, I’m not sure why the Texans even tried to run the football at all in the second half. They were throwing the ball with ease, and having success. Nonetheless, they kept banging their head against the wall that is the Steelers’ run defense, and put Watson and company in obvious passing situations. Maybe the first half was a blip on the radar, but don’t think fans are happy with how the secondary has looked through three games.