How long did your moment of sorrow last for Houston? Probably not long, I’m guessing, and that’s because nobody feels sorry for anyone else in the dog eat dog world of the National Football League.
I’m sure no one was feeling bad for the Steelers a year ago at this time, when they lost their star quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, for the season, as well as their first three games.
That’s life in the NFL. One year, you’re up, the next year, you’re down. For the Texans, it looks like they’re headed for the wrong side of NFL parity in 2020. As for your undefeated Steelers, who improved to 3-0 with the win on Sunday, they have their faithful dreaming of big things again.
Pittsburgh once again took a bit of a bumpy road to victory, but style points don’t matter all that much when a team keeps on winning. And all the Steelers have known in this new decade called the ‘20s is victory.
No, Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t perfect, as he completed 23 of 36 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns, but he was damn good, and a damn good Roethlisberger is better than most quarterbacks in the NFL.
Yes, for a second straight week, the offense struggled to reach pay-dirt once inside the red zone, breaking the plane of the goal line on only two of five trips (technically, it was two of four, since the Steelers finished the last trip in victory formation after Chase Claypool secured the game-clinching first down). However, the offense managed to produce 28 points, which is good enough for victory formation work on most Sundays.
As for the defense, it did look rather suspect in the first half, allowing Texans’ quarterback DeShaun Watson to move his offense up and down the field to the tune of 209 yards and three touchdowns, as the visitors carried a 21-17 lead into the locker room. The pressure really wasn’t getting to Watson. And his crew of veteran receivers, led by Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller and Randall Cobb, seemed to be finding the soft spots in Pittsburgh’s secondary far too often, something that plagued the unit a week earlier against the Broncos.
But the Steelers defense was having none of that in the second half, as it yielded a measly 51 yards and zero points. When all was said and done, Watson was sacked five times, the Texans ground game tallied just 29 yards and Keith Butler’s unit looked about as dominant as it has so far this season.
The Steelers did throw 36 times on the day, but they also ran the ball an impressive 38 times. No, they didn’t gash Houston’s defense on the ground, but led by James Conner’s 109 yards, they averaged 4.4 per carry.
Pittsburgh even managed to cut down on its penalties, only being called for two on the day.
As for the turnover category, the Steelers won that battle when cornerback Mike Hilton came up with a key fourth-quarter interception that ultimately led to the winning score. Pittsburgh also managed to go without a giveaway for the first time in 26 games, even if Claypool did technically fumble while picking up that aforementioned game-sealing first down—thankfully, it rolled out of bounds.
All-in-all, it was yet another decent if not perfect performance by the Steelers on Sunday, but they found a way to win for a third-straight week.
Before we put a bow on this article, take some time to think about the Steelers 3-0 start. Worried about their imperfections through three weeks? Don’t be. After all, the NFL really is a dog eat dog world and, unlike last year, just be glad Pittsburgh isn’t one of the teams wearing milk bone underwear.