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Steelers blown out 6-30 by Texans in Week 4, Kenny Pickett goes down with knee injury

Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsbugh Steelers looks on during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on October 01, 2023 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered their worst loss of the season

Week 4 marked the first game in which the Steelers had been favored all season,

The Texans opened up their first drive with a touchdown, matching down the field methodically with several strong runs and a 27-yard chunk gain from rookie QB C.J. Stroud to RB Dameon Pierce that put them in the red zone. A touchdown score to open the game was seemly written in the stars, having had an initial touchdown — a five-yard scramble from Stroud — reversed on the replay. Stroud followed it up with another five-yard touchdown, this time passing, to Pierce, nullified by penalty. Finally, the Texans did make it into the end zone for their first of three scores on the day — a two-yard score to WR Nico Collins.

From the jump, this had been a one-sided matchup with the Steelers first half half-drives going as follows:

  • Interception
  • Punt
  • Punt
  • Punt
  • Punt

Meanwhile, the Texans executed another three field goals before closing out the first half. To add further insult to injury, Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth suffered a hamstring injury, ruled out ahead of halftime.

Though the Steelers opened the third quarter executing back-to-back drives ending in a field goal to get the ball rolling, it all came crashing down on their third offensive possession. With 1:16 left in the third quarter, the offense executed one of their most questionable calls all game, executing a play out of shotgun on fourth and one which resulted in the sack that injured Pickett.

From there on out, the Texans gained steam and didn’t look back, scoring touchdowns on each of the following two drives to close out the game. The first came to open up the fourth quarter, a trick play with a six-yard pass from Texans RB Devin Singletary to TE Dalton Schultz.

Backup QB Mitch Trubisky entered the game on the drive to following Pickett’s injury, completing an eight-yard pass to Calvin Austin on first down. However, back-to-back incompletions to WR George Pickens followed, resulting in a punt that set up yet another touchdown for the Texans.

Yet again, Houston scored — specifically, with yet another pass from Stroud to Collins for their second touchdown of the game. This time, it was a 52-yard bomb to put the nail in the Steelers coffin.

Pittsburgh failed to execute in all three phases of the game in Week 4, a disappointment showing against the Texans, who just held the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft following a disastrous 2022 season. This defense made Stroud look like a 10-year vet, and this entire team will have given Tomlin & Co. a lot to think about on the plane ride home.