Week seven of Monday Night Football saw the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Houston Texans by a score of 30-23. Early on the Texans were dominating, but late in the second quarter Pittsburgh started to take over and never gave back control. Houston made a lot of mistakes that definitely helped Pittsburgh on their way to a win that gives them a winning record.
For both teams the pressure was building coming into this game because of some very inconsistent play. The Texans started the year 3-0 but have since lost their last three games and are currently 3-3. The Steelers also came in 3-3 and have had very inconsistent performances with a big win over the Panthers, but some bad losses to the Buccaneers and Browns. There were some rumors that the Texans could get a huge boost with number one overall pick JaDeveon Clowney possibly coming back in this game, but he was ruled inactive.
The opening quarter was all Texans as they moved the ball at will on a hobbled Pittsburgh defense. Arian Foster ran very effectively, early running for just under 100 yards in the first half, including a big run on the first drive that set up the first touchdown making it 7-0.
Houston’s defense did a very good job of not letting the Steelers offense get in any type of rhythm until the last 3 minutes of the first half. Ben Roethlisberger had a big turnover early on that was recovered by JJ Watt and gave the Texans some early momentum and helping them get a 13-0 lead. A Lawrence Timmons sack that led to a Texans punt ignited Pittsburgh to finally get something going on offense and they scored on every offensive drive after that. A field goal then led to the first really good Steelers drive when rookie Martavis Bryant caught his first NFL pass for a 35 yard touchdown cutting the Houston lead to 13-10.
A Texans fumble and recovery led to horrible field position on their next drive near halftime. A huge Foster fumble then gave Pittsburgh great field position within the Houston 5 yard line. No one on the Steelers defense really thought it was a fumble, lucky for them the booth reviewed the play and led to their second unanswered touchdown. Pittsburgh then scored the very next play when Antonio Brown got a pitch that looked like an end around but he then reversed field and threw a really nice pass for a touch down to Lance Moore.
At this point, all the momentum had shifted to the Steelers and that transferred to the next Texans play when a tipped pass bounced off of Timmons right into the hands of Brett Keisel, who caught it and set up another drive with great field position for Pittsburgh. Again, they capitalized on the turnover throwing a short touch down pass to LeVeon Bell. After falling into a 13-0 hole, Pittsburgh scored 24 unanswered points in only 2 minutes and 54 seconds to go into the half with a 24-13 lead.
In the second half, the Texans struggles on offense continued from late in the first half. Neither team scored in the entire third quarter but Houston’s offense was seemingly struggling more with their only big offensive play in the quarter coming on a fake punt. The fake punt did not result in any points as the Steelers defense really started to clamp down after the initial 13-0 lead the Texans initially got out to. Houston finally got some sort of sustained drive going on their first drive of the fourth quarter, but it was stalled in the red zone after a big 3rd down dropped pass.
LeVeon Bell’s production was a huge positive for Pittsburgh all night as he continued to wear down the Houston defense. His running set up a great catch from Antonio Brown who held on to the ball with one hand while falling out-of-bounds. On the very next play it seemed Brown had caught a touchdown but it was ruled out-of-bounds with a very nice effort from the receiver. Another great catch from Brown and a great effort after the catch got the Steelers an easy field goal to make it 27-16 with just over five minutes remaining.
After the field goal, the Texans needed to respond and it looked as if they had when DeAndre Hopkins caught a deep pass but was stripped by Mike Mitchell at the end of the run after the catch. It was just another mistake in a long line of them for Houston, who looked good early on, but could not get out of their own way with mistakes and turnovers. The Steelers again scored off the turnover with another field goal that took their lead to 30-16 but not wasting much time Giving Houston just over two minutes to try and get two touch downs.
The Texans had a good drive to score after Pittsburgh pushed their lead ending with a Foster touchdown making it a one score game 30-23. The ensuing onside kick almost went the Texans way when it bounced around for a while before the Steelers finally recovered it, guaranteeing their victory.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to get a big Monday Night Football win over the Texans by a score of 30-23. The win makes Pittsburgh 4-3 going into two very difficult upcoming games against the Colts and Ravens. The Texans did not play awfully but made some big mistakes that lost them the game and drops them to 3-4 with a matchup against the Titans coming up next.
Commentary By Max Petkevicius