The Pittsburgh Steelers offense had five scoring drives against a Houston Texans defense that is struggling to keep opposing teams from putting points on the board. Scoring 28 points is a quality
output for the offense, but the Steelers continued to struggle with getting the ball into the end zone.
On the first drive of the game the Steelers kicked a field goal from the Houston 15 yard-line on a fourth and 1. It made sense to take the points given the point in the game, but it was a golden opportunity for an opening drive touchdown and one that the team couldn’t finish off. On the opening drive of the second half the Steelers had first and goal from the 15 yard line, due to a penalty. Once again they came away with a field goal.
Eric Ebron, Juju Smith Schuster and James Conner all found the end zone. Conner’s score came late in the fourth quarter; Juju Smith Schuster helped seal the lead with a two-point conversion score after Conner’s touchdown to put the Steelers up 7.
Ben Roethlisberger missed a few deep throws that could have put easy points on the board. Overall the offense played well, but settling for field goals on quality offensive drives and missing opportunities for big plays will come back to bite this team against a better opponent.
Grade – C+
I’ll be honest the first half of this game had, and still has, me a little concerned. The Steelers defense was able to get a lot of pressure on Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson. They tallied 5 sacks in the game and Mike Hilton came up with an interception to end a drive in the second half. However, the defense struggled at times with Watson’s movement in the pocket. He was able to extend plays and find receivers downfield.
Again, lets focus on the first half. Houston put up over 200 total yards and scored 3 touchdowns in the first half. The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger back so the offense is much improved, but this team is supposed to have a championship-caliber defense. That first half was the first time this season that their defensive integrity has been in question.
Then, we had the second half. The defense gave up less than 100 total yards in the second half of the game. Intercepted a pass and had constant pressure on the Texans offense. Not to mention they pitched a second half shutout.
The first half wasn’t great, but the second half showed us just how good this defense could be.
Grade – B
Ray-Ray McCloud is fun to watch on returns. He is explosive and you have to think that at some point he is going to make a big splash play in the return game. He averaged over 12 yards on punt returns and helped give the Steelers quality field position.
Dustin Colquitt averaged 44.3 yards per punt today. Mike Tomlin mentioned when they signed Colquitt that they like his floor. He may not boom any kicks and he may not be the best punter in the NFL, but you know what you are going to get and he is consistent, which is a nice change of pace from Jordan Berry.
Chris Boswell looks like good Boswell this year. He made all four kicks today, two PATs and two field goals. He looks comfortable and if he can be automatic that’s a huge plus for the offense.