It’s Not the Game We Thought It Was.
Before the season started this game was a no-brainer victory for the Steelers. Chalk it up, done deal. Now one can’t be so sure. First, the Texans look like a contender. They had a lead on the road against a high-scoring New Orleans Saints team but faltered down the stretch, allowing 23 points in the fourth quarter. And that’s been the knock against Houston for years, their defense is mediocre at best. For all their offensive firepower, they have yet to consistently win against good teams. And that’s the measuring stick, quality wins.
So far the Texans have beaten the Colts and Dolphins and lost a road game to the Saints. That’s comparable to the Steelers’ opening loss at Baltimore with added home and road victories against terrible teams.
How Can the Steelers Win?
The Steelers defense must dominate and that begins with shutting down the Houston running game. Ike Taylor will be tasked with covering all-world receiver Andre Johnson. But Johnson isn’t the only weapon on offense. Matt Shaub likes to throw to his running backs and tight ends. The whole mix works great when the running game produces. Pundits say the Texans have the best offensive line in the league. Make sure James Harrison and Lamar Woodley know this, both men must pressure Matt Shaub.
Forget about injuries along the line, there are no more excuses for the offense, they need to play better. There must be a greater commitment to run the football. Ben Roethlisberger must not turn over the ball. The Steelers need to rip some pages out of their playbook, particularly those designed to throw a pass within 5 yards of the LOS. The Steelers should utilize their big-armed quarterback and collection of speedy receivers to pressure opposing defenses with a vertical attack and pound them with their two power backs and offensive line.
Clearly, Bruce Arians doesn’t believe this. And Mike Tomlin’s failure to recognize it may be his downfall. The Steelers have a sublime collection of pouding power and speed but it is wasted in their current offensive scheme.
How Can the Steelers Lose?
If the Steelers travel to Houston and fall behind early, it will be their demise. If their turnover ratio continues as-is, they will lose. If they don’t remember that they are the Pittsburgh Steelers, they will lose. Failure to stop the Houston running game will end in defeat.
Basically, if they don’t do the things they need to win, they will lose. Football can be that simple.
Steelers 27 Texans 20