Mike Hilton’s interception of Deshaun Watson just some performs into the fourth quarter turned the tide for the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger and the offense capitalized on the swing of momentum, nonetheless tangible even in an empty Heinz Field, and methodically drove down the discipline after changing a third-and-5 to Eric Ebron with a 14-yard go play, finally ending in a 12-yard landing run by James Conner.
The Steelers capped it off with a 2-point conversion on a go from Roethlisberger to JuJu Smith-Schuster, giving them a seven-point lead with simply greater than six minutes to play.
The protection picked up proper the place the offense left off as T.J. Watt drilled Watson for an 11-yard sack on the first play of the Texans’ collection and finally compelled one other three-and-out. Houston by no means received the ball again.
It was the sort of reciprocal play the Steelers lacked final season, and the form that can make it profitable with Roethlisberger again.
With the win, the Steelers are 3-0 for the first time in a decade.
Despite an extended, regular drive in their first collection, the offense struggled in the first half. The Steelers went three-and-out in their subsequent two drives earlier than lastly figuring it out in the fourth drive.
Similarly, the Steelers’ protection couldn’t discover a rhythm, both, permitting Watson to decide aside the secondary with laserlike precision as the line couldn’t get strain on him.
But by the fourth quarter, the Steelers figured it out to full the comeback.
Buy on a breakout efficiency: Three weeks in the past, rookie Anthony McFarland was inactive for the Steelers’ season opener. Per week in the past, he was energetic however he didn’t play.
Against the Texans, McFarland received on the discipline throughout the Steelers’ first collection and picked up 7 yards in his first carry. He completed with six carries for 42 yards.
Later in the first half, McFarland ripped off a 20-yard run on a drive that ended with Ebron’s first landing as a Steeler.
McFarland was additionally the first working again to see motion after halftime, and the Steelers went to him 4 performs in a row.
Although Conner continues to be the Steelers’ featured again, McFarland’s game-breaking pace enhances Conner’s bruising fashion.
Surprising stat: The Steelers entered Sunday’s recreation with a popularity for bringing all sorts of strain on opposing quarterbacks, and with a matchup towards the Texans’ shaky line, it appeared the Steelers had been primed for a giant day.
But that’s not what occurred — a minimum of initially.
Through the first half, the Steelers allowed Watson to full 14 of 18 makes an attempt with two touchdowns. They sacked him solely twice. At halftime, Watson had a powerful 150.5 passer ranking. The Steelers’ third sack, although, got here at a vital time, when Stephon Tuitt introduced Watson down on third down and compelled the Texans to punt after a fast three-and-out late in the third quarter.
That appeared to open the floodgates for the Steelers. Bud Dupree picked up a sack on the Texans’ subsequent drive, and on the subsequent, Watt drilled Watson and Hilton snagged his throw. By the finish of the recreation, the Steelers had 5 sacks.
Promising development: The Steelers’ tight ends had been productive on Sunday. They added Ebron in free company to be a purple zone goal and a giant physique over the center.
He was underutilized in the passing recreation, although, throughout his first two video games.
The Steelers made up for that in a giant method Sunday as Ebron snagged his first Steelers landing and completed with 4 catches for 38 yards.
Not solely that, however the Steelers additionally received fellow tight finish Vance McDonald concerned extra, going to him thrice.
McDonald caught all three targets and completed with 35 yards.