Key Decision #1:
- This was a lopsided game from the very beginning. It was a 20-0 lead at halftime. The Texans played their third and fourth quarterbacks of the season in this game. They would not pose a threat to one of the AFC leaders. Up 27-6 late in the fourth quarter, the Steelers still had starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the game and he was throwing to rookie standout wide receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster. This wasn’t a case of running up the score. Rather if you are a team like the Steelers that is without key players due to injury, including WR Antonio Brown, there must be some point at which playing your stars in an already decided game.
Key Decision #2:
- At the beginning of the first half and down 10-0, Houston mounted their best drive of the game starting at their own 34-yard line and moving the ball to the Pittsburgh 6-yard line to start a new set of downs. The Texans had four downs to try and score a touchdown from this 6-yard line and operated out of the shotgun on all of those plays, including on fourth down where Texans QB T.J. Yates threw an interception to kill off any chances Houston had to stay in the game. Of those three plays, one play was a short pass to WR Braxton Miller, the other was a direct snap to RB Alfred Blue operating out of the Wildcat and the other was an incomplete pass to Miller in addition to the interception.
Key Decision #3:
- The Texans, also hampered by devastating injuries to key players deserves credit for running the ball to “shorten” the game and rushed for 176 yards and over six yards per carry. This allowed Houston to possess the ball for twenty-nine minutes and minimize the time that their defense spent on the field.
- Ben Roethlisberger threw to six different receivers in the victory. Pittsburgh was without their star wide receiver Antonio Brown.
- Houston lost its fifth straight game and have now lost eight of its last nine contests.
- The Texans offensive line had no answers to the Steelers pass rush and frequent zone blitzing, the staple of their defensive scheme. The Steelers would have seen sacks on the game.