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TIME TO REBOOT AGAINST THE STEELERS WEEK 3

CloakNNNdagger

Hall of Fame
Texans: Looking ahead to Steelers
John McClain Sep. 20, 2020


A look at the Texans' Week 3 matchup against the Steelers:

1. The Steelers have taken advantage of a weak opening schedule to start the season with a 2-0 record. They won at the Giants and followed up that victory with a conquest at home over Denver. The Giants and Broncos are a combined 0-4. The Broncos put a scare in the Steelers, running out of downs at the Pittsburgh 15 with 1:51 remaining when backup quarterback Jeff Driskel was sacked.

2. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes in the victory over the Giants. He followed that performance with two more against the Broncos. He missed almost all of 2019 with a season-ending elbow injury. If he gets time to throw against the Texans, he could pick apart their secondary.

3. The Steelers had seven sacks against the Broncos, including a team-best 2 ½ by outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Their pass rush may be the best in the NFL. Denver lost quarterback Drew Lock with an injury to his right shoulder in the first quarter. They got after backup Jeff Driskell, but he still threw two touchdown passes to keep it close. Keeping Watt off Deshaun Watson should be a top priority.
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So.......................

It's not like the Steelers have played against elite teams in week 1 or 2..............or have run away with either games.

Due to injuries, the Steelers OL has been in continued flux. This could be a potential weakness that Weaver will need to take advantage of.

Roethlisberger lost last season to a major right elbow (throwing arm) injury/surgery. The injury gave him several years of pain.........and from overuse and a sudden acute force, resulted in an injury that he was not expected to come back from. Three tendons that were torn away from the bone were re-attached using bone anchors. He apparently has come back strong........for now at least. Although last week, he connected on a long pass with his WR, for the most part, he has been throwing screens and short crossing routes. He threw 32 times in week 1 and 41 times in week2. The question still remains how long will his arm "maintain," especially if he tries to increase the number of longer passes?

In the Ravens game, the defense's problem was not the DBs, it was the DL and the LB play. Watt had some isolated success pressuring and getting to the QB. But neither he (only 2 tackles the entire game) nor the rest of DL/LBs looked interested in playing the run. Roesthlisberger is no gazelle, like Mahomes or Jackson...........but when stationary in the pocket, he is like a mountain unbelievably difficult to bring down.................and when he mobilizes, he is like a locomotive you hardly want to get in front of. The Texans D can't have another game looking like their in an oiled pig wrestling contest.

There is no doubt that the Steelers will continue the established trend of blitzing Watson. The Oline will have to do a better job of picking up at least 1-on-1 on 5 defenders. And Watson will have to do a much better job of reading the Mike LB........if the Mike backs off, Watson likely has some decent time to go through all his progressions and maybe look deep or even take off and run.........but if the Mike comes in or an outside rusher comes, Watson has to become more aware of the pressure promptly, and recognize the fact that the ball has to come out immediately.........anywhere..........except into a defender's hands.

Unlike the first 2 games, with some smarter, faster and more secure play on the part of the entire team, this is a very winnable game.
 
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Lucky

Moderator
Staff member
I really like the Steelers WR group. They have speed, they have size, they have quickness. They have answers to whatever a defense is trying to do. Kevin Colbert and his scouting department really understand what kind of player they're looking for to wear the Steeler uniform. I put the Ravens personnel department in that same category.
 

badboy

Hall of Fame
I thought "Great review McClain" until I read last sentence. What in the world makes anyone think Houston can beat Steelers? We cannot stop blitz with our O'line or our QB. Our David Johnson had his avg cut from seven yards to just over three per carry so where is the hope for that aspect of game plan which seems to be run heavy? I expected to lose the first two games but had Pitts as a win preseason. That was slapped out of me. Ben is looking great so far with nothing to slow him down on our D he should pad his stats. Let's be optimistic and say JJ gets two sacks-- where are the rest of the front seven? I was excited about Jacob Martin but one sack in two games? Sheesh! Merciless has become Mercyful and seems to be having fantasies in his head with his millions. Does Conley get on field and at what percent healthy? I am ready to see Greenard and Blacklock had enough frustration to at least pop someone. I don't condone it but poop!

Vikings are only team I see us having a chance to beat and that's 50-50. 0-8 is a high possibility IMO. If we don't win at least 3 of the next 6 I'm calling for a house cleaning coaches and cap space producing trades including Watt, Watson, McKinney and Tunsil. Argue what you want about Dashaun but he and Tunsil are our only assets that could bring some positives in draft picks. No use keeping either going forward. Why would #4 want to stay? Take his bucks and go play for some team he might win a ring with.

And no I don't see another coach (at least any that's available)taking this team and Watson to SB.
 

ColeThornton

Waterboy
The one thing not mentioned in the article(the part posted), is the way the Texans have not looked ready to play their first 2 games while the Steelers have come out like a prepared NFL team. If that happens again this week, all the other stuff mentioned won't really matter. And with players(JJ Watt) already calling out other players on the team, this game could be a tipping point for the season. Win or Lose, if the Texans come out swinging and looking like they're ready to play they could be back on the right foot. But if they come out like the last two games, this could be a very long season for them.
 

CloakNNNdagger

Hall of Fame
I thought "Great review McClain" until I read last sentence. What in the world makes anyone think Houston can beat Steelers? We cannot stop blitz with our O'line or our QB. Our David Johnson had his avg cut from seven yards to just over three per carry so where is the hope for that aspect of game plan which seems to be run heavy? I expected to lose the first two games but had Pitts as a win preseason. That was slapped out of me. Ben is looking great so far with nothing to slow him down on our D he should pad his stats. Let's be optimistic and say JJ gets two sacks-- where are the rest of the front seven? I was excited about Jacob Martin but one sack in two games? Sheesh! Merciless has become Mercyful and seems to be having fantasies in his head with his millions. Does Conley get on field and at what percent healthy? I am ready to see Greenard and Blacklock had enough frustration to at least pop someone. I don't condone it but poop!

Vikings are only team I see us having a chance to beat and that's 50-50. 0-8 is a high possibility IMO. If we don't win at least 3 of the next 6 I'm calling for a house cleaning coaches and cap space producing trades including Watt, Watson, McKinney and Tunsil. Argue what you want about Dashaun but he and Tunsil are our only assets that could bring some positives in draft picks. No use keeping either going forward. Why would #4 want to stay? Take his bucks and go play for some team he might win a ring with.

And no I don't see another coach (at least any that's available)taking this team and Watson to SB.
FYI, if you are referring to the last statement of that post, it's part of my own commentary [everything after the double dotted line following McClain's listed 3 points].........and yes, I do believe this is a winnable game.........under the necessary adjustments I alluded to in the same sentence.
 

thunderkyss

Just win baby!!!
Staff member
Contributor's Club
I really like the Steelers WR group. They have speed, they have size, they have quickness.
& they get yac. They'll make the first guy miss & turn a 20 yard catch into a 60 yard TD (hyperbole intended).
 
Hope we get curb stomped this week
I originally was rooting for a great season while not expecting one. However as my original feelings of us having a lousy season look more likely after the last two games, I hope we get curb stomped till Cal can not handle it any longer and we prepare a new head coach for next season.

Not really. While I know the only way we get rid of BO'b is for our team to suck big time, I will be rooting for them to win. It is just too hard to root against them. 0-3 will definitely push me in that direction though.
 
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Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
If it happens so be it... I for one will never root for my team to lose no matter how badly I want change (and I do).
So you wouldn't suck for Luck ?? .... Errr Trevor Lawrence if you were the Dolphins , Jets , Bengals , Bronco's , Jags or Giants ?
 

Mr teX

Hall of Fame
The Steelers offensively aren’t nearly as explosive as the 2 teams we have played. If the defense can build off of their performance in the 1st half against Baltimore where they looked pretty good, I believe we have a chance.

Offensively, All hands need to be on deck here...and when I say that, I’m saying I want all speed WR’s out there and DJ31. Fells & Akins only need to be out there when we get in the red zone b/c neither can block worth a damn and speed wise out in route, neither is scaring that speedy Steelers defense.
I wanna see a bunch of bubble and tunnel screens, quick slants and dig routes. Make the Steelers defense become inpatient and desperate...creeping up to the LOS. Then and only then, do u take the deep shot or seam route shot with WFV only.

We simply cannot come into this game thinking we can slow it down and control the clock with the run game..not against that D front with Tuitt and Heyward.
 
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Mangler

All Pro
While it hurts to say this, I hope the Texans score zero points! Going 0-3 may finally piss off the mostly clueless (casual) fanbase enough for the McNairs to take notice. O’Brien is just ruining Watson at this point, putting him behind that atrocious line, while “designing” an offense for him that makes no sense whatsoever. The offense as a whole looks to have regressed.
 

Speedy

Yeller Dweller
Yeah, I was just getting into the Steelers this evening and yuck, it just kept getting worse and worse. I think I might feel worse about this game than I did the 1st 2.

The pressure these guys bring? Holy hell! Watson might lose some more organs in this one. The o-line just thought they had it rough with Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Calais Campbell. I think the Steelers are going to bring some hurt.

I think the Texans will get very little on the ground, and you know they’ll try because you know OB will game plan right into their strength.

Driskel had moderate success against them last week, so maybe they get a little something going, but it may be too late by then.
 

KoolAid Sipper

Waterboy
So you wouldn't suck for Luck ?? .... Errr Trevor Lawrence if you were the Dolphins , Jets , Bengals , Bronco's , Jags or Giants ?
Can you imagine the opportunities the Dolphins currently have and will get if we have a terrible season? Boy oh boy, let's say the Dolphins and Texans end up with the two worse records. They drafted Tua this year so they could possibly get all kinds of offers if they owned the top 2 picks in 2021 in the 1st and 2nd rounds. :yikes:
 

HuttoKarl

Veteran
Fair write up.

Steelers have had 2 relatively straight forward games, Texans have played the 2 best teams in the AFC.

This week might be a more fair test of how either of these teams measure up.

First game of the year where I think we have a chance to win.
I mean...KC eeked out a win vs. LA. Houston wasn't even close.
 

CloakNNNdagger

Hall of Fame
McClain: Texans lacking that opening drive
John McClain Sep. 22, 2020

Slow starts have become commonplace for a Texans’ offense that’s been inconsistent during an 0-2 start.

In losses to Kansas City and Baltimore, the Texans have failed to score on their first series. Not only have they failed to score, but they’ve failed to get a first down.

Now they travel to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers at Heinz Field. A fast start — unusual for them — might help the Texans break their losing streak.

The problem can’t be blamed on offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, who’s calling plays for the first time. Not scoring a touchdown on their first possession against the Chiefs and Ravens is nothing unusual for the Texans. Dating back to the start of the 2018 season, in Deshaun Watson’s 33 starts in regular season, they’ve scored one touchdown on their first series. That was in 2018 at Denver, where they defeated the Broncos 19-17.

On their other 32 opening drives, the Texans kicked seven field goals, missed a field goal, punted 19 times, lost four fumbles and suffered one interception.

Since the start of the 2018 season, after both teams had their first possession, the Texans have led seven times, trailed 10 times and were tied 16 times.

Interestingly, on their first series of the playoff game last season at Kansas City, the Texans scored a touchdown on their first series — Watson’s 54-yard pass to Kenny Stills — and they still lost 51-31.

On a Zoom call this week, coach Bill O’Brien was asked about the offense’s inability to score touchdowns on its first possession over the last three seasons. As he pointed out, it’s not because of a lack of preparation.

“We’ve got to start faster,” he said. “We put a lot of time into the opening drive. We practice it. We go over it. We do it Friday and Saturday.

“I think we’ve got to keep working at. It’s something we know we have to do better. I don’t really have a great answer other than we’ve got to do a better job.”

In the 34-20 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, the Texans punted on their first series. After forcing Kansas City to punt on its first possession, the Texans responded with a touchdown drive that ended with running back David Johnson’s 19-yard run for a 7-0 lead. Johnson ran four times for 37 yards, and Watson completed 5 of 5 for 43 yards on that scoring drive.

In the 33-16 loss to the Ravens at NRG Stadium, the Texans and Ravens went three-and-out on their first series. After falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter, the Texans pulled within three when Watson threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darren Fells, and that was as close as they got.

“We’ve got to start faster,” Watson said, echoing O’Brien. “We get down early in the game, and we’ve got to fight our way back. You never want to do that versus any team.

“Just little mistakes (and) not executing, opportunities we're not capitalizing on. We’re just not making plays. We’re just not capitalizing on those opportunities for us to take that next step.”

Falling behind early and being forced to play from behind has become a habit. It’s a habit they want to break. Beating good teams like Kansas City, Baltimore and Pittsburgh is tough enough, but having to play from behind makes the Texans’ predicament even more difficult.

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