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Steelers vs Texans Second Half Notes And Observations

Below are my notes and observations of the second half of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ victory over the Houston Texans on Monday night.

  • After a startling swing of momentum to end the first half, the second began promisingly when the defense stopped the Texans on second and one, and then third and one, to first a three and out on the opening drive. Sean Spence and Lawrence Timmons were the playmakers on those respective plays.
  • You know things are going well when it’s LeGarrette Blount converting a third and two with a spin move at the line of scrimmage that sends a streaking defender sprawling to the grass.
  • The Steelers may have taken that a bit too much to heart when Ben Roethlisberger tried to hit Antonio Brown on a flea flicker between two defenders to the end zone on the next play.
  • Despite stumbling in the backfield, Dri Archer still picked up nine yards on second down on a run up the left side.
  • Blount was stopped just an inch or two shy of the first down on third and one, but the Steelers didn’t have it in them to go for at that point, up 11 on the Texans’ 40-yard line.
  • Punter Brad Wing continued his strong day, sending a punt bouncing at about the one-yard line before being downed at the seven.
  • But the Texans got out of it early with a comeback catch by DeAndre Hopkins in front of William Gay for 21 yards.
  • The Steelers forced another short-yardage situation, however. Arian Foster slipped on third and one, with Timmons easily tagging him down, but they got fooled on a fake punt on the following play to move the chains.
  • The Texans then began attacking Gay with Hopkins, but a false start derailed the drive and they were forced to punt after two more plays. Daniel McCullers forced pressure up the middle on second down, causing Ryan Fitzpatrick to scramble, with James Harrison influencing a rushed throw on third down that Brice McCain helped force out of the tight end’s grasp.
  • The Texans downed the punt on the one-yard line, but the Steelers moved the ball close to the 40-yard line before being forced to punt again themselves. Darrius Heyward-Bey came up with a big 17-yard grab on third and nine.
  • Wing chose this time for his one poor punt, however, as it only traveled 35 yards to the Texans’ 26.
  • This time, the Texans attacked Cortez Allen with Andre Johnson. First came an 11-yard pass interference penalty, and then a 24-yard grab across midfield.
  • Later in the drive, the defense let Johnson slip into a zone behind Allen and Jason Worilds for another 21 yards down to the 15. But there they were forced to settle for a field goal.
  • Following a free first down on an offside call, Le’Veon Bell finally found space on the ground for the first time all night, rushing up the left side for 20 yards.
  • Later in the drive, Roethlisberger connected with Brown for 30 yards on an impressive sideline catch that showed excellent body control. The pair followed it up with a touchdown pass of 16 yards on the next play, but the replay officials incorrectly overturned it, regardless of what the league head of officiating chose to argue after the fact.
  • As it was, the Steelers were forced to settle for a field goal, but Brown got 15 yards out of it anyway after Bell was tackle for a six-yard loss when Roethlisberger threw him the ball to escape a sack.
  • After a long gain by Hopkins, Mike Mitchell was able to strip the ball out at midfield, and Troy Polamalu came a long way to claw that ball away, returning it to the 39-yard line.
  • The Steelers played conservatively the rest of the way—for the most part. On one second down play, Roethlisberger took a shot down the field to Martavis Bryant in the end zone, but the ball touched down out of bounds anyway. It stopped the clock and gave the Texans an extra 40 seconds or so, but the Steelers extended their lead to 14 points.
  • The Texans didn’t waste much time getting down the field and scoring, however, with Fitzpatrick finding Foster for a one-yard touchdown pass against the Steelers’ 4-5-2 defense, by Timmons and Terence Garvin.
  • Houston nearly recovered the ensuing onside kick as well. Heyward-Bey failed to field it at the Texans’ 46, then it ricocheted off of Markus Wheaton tussling with two Texans before spilling back to the Steelers’ 37, where it was finally secured by Michael Palmer.
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