Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 4 vs. Texans
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GAME BALL goes to: TE DAVID JOHNSON
Lucky to be down only 10-0 at halftime, the Steelers came back to tie the game on the first two series of the third quarter. And one of the reasons they did was the blocking of TE David Johnson, who looked like Alan Faneca leading Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore through holes on the tying field goal drive. The Steelers rushed for 60 yards on eight carries on that drive. "We saw something that worked and we kept running it," Johnson said.
X's AND O's
It's called a stretch play because that is what it does to a defense when it is executed, and the Steelers have been helpless to stop it in three games. Arian Foster had 155 yards rushing -- the most allowed by the Steelers since Curtis Martin had 174 in December 2003 -- and most came on that type of play, including Foster's 42-yard touchdown run to win the game. "It's a copycat league and teams are going to continue to run it until we get it stopped," DE Aaron Smith said.
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1 WELCOME BACK: After missing two games with a hamstring injury, Texans RB Arian Foster celebrated his return with a 42-yard touchdown run with 12:02 remaining, right after the Steelers came back from a 10-0 deficit to tie the game. Foster did what he had been doing all game, cutting back to the weak side and running around LB LaMarr Woodley and S Troy Polamalu to the right sideline. "I have to do a better job of getting down there and closing that guy down," Woodley said.
2 PENALTY, ANYONE? The Steelers were lucky to even be in the game. Penalties negated a blocked field goal return for a Texans' touchdown, an interception return for a TD and a fumble recovery. "I'm not trying to look for a silver lining in any of it," OLB James Harrison said.
3 OPENING STATEMENT: The Texans opened the game with a 19-play, 95-yard, nearly 11-minute drive, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide-open TE Owen Daniel. It was the second opening-drive touchdown by an opponent this season.
4 A BIG ONE: Hines Ward had one catch for 19 yards, but it came on third-and-14 from the Steelers 32 on the opening drive of the third quarter. It was the most essential of third-down conversions on the drive that ended with Rashard Mendenhall's 3-yard TD run.
5 GROUND GAME: After Mendenhall (hamstring) was injured, Isaac Redman carried four consecutive times for 31 yards to start the following series. After Mewelde Moore added a 15-yard run, Shaun Suisham kicked a 26-yard field goal to tie the game.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: 119.5
That's how many yards rushing the Steelers have allowed on average after four games -- almost double the franchise-record 62.8 yards they allowed in 2010 when they led the league in rush defense.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
It was another long day for the offensive line, which was playing without two starters: LT Jonathan Scott and RG Doug Legursky. It looked like a Texas stampede when Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times -- twice by OLB Mario Williams -- and pounded repeatedly on several other attempts. "You put stuff on tape and they see what you're having problems with," said LT Trai Essex, who gave up two sacks. "Teams are hitting us with a lot of twists and stunts because we've been giving up pressure when they do that."
"I haven't seen it like this, not how it's going right now." -- OLB James Harrison, after the defense gave up 180 yards rushing and a second 100-yard rusher in four games
SUNDAY'S OPPONENT vs. TENNESSEE TITANS, 1 P.M.
The Steelers return home to play Tennessee Sunday at Heinz Field. The Titans are 1-3 at Heinz Field with their lone win coming in 2003, and are coming off a 31-13 victory in Cleveland.
First Published October 3, 2011 12:00 am