Steelers' comeback fizzles with 17-10 loss to Texans
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu knocks the helmet off Texans receiver Andre Johnson.
Steelers running back Isaac Redman picks up first down against the Texans.
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HOUSTON -- A Steelers second-half comeback fizzled as the Houston Texans put their running game in gear to pull out a 17-10 victory today.
The loss dropped the Steelers to 2-2. The Texans raised their record to 3-1.
Arian Foster's 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter broke a 10-10 tie to give Houston the victory.
The Steelers had one last good attempt to tie the game back up when they had a first down at Houston's 48 with 3:33 to go. However, they managed only three yards in four plays, and the Texans took over.
They were forced to punt, but they downed the ball at the one with 1:02 left and going 99 yards for the Steelers' offense in a minute was out of the question. Ben Roethlisberger's deep pass from his 40 was intercepted at the 10 with 10 seconds left.
The Steelers came back from a 10-0 halftime deficit to tie it 10-10 to open the fourth quarter but then ran out of steam.
The Steelers finally tied the game on Shaun Suisham's 26-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 10-10. However, the Texans wiped that out and more with a five-play drive that covered 85 yards, the final 42 on a romp around right end by Arian Foster. That pushed Foster way over 100 yards, the second back in four games to top that against the once-stout Steelers' run defense.
The Steelers had closed Houston's lead to 10-7 on the opening drive of the second half to climb back into a game in which they were dominated through the first two quarters.
Rashard Mendenhall, who left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury, took a pitch from Roethlisberger and ran around right end behind a David Johnson block for a 3-yard touchdown with 7:02 left in the third quarter. It ended a 74-yard drive on the 13th play.
Houston led 10-0 at halftime.
As it was, the Steelers were lucky they did not find themselves down by more. Lining up for a 30-yard field goal with seven seconds left in the half, the Steelers' Suisham had it blocked by Houston's Danieal Manning. Jonathan Joseph scooped up the ball and returned it 60 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, a penalty was called against Houston for blocking in the back on the return, wiping it out and ending the half.
Houston dominated the Steelers in the first half.
The Texans scored the only points of the second quarter on another long drive. This time, however, the Steelers' defense at least kept them out of the end zone.
Houston moved 60 yards on 12 plays before settling for a 25-yard field goal by Neil Rackers.
The Texans, who won the coin toss to start the game, took the ball and rammed it down the throats of the Steelers' defense for 95 yards and a touchdown for a quick 7-0 lead. It took them 19 plays and covered 10 minutes 55 seconds before Matt Schaub threw a 1-yard pass to tight end Joel Dreessen, wide open in the end zone after a play-action fake on first down.
That used to be the way the Steelers would open games on offense, with drives like that. It certainly wasn't the kind of defense they've been playing in recent years -- until this one. Houston, which has the No. 5 rushing team in the NFL, piled up 63 yards on 12 carries in that opening drive. They also overcame two holding penalties that cost them 20 yards -- in essense, they moved the ball 115 yards on that drive.
The Steelers' first drive was almost as disastrous as their first defensive series. On third down, Roethlisberger completed a 22-yard pass to Mike Wallace, but then Wallace was penalized 15 yards for taunting after the play.
The Steelers did make it slightly across midfield, but Roethlisberger was sacked twice and slammed to the ground after an incompletion, all by Connor Barwin. One sack was erased by a penalty, but the end result was a punt from their 48.
First Published October 2, 2011 1:42 pm