Steelers Vs. Texans: Pittsburgh Loses To Houston, 17-10

The Steelers struggled in Houston, where the Texans held on to win 17-10 and even the Steelers' record at 2-2. Both Rashard Mendenhall and James Harrison were injured.

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James Harrison Annoyed At Steelers' Poor Performance Against Texans

The Steelers' James Harrison has never been known for pulling punches - verbally, that is, off the field - and he has some choice words to describe his teammates' play against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

"Every man needs to do his job, take care of his responsibilities," Harrison fumed after the Houston Texans gouged his defense Sunday. "It's not the scheme, it's not other BS; it's each man doing his job, and, right now, every man is not doing his job, period."

How's that?

"People are getting beat. You have to come out there and work the man who's in front of you, and we're not doing that right now."

Harrison didn't say who he was talking about, but it's easy to understand his frustration. He also pointed out that he hadn't "seen it like this," except maybe in a random game or two in the preseason. The Steelers were thoroughly beaten, particularly in the first half. This isn't the brand of Steelers football we're used to seeing, and it's not surprising to see Harrison express his dissatisfaction. In fact, it might be a good thing. Let it out, James.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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Mewelde Moore Also Injured During Steelers' Week 4 Loss To Texans

What an odd day it was on Sunday for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Anybody watching the six-time Super Bowl champions play the Houston Texans could plainly see that Pittsburgh was being outplayed by Houston. Less apparent to the naked eye, however, were the rash of injuries sustained by the Steelers during the 17-10 defeat.

Ben Roethlisberger, who suffered a sprained left foot, was visibly in pain. But he did not miss a snap during the game. Aaron Smith also sprained a foot during the loss, though it was not apparent that he was in pain or had injured anything until news broke of the injury after the contest. Then there was Rashard Mendenhal’s hamstring injury which came on a three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Unlike Andre Johnson, who collapsed to the ground in pain with a hamstring injury of his own, Mendenhall was not noticeably hurt on the play. He would not return though following the touchdown.

As if that was not enough, throw in reserve running back Mewelde Moore, who also was in a boot on Monday. Again, it wasn’t clear when Moore injured the foot. Thankfully Mendenhall’s injury is not believed to be serious, so even if the cagey Moore were to miss any sort of significant time, the Steelers look like they’d still have Mendenhall and Isaac Redman at their disposal in the running game.

For more Steelers coverage and fan discussion, head on over to Behind the Steel Curtain.

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Steelers Vs. Texans: Rashard Mendenhall, James Harrison, Aaron Smith Among Injured

The Pittsburgh Steelers continue to face adversity early on in the 2011 NFL season, and it’s not just coming in the form of losses. On Sunday during their 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans, the Steelers saw three key players suffer injuries.

The most noteworthy, of course, is the left foot sprain suffered by Ben Roethlisberger. As he always does, Big Ben valiantly played through the pain for all 60 minutes, but in the locker room following the loss, Roethlisberger was in a protective walking boot and limping visibly. Tests showed that Roethlisberger fortunately did not break any bones in his left foot, but the sprain will be painful to play through were Roethlisberger to suit up for the Steelers’ Week 5 home matchup against the Tennessee Titans. For the time being, Roethlisberger’s status for next Sunday remains unclear.

Staying on offense, Rashard Mendenhall left the game in the third quarter after apparently injuring his hamstring on a three-yard touchdown run, the lone scoring play for Pittsburgh all afternoon. It didn’t appear as if Mendenhall had hurt himself on the play, but he did not return following the score. I, and others, wondered if Mike Tomlin had simply decided to turn to Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore for a spark in the running game, but apparently that was not the case.

On the other side of the ball, veteran defensive end Aaron Smith suffered the same fate as Big Ben — a sprained foot. He too was in a walking boot following the game. Because of how much Smith has struggled in the first four games of the season, one has to wonder what his future holds for the remainder of the season if he looks like he’ll need any sort of significant recovery time before being able to play again. Hopefully Smith is able to return and make one final push towards helping the Steelers’ defense contend before wrapping up his illustrious career in Pittsburgh.

Finally, star linebacker James Harrison did not sustain a concussion as was feared. Instead, the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year took a finger to his eye during a violent collision between a Texan and multiple Steelers defenders.

“He had a little double vision,” Tomlin said. “Once that cleared, he was able to come back into the game.”

Thankfully it appears as if Harrison will be cleared to play in the Steelers’ important AFC clash with the 3-1 Tennessee Titans.

We’ll know more about these injuries early on this week, so stay tuned here and at Behind the Steel Curtain for updates and reaction as the Steelers move on from their Week 4 loss to the Texans.

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Steelers Vs. Texans: LaMarr Woodley Not Earning Contract

Before the season LaMarr Woodley signed a six-year $61.5 million contract extension that made him the highest paid defensive player in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. He was coming off three straight seasons of double-digit sacks and figured to be a cornerstone of the defense for years to come.

But he hasn't played up to his previous level at all this season, let alone the new contract that he signed before the Season. He has just 1.5 sacks so far, and worse than that, he isn't making very much of an impact in other areas of the game. It's hard to point fingers at just one guy after the Steelers Week 4 loss to the Texans, but Woodley is certainly one of the players that didn't play up to his level.

Our Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain knows that is way too early to evaluate that contract that Woodley signed, but they also know that they need to get better production out of him if the defense is to be successful.

Still, is it just me, or does it not sit quite right that a fairly one-dimensional player was made the highest paid defensive player in team history? Woodley, to his immense credit, has great hands and sound instincts in the passing game. You can't say that about too many dudes his size. That said, he's not fast enough to where those traits come into play all that often in the high-speed National Football League.

Having said all that, the NFL season is very long and Woodley still has 12 regular season games to pick up the slack. But now that he is the highest paid player on the entire unit, he is going to be under some much harsher criticism than he might be used to.

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Steelers Vs. Texans: Reactions To The Steelers' 17-10 Loss

The Pittsburgh Steelers went to Houston yesterday and basically got their rear ends handed to them by a Texans team that outplayed them on both sides of the ball. When the dust settled the Steelers had a 17-10 loss (that wasn't even representative of how badly they were outplayed), an injury to Ben Roethlisberger, and more questions about the composition of their team than ever before. Maybe James Harrison said it best, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"We played like garbage. Period," linebacker James Harrison said. "We stink."

That may be oversimplification, but I don't think anyone was impressed with what they saw out of the Steelers on Sunday. The offensive line allowed the Texans to get to Big Ben early and often, and the defense had a hard time getting off the field against Arian Foster and the Texans' rush offense. Mike Tomlin seems confident that their issues can be solved with some hard work.

"We've got some work to do," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "It's not anything mystical. We will remain together."

Our Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain seems a little less optimistic about their performance. While the offensive line is going to get a lot of the headlines with the injury to Roethlisberger, they are also concerned with that the rush defense (one of the hallmarks of this team throughout the years) also struggled.
The rush defense? Not so much. And I know I'm not alone in feeling concerned about the front seven's inability to stuff the run like we're so accustomed to seeing. Arian Foster had a big day, finishing with 155 yards on 30 attempts. The Steelers did tighten the screws during the third quarter, but after tying the game at 10-10, Foster ripped off a 42-yard TD run that proved the be the game winner.
The Steelers will have a chance to turn it around against the suddenly-respectable Titans next week.
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2011 NFL Standings: Ravens On Top In AFC North

Here's a look at the AFC North standings following Week 4 action for the division's four teams. The Steelers lost after an awful first half against the Texans, and the Browns suffered a 31-13 defeat at the hands of the Titans. The Bengals, however, squeaked out a 23-20 win against the Bills, and the Ravens' defense scored three touchdowns in a 34-17 defeat of the Jets. That puts Baltimore on top of the division.

Baltimore 3-1
Cincinnati 2-2
Cleveland 2-2
Pittsburgh 2-2

The Ravens have been easily the best team in the division so far, scoring twice as many points as their opponents (and that includes a 35-7 blowout of the Steelers in Week 1). 

Elsewhere in the NFL, the only two remaining undefeated teams are the Lions and the Packers, who are tied atop the AFC North. The Vikings, Rams, Dolphins and Colts remain winless.

You can view the full NFL standings here.

SB Nation has a blog for every team.

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Steelers Vs. Texans: O Rush Defense, Where Art Thou?

That Baltimore Ravens tailback Ray Rice averaged 5.6 yards per carry against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 wasn't a huge surprise. Neither was the Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch managing 1.8 in Week 2. However, when Colts rusher Joseph Addai (4.1 career ypc) recorded 5.1 yards on 17 carries and nearly pulled off an upset for Indianapolis in Week 3, I was officially concerned. Could this be the year that the Steelers' historically dominant rush defense regresses to the mean?

Sunday's 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans did nothing to assuage my fears. Halfbacks Arian Foster and Ben Tate enjoyed huge running lanes, racking up 175 yards on the ground between the two of them. During Houston's first drive alone, the Texans ran it 12 times for 62 yards. I'm just not used to seeing teams exert their will on Pittsburgh's front seven like that.

Tate and especially Foster are talented ball carriers, particularly in Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking, one-cut rushing scheme, but most of the credit has to go to Houston's offensive line, which might just be the best in the league. This wasn't a case of Foster making supremely electric plays or juking anyone out of their cleats—this was about five men winning their individual matchups and creating gaping holes in the Steelers' defensive front. That's what's so scary.

Schematically, I'm not sure what might be causing this sudden inability to stop opposing ball carriers. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau isn't doing anything especially different than the past decade, when the Steelers have been impossible to run on. I will say this, though: they really weren't tackling well on Sunday. Pittsburgh basically played flag football against Foster; they could get a hand on him, but they couldn't wrap him up and bring him down. Rarely did the first defender to get there make the play.

If the Steelers want to improve in this area - how about starting next week against the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson? - the first thing they need to do is improve on this fundamental skill. Of course, we're talking about veteran guys who can read plays and take the right angles in pursuit. Now, they just need execute and bring rushers down when they get there.

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Week 4 NFL Results: Steelers, Browns, Bengals All 2-2 In AFC North

The Steelers loss in Houston dropped their record to .500, joining fellow AFC North rivals Cleveland and Cincinnati, who were both in action this afternoon.

The Browns were blown out at home by the Tennessee Titans, 31-13. Matt Hasselbeck lit up the Browns secondary in the first half, throwing three touchdown passes before the Titans went to the ground game to spin the clock in the 2nd half. A 97 yard interception return by Jordan Babineaux on a Colt McCoy pass as the Browns were going in extended the lead to 31-6 and ended the game before the fourth quarter had even started.

In Cincinnati, Mike Nugent hit a 43 yard field goal as time expired to give the Bengals a 23-20 win over the previously undefeated Bills. Andy Dalton threw for 300 yards while Cedric Benson added a 100 yard rushing day. The Bengals also join the Browns and Steelers at 2-2, with all three teams showing significant flaws in the first quarter of the 2011 season.

The Ravens host the Jets tonight on Sunday night football, looking to improve their record to 3-1 and take the division lead.

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Steelers vs. Texans: Pittsburgh Has NFL's Worst Offensive Line

And it might not even be close!

It brings me no joy to point out the ineptitude of the Steelers' offensive front. And it provides little comfort to remind myself that a rash of injuries has forced the unit to play musical chairs with its starting lineup, including throwing a rookie right tackle into the fire (Marcus Gilbert).

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has nine turnovers in four games after Sunday's 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans, has played pretty poorly, but it misses the point to lay too much blame on the guy. Sure, he holds onto the ball too long and lets the play clock run down on nearly every third and long, giving opposing pass rushers a jump on the snap count ... but more often than not, Roethlisberger simply doesn't have a chance to do anything before defenders have sliced through Pittsburgh's swiss cheese pocket and are hitting him right in the mouth.

Houston's revamped defensive front under new coordinator Wade Phillips sacked Roethlisberger five times on Sunday and knocked him to the ground on too many other dropbacks to count. (Former defensive end Mario Williams has adjusted to the 3-4 and is still a beast at outside linebacker.) Although Pittsburgh surprisingly averaged 5.4 yards per carry on Sunday—thanks to strong efforts by halfbacks Mewelde Moore and Isaac Redman—it's difficult to imagine them maintaining a consistent ground attack, given what we've seen so far.

In short, this is not a fun offense to watch if you're a Steelers fan, and it's mostly the line's fault. (In my fantasy football leagues, I may just start streaming whichever defense is playing Pittsburgh!)

Perhaps it's time to revamp this offense? Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has preferred a two-tight end base offense, but given the team's crazy depth at wide receiver, maybe the best way to protect Roethlisberger is to line up with...

  • 3 WRs, 1 TE & 1 RB,
  • 3 WRs & 2 RBs,
  • 4 WRs & 1 RB,
  • 4 WRs & 1 TE, or
  • 5 WRs
  • ...and rely primarily on quick timing routes and screen passes. Maybe this would even create more holes for Rashard Mendenhall (3.0 ypc), who seems to bounce it outside on every play due to a complete lack of interior rushing lanes. 

    I'm just spitballing, of course, and I'm no NFL coach—but I think you've got to play to your strengths and try to minimize your liabilities. So far, Pittsburgh has shown an inability to protect Roethlisberger for more than two seconds or so, so why not feature the wideouts more, spread the defense out, and make them pay on blitz packages?

    After getting dismantled up front by the Texans, we'll have to see what adjustments Pittsburgh makes in Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans: Pittsburgh Falls In Houston, 17-10

    The Steelers fell to 2-2 on the season after a road loss in Houston, where the Texans held on to win 17-10. Matt Schaub was relatively quiet, throwing for only 138 yards as Houston was powered by Arian Foster, who carried the ball a whopping 30 times for 155 yards.

    Ben Roethlisberger was 16 for 30 for 206 yards. On their final drive, Big Ben took a nasty hit below the waist, a direct shot to his knee by JJ Watt. Whether inadvertent or not, this was the second such hit he’s taken this season. Watt was flagged on the play, negating a Jonathan Joseph interception return for a touchdown. Ben was shaken up but stayed in the game to finish out the final drive.

    The Steelers would move the ball out to the 40 but their hopes for a two minute drill victory would end there, when Roethlisberger was intercepted on a deep hail mary-esque heave towards the end zone with 19 seconds left.

    Schaub would kneel to end the game and seal the Texans victory.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans: Texans Lead 17-10 in Fourth Quarter, Rashard Mendenhall Injured

    A 26-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham pulled the Steelers even with the Houston Texans to start the fourth quarter of their Week 4 matchup. The field goal capped a nine-play, 55-yard drive that stalled on the Texans' yard line.

    The drive was dominated by running back Isaac Redman who carried the ball five times for 32 yards. The Steelers moved the ball deep into Texans territory doing all their work on the ground. Redman was filling in for an injured Rashard Mendenhall, who left the game with a hamstring injury. His return is questionable.

    The Texans quickly answered the field goal to once again take a seven point lead, 17-10. The quick response was the product of a 30 yard completion from Matt Schaub to Owen Daniels down the left side of the field. Daniels was caught from behind, but on the very next play, Arian Foster took it in from 42 yards out for the go-ahead touchdown.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans: Steelers Show Signs Of Life In Third Quarter, Now Behind 10-7

    Well, how about that. After a first half in which they got thoroughly owned, the Steelers got the ball back to start the second half and immediately marched down the field for a score. The drive was led by Ben Roethlisberger, who had a 19-yard pass to Hines Ward and a 23-yard pass to Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger then had an eight-yard run on a crucial third-and-six at the Texans’ 11-yard-line. Rashard Mendenhall scored on a three-yard run.

    And so the Steelers are back in it, 10-7. Amazingly, they still have a shot at a win after a terrible first half. They’ll need to stop Arian Foster and the Texans’ ground game if they’re going to have a chance. Let’s see if their defense can respond the way their offense has. They just stuffed the Texans on their first possession of the half, so that’s a good sign. The Steelers now have the ball at their own 37-yard-line with five minutes left to play in the third quarter.

    To follow the game with fellow Steelers fans, be sure to check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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    NFL Scores: Eagles, Cowboys Up Big At Halftime; Browns, Bengals Down

    The Steelers are in bad shape against the Texans and are down 10-0. Here’s how things are going in the rest of the NFL, as most of the afternoon games approach halftime.

    The one saving grace, from the Steelers’ perspective, is that the Bengals and Browns are both getting beaten as well – the Bengals are down 17-3 against the Bills, and the Browns are getting beaten 21-6.

    Meanwhile, the Bears are up 24-20 on the Panthers – Steve Smith has 132 yards receiving for Carolina. The Cowboys are up 20-3 on the undefeated Lions, with Tony Romo picking up 195 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs are up 9-7 on the Vikings, the Redskins are beating the Rams 14-0, the Eagles are up 20-3 on the 49ers (Michael Vick has 214 yards and two touchdowns), and the Saints are up 14-10 on the Jaguars.

    SB Nation has a blog for every team.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans Score: Texans Lead 10-0 At Halftime After Blocking Field Goal Attempt

    Oh, wow. A bad day for the Steelers just got worse as the Texans blocked a field-goal attempt by Shaun Suisham heading into halftime.

    The Steelers finally mounted their first real drive of the afternoon with halftime approaching, and ended up having to settle for a field goal attempt. After the Texans blocked it, Jonathan Joseph recovered and scampered into the end zone for what would have been a seriously deflating touchdown. Fortunately for the Steelers, it got called back on a silly illegal block by Danieal Manning, and time expired.

    Still, the Steelers are in bad shape. They’re not playing well at all, and they head into halftime with a 10-point deficit. They haven’t been able to stop the Texans offense at all, and they also have barely even tried to establish the running game. They’re going to have to do a lot better in the second half if they’re going to have a chance in this one.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans Score: Houston Dominating; James Harrison And Andre Johnson Injured

    Among injuries to Houston’s Andre Johnson (who hurt himself while running and appears to have some sort of knee injury) and Pittsburgh’s James Harrison (a head or eye injury) on consecutive plays, the Texans continued their domination of the Steelers in the second quarter and are now up 10-0.

    The Texans just marched downfield for a 12-play, 60-yard drive and capped it with a field goal, and the Steelers really didn’t do much to stop them until the Texans got to the six-yard line, at which point Matt Schaub finally threw a couple incomplete passes. Schaub has been efficient so far, going 10-for-15 with 96 yards, while the Steelers haven’t done much of anything, either with the run or with the pass. Arian Foster already has 94 yards on the ground, whereas Rashard Mendenhall has just four carries for 14 yards. In other words, this has been a poor game so far for the Steelers.

    For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans: Houston Leads 7-0 After Impressive Opening Drive

    Matt Schaub and Arian Foster led the Texans down the field on an impressive opening drive. The Texans' offensive line controlled the game on an 11-minute drive, resulting in an Owen Daniels touchdown.

    Arian Foster carried the ball nine times for 41 yards while Schaub went five for seven for 52 yards. It was a dominating 19-play, 95 yard drive that had to be disconcerting for Mike Tomlin. Andre Johnson did not even touch the ball on what was the longest drive in Texans franchise history.

    Because of penalties, the drive actually covered a total of 115 yards, as Dan Dierdorf noted on the CBS broadcast. In addition to the TD catch, the big play of the drive was an 18-yard pass to Owen Daniels. Backup running back Ben Tate chipped in with a big 20-yard run to get the Texans to midfield.

    The Steelers get the ball for the first time 11 minutes into the game, looking to respond.

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    Week 4 NFL Injury Report: Steelers Vs. Texans

    Here is the list of Steelers inactives for Sunday afternoon's matchup against the Houston Texans.

    QB Dennis Dixon, RB Jon Dwyer, G Doug Legursky, DE Brett Keisel, LT Jon Scott, CB Bryant McFadden, LB Chris Carter

    Nothing too surprising there. Legursky, Scott and Keisel were ruled out earlier in the week, Carter, who has hamstring trouble, was listed as questionable. McFadden has a hamstring injury as well. Dixon and Dwyer have been regulars on the inactives list.

    Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery is not listed on the inactives list, so it looks like he'll play his first regular-season game for the Steelers on Sunday. (It'll be interesting to see how much he plays, since the Steelers have four healthy, productive receivers in front of him. A fifth receiver, Arnaz Battle, has had knee issues recently, however.) Offensive lineman Jamon Meredith, who the Steelers are calling on after a number of injuries to their offensive line, will dress as well.

    To follow the Steelers game with fellow fans, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. For the Texans, there's Battle Red Blog.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans: Facts And Figures For Pittsbugh And Houston In Anticipation Of Week 4 Sunday Showdown

    Once the final whistle is blown on Sunday in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans' Week 4 matchup at Reliant Energy Stadium in Houston, one team will be 3-1 and feeling pretty good about having just defeated a worthy opponent. The other will be 2-2 at the quarter pole of the 2011 season and left with answers about how good they really are. The last time the two teams met was Week 1 of the 2008 season. Houston's roster looks much different today than it did then, whereas Pittsburgh has quite a few holdovers from their championship season in '08. Consequently, it's hard to draw too much from the Steelers 38-7 thumping of the Texans over three years ago. Hopefully though the result will be similarly positive for Pittsburgh come Sunday late afternoon.

    While we wait to see if the Steelers can clean up some of the mistakes that plagued them during their sloppy Week 3 win over Indianapolis, here are a few facts and figures for both squads heading into Week 4.

    STEELERS:  

    • Club has won eight of past 10 on road ...
    • In 2 career games vs. Houston, QB Ben Roethlisberger is 2-0 and has completed 27 of 35 passes (77.1 pct.) for 391 yards with four touchdowns vs. no touchdowns and a 151.0 passer rating. Roethlisberger (147) needs three touchdown passes to join HOFer Terry Bradshaw (212) as second quarterback in Steelers history with 150 touchdowns ...
    • RB Rashard Mendenhall has six rush touchdowns in past seven game s...
    • WR Hines Ward had two touchdowns in each of past two games vs. Texans. Ward (11,819) needs 16 receiving yards to surpass HOFer Don Maynard (11,834) for 20th in NFL history.
    • Dating back to December 19, 2010, WR Mike Wallace aims for seventh consecutive game with 100+ rec. yards (102, 104, 105, 107, 126, 144). Had 81-yard TD reception last week ...
    • TE Heath Miller (295) needs five catches to become first Pittsburgh TE with 300 career receptions ...
    • .LB James Harrison had three sacks in last game vs. Houston. Aims for third straight game with sack ...
    • .LB LaMarr Woodley had sack, INT & FR in only meeting vs. Texans ...
    • S Troy Polamalu had career-best 3 sacks at Houston on 9/18/05 ... 

    TEXANS

    • In past 7 Oct. games, QB Matt Schaub has 13 TDs vs. 4 INTs & 100.2 passer rating. Aims for 3rd consecutive game with 100+ passer rating (118.5, 103.9)...
    • RB Arian Foster (1,906) needs 94 rush yards to reach 2,000 career. 
    • RB Ben Tate is averaging 100.3 rush yards per game in '11 (301 total). 
    • FB James Casey had career-high 126 receiving yards (25.2 avg.) with 5 rec. & TD vs. Saints...
    • WR Andre Johnson (694) needs 6 receptions to reach 700 career. Johnson had 10 catches for 112 yards (11.2 avg.) in last game vs. Pit. Aims for 4th consecutive game with 7 catches. Posted 1st 100-yard receiving game of season (128) & 38th of career last week...
    • TE Owen Daniels seeks TD catch in 3rd straight game...
    • DE Mario Williams had 2 sacks in last game vs. Steelers. 
    • DE Antonio Smith aims for 4th consecutive game with sack.
    • Rookie DE J.J. Watt (1st round, No. 11) registered 1st career sack last week...
    • CB Jonathan Joseph seeks 3rd consecutive game with INT. Had 30-yard INT-TD return on 9/27/09 w/ Cin.
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    Steelers Vs. Texans Injuries: Doug Legursky, Jonathan Scott, Brett Keisel Out

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have ruled out offensive linemen Doug Legursky and Jonathan Scott for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. Both players incurred the injuries in the Steelers' close victory over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday. According to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers plan to start Ramon Foster in Legursky's place, with Trai Essex replacing Scott.

    Additionally, defensive end Brent Keisel will sit out for the second consecutive week, having not sufficiently recovered from the knee injury sustained against the Seattle Seahawks in Pittsburgh's second game of the season.

    Also on the injury front: the Steelers list linebacker Chris Carter as questionable. The outlook is more optimistic for defensive tackle Steve McLendon and the receiving duo of Mike Wallace and Arnaz Battle; the team listed those three players as probable for Sunday. Wallace ranks third in the NFL in receptions (21) and second in receiving yards (377). He leads Pittsburgh with two touchdown catches. Clearly, the Steelers would miss him were he unable to play.

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    Steelers' James Farrior Fined For Kerry Collins Hit

    When Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Farrior takes the field against the Houston Texans on Sunday, he'll do so with a wallet that's $15,000 lighter. Citing Farrior's agent, Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times reports the NFL fined Farrior that amount for a hard hit on Indianapolis Colts quarterback Kerry Collins last Sunday. Following the play, Collins left the game with a concussion.

    Interestingly, the referees did not flag Farrior on the play. But with the NFL paying closer attention to late hits than ever before, even plays deemed legal in the context of an individual game are subject to review from the league office after the fact.

    As Dave Bryan of Steelers Depot points out, Farrior joins Antonio Brown, Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, and Doug Legursky as Steelers whom the NFL has fined thus far this season.

    Farrior, now in his 10th season as a Steeler, ranks fourth on the team with nine tackles.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans: Trevis Turner, Jamon Meredith Could Dress As Offensive Line Struggles With Injuries

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. On the surface, the 2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers may not seem desperate, but look a bit closer and you'll see plenty of reasons for concern. The latest example? Practice-squad offensive tackle Trevis Turner, who's never played in a regular-season game at the NFL level, "went through 'live' hitting in practice," reports Mark Kaboly, which would be "unusual unless [the Steelers] plan to activate him."

    Pittsburgh's offensive line has struggled so far this season, and injuries to key players - Jonathan Scott and Doug Legursky are both expected to be out for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans - won't fix things. Scott Brown believes coach Mike Tomlin ought to activate eight offensive linemen against Houston, as going with only seven would be "too risky." The recently-acquired Jamon Meredith is a good bet to dress as well.

    The Steelers have averaged just 3.3 yards per carry this season, which places them in a four-way tie for No. 23 in the league. Additionally, opponents have sacked Ben Roethlisberger nine times, eighth in the league.

    For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans: NFL Week 4 Game Notes

    The Pittsburgh Steelers face another tough road test in Week 4 when they travel to Houston to take on the 2-1 Texans. The two AFC squads have limited history playing against one another, having met just three times previously, the last time being in Week 1 of the 2008 season. The Texans present some tough matchups for this particular Steelers squad - namely, their dangerous passing attack, and their new, attacking 3-4 defense coordinated by first-year coach Wade Phillips. The Texans are averaging 262.7 yards per game through the air (12th); defensively, their seven sacks put them just in the middle of the pack league-wide, but don't let that fool you into thinking that Phillips won't be dialing up a number of blitz packages to try to confuse the young and makeshift Steelers offensive line.

    We'll have more analysis about the matchup shortly, but let's take a quick look at the two teams' series history, as well as the broadcast information and up-to-date stats for both squads.

    SERIES

     

    STEELERS

    TEXANS

    SERIES LEADER

    2-1

    STREAKS

    Past 2

    COACHES VS. OPP.

    Tomlin: 1-0

    Kubiak: 0-1

    LAST WEEK

    W 23-20 at Colts

    L 40-33 at Saints

    LAST GAME

    9/7/08: Texans 17 at Steelers 38. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger completes 13 of 14 passes (92.9 pct.) for 137 yards & 2 TDs. Steelers RB Willie Parker adds 138 rush yards & 3 TDs.

    LAST GAME AT SITE

    9/18/05: Steelers 27, Texans 7. Roethlisberger throws for 254 yards with 2 TDs. Pittsburgh defense registers 8 sacks, including 3 by S Troy Polamalu.

    BROADCAST

    CBS (12:00 PM CT): Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf. SIRIUS: 86 (Pit.), 128 (Hou.). XM: 228 (Hou.).

     

    STATS

    PASSING

    Roethlisberger: 69-108-942 (3C)-3-4-85.5

    Schaub: 60-92-823-6-3-101.9

    RUSHING

    Mendenhall: 49-148-3.0-1

    Tate: 66-301-4.6-1

    RECEIVING

    Wallace: 21 (T3L)-377 (2L)-18.0-2

    A. Johnson: 21 (T3L)-316 (3C)-15.0-2

    OFFENSE

    380.3

    400.7

    TAKE/GIVE

    -9

    +2

    DEFENSE

    263.3 (2L)

    332.0

    SACKS

    Harrison: 2

    A. Smith: 3 (T2C)

    INTs

    ---

    Joseph: 2 (T3L)

    PUNTING

    Sepulveda: 49.8

    Hartmann (R): 45.0

    KICKING

    Suisham: 18 (6/6 PAT; 4/6 FG)

    Rackers: 36 (1L) (9/9 PAT; 9/9 FG)

    Continue

    Steelers Vs. Texans: William Gay To Start, Bryant McFadden Out

    When the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon, they'll do so without cornerback Bryant McFadden, who could sit out due to a hamstring injury suffered in training camp. According to Mark Kaboly, William Gay is set to start in McFadden's place, which in turn means Keenan Lewis will replace Gay when the Steelers shift to nickelback sets.

    But there's an odd wrinkle to this story that Dave Bryan of Steelers Depot points out:

    According to the latest injury reports, McFadden practiced fully all last week and never showed up on any of the injury reports leading up to the Sunday night game against the Colts.

    Bryan believes the circumstances here point to McFadden losing his job to Gay completely.

    In McFadden's place against the Colts, Gay recorded five tackles--all solo--the third-best mark on the team. He has made nine tackles so far this season.

    For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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    Week 4 NFL Picks: Steelers Vs. Texans

    The match up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans on Sunday in Houston looks like a close match up, as the Texans are favored by only four points. The Steelers are coming off a close win on Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts while the Texans are coming off a wrenching late collapse against the New Orleans Saints.

    Tim Sieck of SBNation Chicago likes the Texans to win by four.

    This has the potential to be a very entertaining game. I like the Texans at home in a close one against the Steelers.

    Peter Schrager of Fox Sports likes the Texans to cover, 31-26.

    The way the Colts defensive line abused the Pittsburgh front five on Sunday night, I wouldn't be shocked if Steelers GM Kevin Colbert felt the urge to break out his old Rolodex and start calling up guys like Tunch Ilkin, Dermontti Dawson and John Jackson to see if they'd be interested in "you know, coming in for a workout, and giving it the ol' college try" this week.

    Schrager has a point with the state of the Steelers offensive line, especially with two starters missing practice time this week.

    At Yahoo! Sports, Jason Cole picks the Steelers while Les Carpenter and Yahoo! users pick the Texans.

    Continue

    Week 4 NFL Odds: Steelers Vs. Texans

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a 23-20 win against the Indianapolis Colts that was a much closer ball game than it should have been. Heading into the game against the Houston Texans, the Steelers find themselves opening up as three-point underdogs.

    According to OddShark.com, the line has moved from Pittsburgh +3 to Pittsburgh +4 at some places. Clearly, oddsmakers are concerned with the mounting injuries on the Steelers' offensive line and their increasingly-lackluster rushing offense. The over/under for the game opened up at 45 1/2 and has dropped to 45 on most boards. Looks like Vegas is expecting a low-scoring game.

    The Texans are coming off a tough loss, but the betting public clearly thinks the home team will cover the typical home field advantage of -3, pushing the Texans to a four-point favorite. The Steelers are 1-2 against the spread this year, the Texans 2-1.

    For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

    Continue

    Steelers Vs. Texans Injury Report: Mike Wallace Limited

    Steelers receiver Mike Wallace (ribs) limited participant in practice but said he will play Sunday in Houston against the Texans and will not wear a flak jacket.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans: Mike Tomlin Says Steelers Will Not Make Big Offensive Line Upgrades

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-1 in this young season, but they haven't played nearly as well over those three games as they could have; particularly along the offensive line. According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mike Tomlin intends to stick with what the team has, and will not make any significant changes along the offensive line.

    "Make no mistake, we intend to prepare with the men that we have here," Tomlin said Tuesday. "Those will be the guys that will help us win this football game. Anyone we add will be simply for the purposes of practice or numbers."

    That means the Steelers will have to organically improve a unit that's suffered a number of injuries so far this season. If they figure to improve on offense, both on the ground and through the air, they'll need to drastically improve this unit.

    Well have more on this game throughout the week. But for more on the Steelers, check out Behind the Steel Curtain. For more on the Texans, head over to SB Nation Houston and Battle Red Blog.

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    Steelers Vs. Texans: Injuries To Offensive Line Remain A Problem

    Three Steelers offensive linemen sustained injuries during the Week 3 win over Indianapolis. Can Pittsburgh possibly overcome an avalanche of OL injuries like they did in 2010? We'll get our first answer Sunday against the Houston Texans.

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