The Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans both entered last night’s Monday Night Football showdown at 3-3 and with a chance to push their 2014 season’s in completely opposite directions. Historically, a team that moves to 4-3 has a solid chance of making a playoff run, while a team dropping to 3-4 through the first seven games has less than a 15% chance of making the playoffs.

The Steelers ended up on the better side for now, as they survived a slow start and took this one, 30-23 at home.

While the odds of either team actually making a legit run at a playoff spot is still very much up in the air, there’s still a good amount to take away from last night’s game. Let’s break down the key takeaways:

J.J. Watt can’t do it alone

Watt was borderline sensational at times in this one, as he picked up a sack and three tackles. He pressured Ben Roethlisberger on several other plays, though, and seemed relentless in pursuit of the run all night, as well. He got very little support from his line-backing corps, however, and Houston’s secondary also let the defense down numerous times. Watt continues to be one of the more dominant defensive enforces in the game, but it’s clear he’s mostly by himself on a weekly basis.

Momentum change

The Texans were dominating this game 13-0 and the Steelers were doing very little offensively. Pittsburgh did cut the lead to 13-10 with two decent drives, but it wasn’t until two Houston turnovers with just over a minute to go in the first half that things really got out of control. Arian Foster fumbled inside his own 20-yard line and the Steelers took advantage with a score, while Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed a pick inside his own 20 that led to another Steelers touchdown just 40 seconds later.

In all, the Steelers scored three touchdowns over the final 1:27 that for the most part wrapped up this game. The two teams combined for just 16 second half points in what was largely a defensive battle.

Sea of turnovers

Houston committed turnovers seemingly as the worst time; two of which contributed to the aforementioned swing right before the half. In addition to the fumble and interception right before the break, DeAndre Hopkins added another lost fumble with just under five minutes to go. It was at the end of a 30+ yard play that got a Texans drive rolling. Had he held onto the ball, Houston could have potentially closed the gap from 27-16 to 27-23. Pittsburgh was held to a field goal on their final drive following the fumble, so if everything worked out, Houston could have been driving to ties the game at 30, all, had Hopkins not fumbled.

Hopkins did fumble, though, and it was the capping of a once promising night gone sour for the Texans. Now Houston marches forward with a must-win week eight battle if they want a chance at defeating the odds and getting to the playoffs.

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *