PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger threw for a pair of touchdown passes and James Conner secured the victory as the Steelers defeated the Houston Texans, 28-21 to improve to 3-0 on the season on Sunday at Hienz Field.
Conner scored from 10 yards out to give the Steelers the lead for good late in the fourth quarter to cap an impressive day rushing for the team. Conner finished with 109 yards on 18 carries along with the score, while rookie understudy Anthony McFarland had 42 yards on six rushes.
Roethlisberger helped the team find the end zone twice in the second quarter, hitting Eric Ebron in the back of the end zone from 10 yards out and then JuJu Smith-Schuster broke loose from 26 yards as the Steelers came back from an early two-score deficit.
The Texans scored twice in the first quarter, as the Steelers defense struggled to contain the Houston passing game. DeShaun Watson hit Randall Cobb from 28 yards out to give Houston a 7-3 lead after an early Chris Boswell field goal. David Johnson then scored untouched from two yards out to give Houston a 14-3 advantage.
After Roethlisberger led the Steelers back to the lead, Watson drove the Texans down the field in just 50 seconds with a touchdown pass to Will Fuller just before the half put Houston ahead once again.
Another Boswell field goal narrowed the gap to one point in the third quarter, before the Steelers went on an epic drive that ended with Conner’s touchdown.
Taking over at their own 21, the Steelers marched 12 plays for 79 over 7:03, twice converting on third down, before Conner found pay dirt. Roethlisberger hit Smith-Schuster on a slant to give the Steelers a two-point conversion and a seven-point margin of victory.
The Steelers are 3-0 for the first time since 2010, which is also the last time they went to the Super Bowl. Next Sunday, they will visit the Tennessee Titans.
Alex Highsmith Needs MRI after Ankle Injury Suffered vs. Browns
PITTSBURGH — Steelers rookie linebacker Alex Highsmith suffered an ankle injury that will require an MRI in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Highsmith left the game in the first half and was seen limping on the Pittsburgh sideline. He made an attempt to return to the game, but was unable to continue playing and did not see the field at all in the second half.
In-game, the Steelers announced that Highsmith was doubtful to return with an ankle injury. After the fact, head coach Mike Tomlin said that Highsmith suffered a high ankle sprain. Highsmith’s father posted on Twitter early on Monday morning that Highsmith will require an MRI on his injured ankle.
Not the way we wanted the season to end but I am thankful to have been a part of this amazing ride! The Highsmith Family is proud to wear the Black & Gold and we look forward to more success in the future! Please pray for Alex as he gets an MRI tomorrow on his ankle! #HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/JJA4PpZpvx
— Sam Highsmith (@SHighsmithClan) January 11, 2021
Given that Highsmith was able to walk and even run in short bursts after the injury, it does not seem likely that it will impact his offseason training plans.
The team’s third-round draft pick out of Charlotte, Highsmith was thrust into a starting role after starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree suffered an ACL injury that required surgery.
On the season, Highsmith played in 16 regular season game and made five starts. He finished with 48 tackles, five for a loss, six quarterback hits, one interception and one pass defended.
With Dupree set to become an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to return, Highsmith should be expected to retain his starting role in 2021.
Mike Tomlin Doesn’t Regret Punt, Will Talk to Ben Roethlisberger About Future
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answers questions from the media following his team’s shocking defeat at the hands of the Browns in the playoffs. Tomlin explained why he decided to punt on a 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter while trailing by multiple scores. He also touched on the timeline for when he will talk to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about his future with the team.
JuJu Smith-Schuster Says He Doesn’t Regret ‘Browns Is the Browns’ Comment
PITTSBURGH — It was repeated so often in the five days between when JuJu Smith-Schuster said the phrase on Wednesday to Sunday night’s game at Heinz Field, that it nearly became the No. 1 talking point coming into the game.
“The Browns is the Browns.” Before the game, after the game and probably during the game, many of the Browns made it clear that they had taken exception to Smith-Schuster’s characterization of the team.
The Browns IS THE BROWNS!! 🌚
— Jedrick Wills Jr.®️++💕 (@JWills73) January 11, 2021
Smith-Schuster said after the game that he had no regrets about what he said.
“You know, I don’t regret what I said,” Smith-Schuster said. “I said, ‘The Browns is the Browns.’ They came out and they played a hell of a game. You know, there’s been games where we feel we lose them and today wasn’t our night and hopefully the same Browns will show up next week against the same opponent and go out and do the same thing they did tonight and have a hell of a game.”