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Steelers Gameday

Smothered: Steelers Trampled By Undermanned Texans, 30-6



Steelers Texans
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) is stopped by Houston Texans safety Jimmie Ward, right, during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON — With an opportunity to emerge from the shadow of their season-opening disaster with a win over the lowly Houston Texans on Sunday promising a three-game winning streak, the Pittsburgh Steelers instead laid another egg.

The Steelers were dominated both offensively and defensively by an under-manned Texans squad in a 30-6 Houston victory at NRG Stadium on Sunday.

Houston, playing without its top three offensive tackles and with over a half-dozen linemen out due to injury, instead dominated the line of scrimmage. Running back Dameon Pierce rushed for a season-high 86 yards after rushing for 100 in the first three games combined.

The Steelers kept Pierce out of the end zone, but rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud had all kinds of room to operate all day long. Stroud was hit six times, but was not sacked in the game. He threw a touchdown pass to Nico Collins in the first quarter to start the scoring.

After that strike, the Steelers were able to slow the Texans, but never stop them. Houston racked up an incredible 451 to 225 advantage in total yards. Three Ka’imi Fairbairn field goals pushed the advantage to 16-0 Houston by the end of the first half.

In the second, the Steelers focused on running the football and found some success. Najee Harris finished the day with 14 carries for 71 yards at a 5.1-yard average — his best of the season. But on three long drives, the Steelers were twice forced to settle for Chris Boswell field goals.

On the third such drive, with the Steelers trailing, 16-6, head coach Mike Tomlin decided to go for it on a 4th and 1 inside field goal range. The 4th and 1 play was run out of the shotgun, and Kenny Pickett scrambled into pressure. He was sacked and injured on the play, ending the hope of a Pittsburgh offensive threat and his afternoon.

Pickett finished 15 of 23 for 114 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and a 59 passer rating. He was replaced by Mitch Trubisky, who did not fare better.

On Trubisky’s second drive, the Steelers punted the ball away on a fourth down, despite trailing by multiple scores.

Houston added another score when Stroud hit Nico Collins for a 52-yard bomb over Patrick Peterson. The rookie vastly outplayed Pickett, finishing 16 of 30 for 306 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 111.2 passer rating.

The Steelers will return home after their two-game road swing for a date with AFC North rivals the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium.