I re-watched the game last night and in an effort to provide you with an honest and fair analysis, I decided to watch it through the eyes of a Steelers fan.
The defending Super Bowl champion Steelers took on the Texas team this past Sunday. The Steelers dominated play through all five quarters and would have won the game, but for a few bad plays that allowed the Texans horrible players to accidentally score.
The Texans didn't actually outscore the Steelers, though. See, the Steelers have never actually been scored upon by another team, but have had points put up against them because the referees haven't given us enough calls and because Roger Goodell is a communist.
I know all this because I've been a Steelers fan ever since I first saw that Head and Shoulders commercial. I may live in Northern California and maybe I'm not 100% sure what part of Kentucky Pittsburgh is in, but I am in fact, a die hard fan.
Now, somebody get me a chamois!
Since I haven't yet cured my ADD, and the bullet approach worked well last week, let's do that again.
- That first drive was a thing of beauty. There was one play in particular that was extra beautiful. The Texans had third and 11 from their own 49 and Schaub hit OD for an 18 yard pick-up. Polamalu came charging in on the left side of the line. Arian Foster came up and helped out on the end while Duane Brown calmly shifted over and rode Polamalu right out of the play. Schaub then threw a bullet into tight coverage for the first down. The teamwork between Foster and the offensive line was seamless and gave Schaub the time and space he needed for the throw.
- In general, Foster showed why he's so valuable. He made plays that other running backs just don't make. It's amazing the ability he has to make simple shifts and cuts leaving defenders tackling nothing but his farts. With all due respect to Ben Tate (who hopefully is not hurt too badly), he's not in Foster's league.
- I'm impressed by the pursuit of the defensive line. Even when a pass is completed downfield, they're not giving up the chase. I've seen J.J. Watt do that a few times, and Connor Barwin had some great effort on Sunday. This is a habit I'd love to see continue.
- Where are all the Pittsburgh fans when the Pirates come to town?
- Troy Polamalu seems to like tackling people by the head. I guess it fires him up, and as long as he's not getting flagged for it I'm sure he'll continue, but it seems to me that if he doesn't actually grab the helmet, he's going to miss the tackle. Obviously he's been a successful tackler in the past, but he seems to be going more for the glory shot than for the tackle.
- Speaking of Polamalu, Foster absolutely abused him on two separate plays: the first down run in the second quarter and on the touchdown run. These are the types of plays that make Foster special, and the burst that he showed on the long run means the hamstring is healed. Of course, the final time these two met, Polamalu tackled him by his head.
- As strong as the Texans' first quarter was, the fourth quarter was as impressive, if not more. The first play of the quarter was the Steelers' field goal, but then the offense came up with a huge drive in importance, if not time (can we please start giving Schaub a little credit in the fourth quarter of close games?). Then the Texans defense took over. They had a three and out (with one sack), a five and out (with two sacks), another three and out, and then that final drive with two interceptions. Now, that's how you finish a game. The offense didn't do much outside the touchdown drive, but in their defense, they were just trying to run the ball and kill time.
- According to Dan Dierdorf, Ben Roethlisberger is the greatest quarterback since John Elway and Joe Montana had a love child that was raised by Dan Marino. I'm not sure about the physiological feasibility of that, but I will say that he is a big man. But you know who else is a big man? Mario Williams. How strong is his grip that he had one hand on Roethlisberger's jersey and was able to reel him in? I bet you he kicks ass in thumb wars.
- Lastly, I want to say that this may well be the best game ever played by a collection of men known as the Houston Texans' offensive line. I'm not just talking about the run blocking (which was awesome), but I'm pretty sure that Schaub went back in the locker room and just hung up his uniform for next week. No washing necessary. Aside from one hit in the fourth quarter (which was not hard), he only hit the ground once and that was on a short run in the first quarter. I don't even think he broke a sweat.
This game was thrilling and frustrating at the same time, but ultimately, it was satisfying. The Texans came out strong, took a big shot, and still came out victorious. Sure, the Steelers haven't been playing very strong this year, but this is still the same team that nearly won the Super Bowl less than a year ago.
As I mentioned last week, the Texans still have faults, but so far, this team has shown much better poise and ability than the teams of years past. Also, some of the young players seem to be getting their sea legs under them. Brice McCain had some good plays, Connor Barwin is really showing promise (he feels older, doesn't he?), and even Troy Nolan seemed better. Yes, they still have their faults, and no, I don't think McCain and Nolan are long term solutions, but maybe, just maybe, we're a little too quick to write some of these guys off.
In any sense, the undeniable fact is that your Houston Texans are 3-1 and in first place.
On to Oakland.