Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Steelers Game 7 Recap - Steelers 30, Texans 23

First almost the entire first half the Steelers like one of the worst football teams in the league. They weren't doing anything right on offense or defense and they were getting booed off the field on nearly every offensive possession. It was really bad times. After they failed to put up points on the first drive and subsequently pin the Texans on their own six yard line they allowed Houston to go 94 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown. Not only was that bad but allowing Houston to gain huge chunks of yards was a concern:



Woof.

Luckily for the Steelers fans the something clicked late in the second quarter and it led to a landslide of points that I don't think I have ever see from a Steelers team in my lifetime. Shaun Suisham closed out an eight play, 60 yard drive with a field goal with 3:08 remaining in the half and it was the first of 24 points the Steelers would score in the last 3:08to turn a 13-0 deficit into an 11 point halftime lead.

The Steelers forced a pair of turnovers inside the Texans' 20 yard line and in five plays and in 1:10 scored three touchdowns. Houston had no idea what to do. They looked like they didn't have an answer and just kept coughing the ball up and the Steelers kept their foot on the gas.

For much of the season the offense has been wildly inconsistent but for a brief stretch last night they completely dominated the opposing team and damn near put the game away.

Thanks to some shoddy receiver play recently Martavis Bryant, the Steelers fourth round pick out of Clemson, caught his first touchdown pass in his first game played from Ben Roethlisberger which was followed by a Lance Moore and Le'Veon Bell touchdown receptions.

The Moore touchdown was something to behold as it was Antonio Brown throwing the pass a play after the Steelers forced an Arian Foster fumble. Brown was going from left to right and stopped right after the handoff and rolled back to his left and threw a strike to Moore who was decently covered. What can't Antonio Brown do?

Speaking of, I think I sound like a broken record but Brown continues to be one of the very best receivers in the league. He caught nine passes for 90 yards and it would have been even more if the officials would have gave him a touchdown late in the game. It looked like it was a good catch on the TV and it didn't come back to hurt the Steelers but it's hard to get a touchdown taken off the board. Currently Brown leads the league with 719 receiving yards on 50 catches, the most among receivers (Matt Forte leads the league with 52). You know that there is going to be a game where he gets shut down but right now I just can't see that happening.

Another "broken record" is Bell. Dude is just a monster. Over the past five years the Steelers have done a really poor job of utilizing the backs out of the backfield despite having some good athletes back there, but this year is different. Bell caught eight passes for 88 yards including a huge 43 yard catch and run on third and long in the second quarter that led to the Steelers first points of the game. Bell also had 12 carries for 57 yards for almost five yards per carry. When the ball is in his hands a lot of things go right.

Bell also had a stake in this little tidbit:



Overall I don't think the Steelers have a very good team. They struggle on offense, struggle on defense, and struggle on special teams. They had an outstanding stretch of football in the second quarter but most of the first half was just horrible. The inconsistencies were still there but I guess it might be a good sign that they were at least able to overcome the lackluster play and win the game. They still were not able to finish drives but they were able to get points. In back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter they got field goals but putting the game away would have been really nice.

Defensively it was the same as the offense. I don't think they are a good defense and they are relying on some really past-their-prime players but the fact is that they stepped up last night. The Steelers have had a really tough time creating turnovers but they got three last night and they all came at really crucial times. They really struggled in the first half giving up scoring drives in each of Houston's first three drives but after that they buckled down and allowed Houston to gain only seven yards on the next five drives (one was to end the half). That is some good defense to pick up the offense.

After giving up massive amount of yards on penalties the Steelers committed only six penalties for 38 yards on Sunday.

All Lawrence Timmons does is make tackles. Actually he throws up on the field too, which might have been the sole reason for the turnaround late in the second half, but that is neither here nor there. Timmons made 12 tackles with 11 of them solo, and had a sack and two tackles for loss. He has been a bit up and down this season but overall has been pretty steady all season. That is how you bounce back from throwing up on the field.

The Steelers are now 4-3. The season hasn't been good but all things being equal they are only one back in the loss column from both Baltimore and Cincinnati and while I don't think they are a playoff team you never know what can happen.

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