Houston vs. Pittsburgh: Texans run into Steel Curtain

Andrew GloverCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2008

The Houston Texans entered the 2008 season with high hopes after finishing 8-8 last season in their first non-losing season. The Pittsburgh Steelers decimated those hopes for now as they won 38-17 in the season opener.

The Texans were only in the game when the clock was at 15 minutes to go in the first quarter. After the Steelers stopped the Texans opening drive on fourth down and one, they drove down the field on their first possession. Ben Roethlisberger kept the drive alive when he ran for 17 yards on third and four. Willie Parker finished the drive off with a 7-yard touchdown run to put the Steelers up 7-0.

The Texans next possession seemed to have life but died. After Matt Schaub completed a 24-yard pass to Andre Johnson at the Steelers’ 42, Schaub was sacked for a loss of nine. Ahman Green got an eight-yard gain on second and 19. On third and 11 Schaub was sacked for a loss of 14 yards. The Texans had to punt.

The Steelers once again drove down the field. Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward on a 29-yard pass that moved the ball to the Texans’ 34. Parker again finished off the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run, increasing the Steelers lead to 14-0.

The Steelers defense did not allow the Texans anything on their next possession. LaMarr Woodley intercepted Schaub on third down and four and returned it to the Texans’ 32. After a six-yard gain by Pittsburgh’s running back Rashard Mendenhall, Travis Johnson was penalized for facemask giving the Steelers the ball at the Houston 13. Roethlisberger connected with Ward on a 13-yard pass to increase the lead to 21-0.

The Texans were able to get a field goal on after recovering a Roethlisberger fumble. However, the Steelers came out firing in the second half.

Pittsburgh started the third quarter with 10-play 71-yard drive that took a little less than six minutes. Parker got his third touchdown of the game to increase the Steelers’ lead to 28-3.

After a three-and-out by the Texans, the Steelers went on another drive. Starting at their own 20, the Steelers ran nine plays taking just over 5:36. Parker broke a 32-yard run from the Steelers’ 47-yard line to the Texans’ 21. Roethlisberger finished the drive with a 16-yard pass to Ward giving Pittsburgh a commanding 35-3 lead.

Roethlisberger was 13-for-14, with 137 yards passing and two touchdowns. Parker rushed for 138 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns. Ward caught six passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns.

Schaub connected with Andrew Walter for the first Texans’ touchdown of the season early in the fourth quarter. Schaub got a rushing touchdown with 1:21 left in the game.

Schaub was 25-for-33, with 202 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions. The Texans’ quarterback was also sacked five times and fumbled once. Rookie running back Steve Slaton led the Texans in rushing with 13 carries for 43 yards. Johnson led in receptions with 10 for 112 yards.

The Texans (0-1) will host the Baltimore Ravens (1-0), who beat Cincinnati 17-10. The Steelers (1-0) will travel to Cleveland to face the Browns (0-1) who lost 28-10 to the Cowboys.