Steelers vs Texans: 5 Things We Learned From Houston's 17-10 Win
What a game.
Regardless of some really questionable officiating through the entire game, the Texans persevered and took on adversity with grace and grit in a 17-10 victory to improve to 3-1 on the 2011 season.
There are a lot of things we already knew about this team but we also learned the answer to quite a few questions this afternoon as well.
Let us take a look at some of said things now.
The Defense Is Better Than What We Saw Last Week
After playing the Saints last week and allowing them to hang 40 on the scoreboard, lots of the Houston faithful were questioning whether or not they jumped the gun on praising the transitioning Texans defense.
The same defense today held the Steelers offense to just 296 yards of total offense and 10 points.
The pass rush was relentless today against a weakened Steelers offensive line and they brought Ben Roethlisberger to the turf five times.
Mario Williams continues to make the transition to outside linebacker look easy as he tallied two more sacks today, bringing his season total to four.
The secondary still had some issues, but Johnathan Joseph was robbed of a pick six and I'll touch on the other side of the cornerback duo in the next frame.
Last week proved what we already knew; Drew Brees can move the ball against any defense in the league. So look at last week as an anomaly.
Jason Allen Needs to Be the Starter from Now on
Today, Jason Allen made me look like I actually know what I'm talking about.
Jason Allen isn't ever going to be a lock down, number one type corner. But when you got Johnathan Joseph on the other side of him, he doesn't need to be.
Unlike Kareem, Allen actually makes an attempt on the ball when it is up for grabs and he actually has the speed to keep up with fast wide receivers.
Regardless of the game-sealing interception, Allen in the starting lineup helped this defense to do something that a handful of other teams haven't been able to do; hold Mike Wallace under 100 yards receiving.
To me, that says that Kareem Jackson should be on the sideline next week, too.
Arian Foster Seems to Be Just Fine
Regardless of what you read on all these idiot fantasy websites out there, Arian Foster could have played last week.
And he proved that before the end of the first quarter today.
He was cutting, bouncing outside, changing direction and even plowing a guy or two over in his first full game of the 2011 season.
He looked fluid and pain-free as he smoked Troy Polamalu on a 42-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
He was expected to be held to around twenty carries today, but Ben Tate left the game in the first half with a strained groin. Derrick Ward still on the shelf.
Foster was forced into a full workload for the day.
Thirty carries, 155 yards and a touchdown later, it appears he was up to the task.
Ben Tate did an admirable job filling in for Arian while he was recovering, but Tate just doesn't have the physical gifts Foster does.
He just has the most amazing vision and he isn't a product of the system. I think Foster would be good no matter where he played.
The Offense Struggles Without Andre Johnson
When Andre Johnson went down, untouched, in the second quarter and grasped the back of his knee in pain, I felt like crying.
Because this team can lose a star player and still be good. As long as their names are not Andre Johnson or Matt Schaub.
This was evidenced at the beginning of this season where the Texans offense has still been great even with Arian Foster not playing.
However, Andre goes out of the game today and the offense comes to a grinding halt. Besides Owen Daniels, I don't recall seeing a pass to the Jacoby Jones/Kevin Walter duo completed.
Thankfully, the early reports are that it was just a hamstring issue for Johnson, although no MRI has been completed yet.
Regardless, Johnson is likely going to miss some time whether it is long or short. So what does Houston do in the meantime?
They're going to have to do something because the aforementioned combo isn't going to scare anyone other than Texans fans.
This Isn't Your Father's Houston Texans
After the debacle in New Orleans last weekend, all we have heard all week is that this is the "same old Texans."
Things to the effect of how they are scared of prosperity and they can't win a close game, etc.
But this week proves that this Texans team is cut from a different cloth.
All Texans teams from the past would have found a way to lose this game. When the Steelers came back in the third quarter and looked like they were about to take the game over, the team fought back.
The Steelers tried to bully them and they turned around and bullied them right back.
With multiple opportunities in the fourth quarter, the Steelers were unable to get anything off of the Texans defense. Another thing that wouldn't have happened last year.
But the biggest thing is how they faced adversity today. The officiating just might have been some of the worst I've seen in my thirty years of watching football.
They overcame the penalties and still found a way to score. They found a way to overcome the zebra's robbing Johnathan Joseph of two touchdowns that would have made this game not even near as close as it ended up being.
The previous nine Texans teams would have folded like a cheap suit against this team and those situations. But they stood tall and won a game at home that playoff teams are supposed to win.