The Steelers defeated the Houston Texans 38-17. Let’s see how we got there:
The Steelers benefited from a very generous spot on a 4th and 1 attempt by the Texans. Live action and multiple replays looked like Matt Schaub clearly got the first down.
The Steelers took over¬†near midfield. Ben Roethlisberger kept the drive alive by scrambling for 17 yards on 3rd and 4. After two Willie Parker runs, Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes for 9 yards on 3rd and 3. Two plays later, Parker bounced off right tackle for a 7-yard touchdown run.
The Texans moved the ball into Steelers’ territory on their next possession but the drive stalled after a LaMarr Woodley sack on first down and a third down sack by James Farrior and Nick Eason.After a questionable offensive pass interference call against Hines Ward negated a 75-yard pass play, Roethlisbergercompleted passes to HeathMiller and Ward to put the ball at the Houston 34. The second quarter began withParkergaining short yardage on three carries sandwiched around a 9-yard completion to Miller and ended with a 10-yard pass to Holmes who fumbled the ball out of bounds. Roethlisberger failed to handle the next snap and fell on the ball. No matter. It just made Parker’s 13-yard touchdown run two yards longer.
The Texans¬†opened their next drive with two Steve Slaton runs but it ended when Woodley made an exceptional one-handed interception.
Rashard¬†Mendenhall¬†made his debut with a 6-yard run that turned into 19-yard gain with a facemask penalty tacked on.¬†Ward completed the drive with a 13-yard touchdown catch on a¬†nifty little seam route.
Matt Schaub once again ended a Texan drive with an interception that was thrown directly to Troy Polamalu.
The Steelers looking to put the game completely out of reach gave the Texans life when¬†Roethlisberger fumbled after a hit by Mario Williams. Chris Kemoeatu whiffed on Williams but was not helped when Roethlisberger held the ball for an extra second. DeMeco Ryans¬†scooped up the ball and returned it 41 yards; tack on a phantom facemask penalty and the ball ended up on the Steelers’ 12 yardline.
The Texans decided to try and run the ball on the first and second down which accumulated a total of -5 yards. After an incomplete pass, former Steeler Kris Brown kicked a 34-yard field goal.
The two teams traded punts and the half ended with Parker running out the clock.
Halftime score: Steelers 21-3
The Steelers open the second half right where they left off. The ground game was put into high gear with Willie Parker getting the lion’s share of the carries. Parker carried for 12, 9, 8, and 3 yards before giving way to Mendenhall who carried for 6 and 9-yard gains. Parker took the ball again for 3 yards which was followed by a 10-yard pass to Carey Davis. Parker rushed for 2 yards and then followed a Marvel Smith block into the endzone for a 4-yard touchdown run. Steelers 28-3
The Texans went three and out.
The Steelers mixed the run and pass on their first four plays but then went exclusively to the ground. Parker ran for 13 and 32 yards then Mendenhall contributed runs of 2 and 3 yards before Roethlisberger hit Ward for a 16-yard touchdown.
Texans started with an 11-yard pass to Andre Johnson but took a step back when Schaub was sacked by James Harrison. Ahman Green ran for 14 and 3 yard gains but Schaub threw two incompletions to kill the drive at midfield.
The day seems to be done for Roethlisberger and Parker as Leftwich and Mendenhall take their place in the backfield. Two runs and an incompletion lead to a Mitch Berger punt.
The Texans moved the ball methodically downfield by mixing the run and pass. Schaub completed 16 and 11-yard passes around Steve Slaton’s 4 and 7-yard runs. Penalties dominated the next three plays but the big one was a pass interference call against Steelers safety Ryan Clark. James Harrison was tripped and, after the 10-yard penalty, Slaton netted 1 yard on two carries. Schaub found Kevin Walter in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown.
The Steelers once again ended a drive after two runs and an incomplete pass. The pass was a 50-yard rope that Nate Washington could not hang on to.
Slaton had a nice run off left tackle for 8 yards after a 5-yard completion to Andre Johnson. James Harrison ended the drive when he hit Schaub from behind causing the ball to bounce off LaMarr Woodley. Rookie tackle Duane Brown had a chance to recover the fumble but it bounced away from him right to Woodley.
A Mendenahall run and two Leftwich incompletions led to a Jeff Reed 44-yard field goal. Steelers 38-10
The Steelers have emptied the bench on defense. The Texans take advantage and march the ball down the field and score on a 4-yard run by Matt Schaub.
The Steelers take a couple knees to put this one in the books.
Final Score: Steelers 38 Texans 17