Recapping the good, bad, and ugly we saw from the Houston Texans as they went 0-3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Houston Texans Week 3 Recap: Good, bad, ugly against Pittsburgh Steelers
The majority of the first half can be attributed to this category for the Houston Texans. The offense looked as good as advertised in the passing game with Deshaun Watson passing for 264 yards, three scoring drives that included two touchdown passes, having a 70 percent completion rate, and a 110.7 QB rating to conclude the game.
Watson had his best outing of the season in the first half and looked like the quarterback that everyone is accustomed to seeing on game day. Randall Cobb has become one of the early recipients of Watson getting more comfortable with his new targets. Cobb had 95 yards receiving to go with a touchdown reception.
Cobb has 11 receptions through the first three games for 177 yards, a touchdown reception, and averaging a career-high 16.1 yards per reception. The last stat skyrocketed after Cobb averaged 23.8 yards per reception against the Steelers, but he remains a very dangerous threat against any defense because he can attack the middle of the field.
Meanwhile, Will Fuller had a better game after seeing no targets in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens. Fuller caught four of his five intended targets for 54 yards and a touchdown reception.
The Texans have been particularly effective in getting points to end the first half. Houston was great with their timeout usage to get a field goal in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens, and they did the same this week as they got points on the board before halftime.
With just over a little more than a minute remaining in the first half, the offense was amazing in orchestrating a drive downfield that led to Fuller's touchdown reception with time close to expiring in the second quarter.
The Texans have shown they can move the chains with urgency, but that has to be a trend that needs to occur more beyond the potential last drive of the first half.
Moving onto the defense, Charles Omenihu and Carlos Watkins recorded the two sacks that Houston had on Ben Roethlisberger. Omenihu getting his second sack in the last two games is an encouraging sign for his development.
Another good sign for the Texans defense is Benardrick McKinney, and Zach Cunningham combined for 21 tackles in Week 3. This is their second consecutive game that both inside linebackers have double-digit tackles to conclude the game.
With the positives out of the way, plenty of things went wrong for the Houston Texans after a rather successful first half. The run game looked sloppy throughout all four quarters.
Their longest run of the game was David Johnson's first rush attempt for five yards. The offensive line looked overmatched at the point of the attack, and that did little for Johnson as he ran towards a pile of players in hopes of salvaging a yard or two.
Johnson finished the game with 22 yards on 13 carries for 1.77 yards per rush attempt. He didn't get much help from the rest of the running back group as C.J. Prosise had one rush attempt for a single yard.
The Texans were passive in involving other runners, and their game plan fell flat on its face as the game went on. It's extremely difficult to win a game without a balanced attack, and the Texans struggling run game looked even worse against one of the better defensive fronts in the league.
Watson often took it upon himself to get the offense going, and there were a few plays where he could've made a pass instead of taking a sack. Watson was brought down with the football five times, and those negative plays didn't help the Texans' cause on offense.
The offensive line also shares some of the blame, but the offense was a wreck in the second half. The blame goes towards the players and the coaching staff. Tim Kelly, Bill O'Brien, and Mike Devlin for how the offense has looked in the first three weeks of the season.
The defense also deserves to be mentioned in this category. Vernon Hargreaves was often picked on in the passing game, and he surrendered a touchdown to Eric Ebron near the goal line. One can't blame Hargreaves in that scenario due to the mismatch, but Houston should anticipate that Lonnie Johnson would be a better player in those plays where size and physicality are factors in the red zone.
Zach Cunningham and Johnson also had a miscommunication that led to the busted coverage in the Pittsburgh Steelers' second touchdown of the game. Juju Smith-Schuster ran past Cunningham in zone coverage, and Lonnie didn't pick him up.
Plays like those were self-inflicted on the defense, and it gave the Steelers' the confidence they needed to win the game in the second half.
The ugly for the Houston Texans remain evident. Their bend don't break approach on defense has worked well for the first three quarters, but the defense continues to struggle to keep it close in the fourth quarter.
Perhaps the defense seems uninspired with the struggles on offense, but they need to take more pride in what they can control. The defense has yet to force a turnover through three games.
The defense has allowed the most rushing yards through three games with 565 and allows an average of 188.3 yards per game. They're also allowing 31.7 points per game, which is more than the 19 points the offense is producing.
In particular, the offense is struggling to put up a complete game in the first three weeks. The Texans were scoreless in the second half against the Steelers, and the offense has yet to score in the third quarter against any of their opponents.
Houston has a lot they need to fix heading into Week 4 as they host the winless Minnesota Vikings. Both teams are desperate for a win and hoping to turn their fortunes around for the remaining 12 games.