Analyzing the Steelers Week 4 loss to the Texans, by the numbers
The Pittsburgh Steelers were on the road again, this time in Houston to face the Texans in Week 4 of the 2023 NFL season. The Steelers started slow and finished slower as they suffered a humiliating 30-6 loss.
So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers Week 4 loss to the Texans.
So far, the sign of this number has fallen exactly in line with the Steelers results in 2023. The Steelers had a negative turnover margin and lost the game. The fact that if this had been zero or a small positive probably would not have changed the outcome is irrelevant. The Steelers threw an interception on their very first possession and did not force a takeaway the rest of the game.
With the Steelers going up against a patchwork offensive line by the Texans, there were many who believed the pass rush would be too much for Houston to handle. And even though the Steelers did have six quarterback hits, they did not have a sack in the game. The closest thing to a sack was a penalty called against C.J. Stroud for intentional grounding.
Coming into the game, both teams had struggled to get their running game going through the first three weeks of the season. The Texans were only averaging 70.0 yards per game prior to facing the Steelers. But 1:16 into the second quarter, the Texans eclipsed the 70-yard rushing total on a 12-yard run by Damien Pierce. In all, the Texans were able to rush for 139 yards on 38 rushing attempts.
The Steelers gave up more than 400 total yards of offense for the second time this season. Giving up 408 yards in a way aginst the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers surrendered 451 yards to the Texans. With the rushing yards coming in with a difference of only 25 yards, it was the Texans 312 passing yards to the Steelers 111 yards which really made a difference in the game.
Trying to find a player on the Steelers who had an adequate performance, the safest choice would be running back Najee Harris. Running for 71 yards on 14 carries, Harris had a 5.1 YPC for the game. When the Steelers were trying to get back in the game to start the second half, Harris was the driving force behind the Steelers two field goal drives. In the third quarter, Harris rushed for 55 yards on 9 carries with a 6.1 YPC.
The Steelers passing attack was nearly nonexistent on Sunday. Only having 111 net passing yards, the Steelers only had 57 receiving yards from their wide receivers. For the game, Allen Robinson had 8 yards on one catch, George Pickens had 25 yards on three catches, and Calvin Austin had 24 yards on three catches.
The Steelers have had an issue with giving up a lot of yardage to one specific receiver each week of the NFL season. This week it was Nico Collins who torched the Steelers for 168 receiving yards on seven receptions and two touchdowns. Last week it was Davante Adams who had 172 yards on 13 catches for two touchdowns, Week 2 saw Amari Cooper having 90 yards on 7 receptions, and Week 1 it was Brandon Aiyuk pulling in eight catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns. All the supporting cast to each of these receivers did not do extensive damage, but the Steelers in ability to stop one specific receiver each game is becoming a big problem.
The Steelers reached the red zone twice in the game but came away with no touchdowns and two field goals. In their four games, the Steelers have only reached the red zone five times and scored only two touchdowns.
Not only did the Steelers have the worst defeat of the season from a score standpoint, the injury concerns are a huge issue as the Steelers had four players unable to finish the game. Most notably, quarterback Kenny Pickett left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and was quickly ruled out for the game. Another player ruled out quickly was tight end Pat Freiermuth with a hamstring injury. Additionally, Dan Moore (knee) and DeMarvin Leal (head) were not able to finish the game and the Steelers have concerns about these player’s availability moving forward.
No victory for the Steelers in Houston this week. When looking at the four games to start the Steelers season, facing the Texans was probably the one where fans had the most confidence for a win before the season started. But now, the Steelers lose in a bad way and have a lot of questions that need answered moving forward.
So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 4 loss in perspective. After squeaking by the last two games, the Steelers got behind early and never really got their feet under them the entire game.
So what numbers from Sunday’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.