Steelers Keys to Victory over the Texans in Week 4
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a winning performance in Week 3, a 23-18 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, and while it was the team’s second win, it still wasn’t very pretty. The hope is there is a better performance on the horizon on Sunday in Week 4 when the team travels to play the Houston Texans.
What exactly do the Steelers need to do to claim their third victory of 2023? Let’s break it down in all three phases of the game…
Run the rock
When Kenny Pickett was given a game ball after the Week 3 Sunday Night Football win, he talked about how important a running game was to the offense. While everyone would love a quarterback to be capable of throwing his way to victory, it isn’t always the best approach for a second year signal caller. Can Matt Canada develop a unique run design which can get Najee Harris going? Can the offensive line with Nate Herbig at guard get the job done? If they do, it will open up everything else.
Keep it clean
The Steelers’ offense is still ridiculously fragile. Negative plays are a death knell for drives, and turnovers can be absolute killers. Have to keep it clean on all fronts. Protect the rock, and the Steelers will be tough to beat.
Whether it’s 3rd down or hopefully red-zone trips, the Steelers have to show the ability to convert on these critical down and distances. It is incredible to think, but the Steelers have only reached the red-one three times in three games, and have converted two of those trips into touchdowns. Meanwhile, their 3rd down conversion rate is well below the league average of 40%. Yes, there is a correlation between the two, and this needs to improve against the Texans.
Stop the run
When you look at the next two defensive keys, they both start, and end, with the defense being able to do this one simple thing: Stop the run. If they can do that, and make the Houston offense operate in obvious down and distances, it will set them up for early success.
Pin your ears back
The Houston offensive line is ravaged with injury, and has Kendrick Green inserted into the lineup at guard with backup tackles on both sides. If there is a game where the defense will be able to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback, it’s this one. But they have to get home against a mobile quarterback in C.J. Stroud.
Make the rookie look like a rookie
Stroud hasn’t thrown an interception yet this season, and it is reminiscent of the Raiders not giving up a sack before the Week 3 game on Sunday Night Football. We all knowhow that ended for the Las Vegas offense (4 sacks and 8 QB Hits), and let’s hope the Steelers defense is able to rattle the rookie and force him into his first mistakes of the season.
I talk about this, and MUCH more on the Friday episode of “Let’s Ride”, and you can hear that podcast in the player below this article. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they gear up for game time!