Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Houston Texans: Keys to Victory


It’s going to be a long and torturous wait for the Monday Night Football matchup between your Pittsburgh Steelers and the Houston Texans. The Steelers open a three-game home stretch against the Texans and are set to face the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens in the next coming weeks so starting this home stand off with a win isn’t just important, it’s damned near necessary. Here’s what the Steelers need to do to ensure a victory on Monday night against the Texans.

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Protect Ben

For God’s sake, protect Ben! Watching highlights of J.J. Watt makes me instantly turn into the little brother from A Christmas Story when he hides under the kitchen sink in the cabinet because he’s afraid that “Daddy’s gonna kill Ralphie!”. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney could be coming after Ben Roethlisberger all night and the Steelers offensive line needs to be up to the challenge of providing the protection Ben needs. Ben needs to play a role in his own protection too, by releasing the ball quickly and not giving them the option to sack him for a loss of a gazillion yards. Easier said than done, I know. Basically, the Steelers cannot afford for Ben to not have a perfect game on Monday night. He needs to make quick decisions, and he needs to have his receivers on the same page as him as well.

Score friggin touchdowns

For real already. If the Steelers want to win any more games, let alone this one, they’re going to need to fix their red zone blues and fix them in a hurry. Whatever success they’re having between the 20s they’re going to have to implement that once they’re in striking distance. Whether that means going no-huddle to catch the defense off guard and prevent them from making substitutions, or actually showing some kind of balance in the red zone offense and not throwing or running exclusively. The Steelers started the game against Cleveland last week with a good offensive plan to run the ball, control the clock, and put together long drives but when they wouldn’t even try so much as a simple play-action pass in the red zone it cost them big time. No one wants to see Shaun Suisham out on the field for anything but extra points and kick offs.

Stop the run

The Steelers defense has been somewhat inconsistent against the run on the whole this season. They were gashed in the first two games for over 150+ yards each and then allowed less than 60 rushing yards against the Bucs and Jags each. They’re averaging just over 110 rushing yards allowed per game and going against Arian Foster who is just behind Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell in rushing yards but averaging over 100 yards per game. The Texans have suffered from slow starts in their losses so if the Steelers can stop Foster early on they might not be able to get him going. The Steelers will have some rookies on their defensive line this week with Stephon Tuitt getting the start and Daniel McCullers likely to dress for his first game. McCullers is going to have to play the part of the “immovable object” on the line if he wants to continue to see playing time.

What do you think Steeler Nation? What are your keys to victory over the Texans?