Coming into Week 4, the Pittsburgh Steelers seemed to have momentum on their side. In a two-game winning streak, the offense began to click and the defense was wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks and creating turnovers.
The Houston Texans had some momentum themselves, having dismantled the Jacksonville Jaguars last week.
In a true contender or pretender matchup, the Steelers proved early they lean heavily in the pretender category. The Steelers failed to cross the fifty-yard line. On the Texans' first play from scrimmage, Dameon Pierce recorded his longest run of the young season. Houston's offensive game plan also kept rookie quarterback CJ Stroud clean, both in pocket protection and in the stat box.
The second half sparked the Steelers toward making a game of things after being shut out in the first two quarters. However, a horrendous fourth-and-one play call left Kenny Pickett injured and washed away whatever goodwill the halftime adjustments had inspired for the Black and Gold.
The Steelers hardly showed much good before the game hit double zeroes all while subjecting its fanbase to some frustratingly bad and ugly gameplay.
The Good: Najee Harris's second-half effort
There wasn't much good for Pittsburgh in this game. The Steelers made some adjustments on defense to clean up the run defense and create more pressure. However, it wasn't nearly enough and didn't overshadow the larger issues.
One bright spot, particularly in the second half was Najee Harris and his effort to will the Steelers back into the game.
To start the second half he picked up a first down on a 15-yard gainer, signaling that he was prepared to run harder.
Later in the third quarter, he bailed out Pickett on a third down, reaching up and making an impressive catch, getting up and breaking a few more tackles before being brought down inside the 10 to help set up a second scoring drive.
The next drive he started with a 23-yard run off right tackle, barreling through would-be tacklers.
Despite those efforts, Matt Canada didn't give Harris the ball or even a play fake on a critical fourth-and-one. No wonder the good portion of this article is about three total plays.