It’s not often you can find fault with a 34-6 road victory but I can’t take my mind off of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ run defense which was gashed by the Houston Texans at will. The Steelers surrendered 176 yards on the ground including 108 to Alfred Blue. The Texans were actually their own worst enemy in this game because they threw the ball way more than they needed.
The greatest piece of evidence came when Houston marched down the field on the ground looking to cut into a 10-0 deficit in the second quarter. On third and fourth down inside the Steelers’ two yard line Bill O’Brien for some ungodly reason called two straight passes. One was incomplete and the fourth down throw was picked off in the end zone by Artie Burns.
Pittsburgh would go 80 yards for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead. It was the turning point of the game and the Steelers can thank the Houston head coach for it going their way. Perhaps more alarming than the 176 rushing yards surrendered was the 6.3 yards per carry average. That’s way too much against any team let alone one who couldn’t throw it for their lives in this game.
The obvious reason for the run defense’s woes is the loss of Ryan Shazier. Sean Spence has played better in each of his games since rejoining the Steelers but he is inconsistent in his tackling and he struggles to get off blocks. Vince Williams has done everything asked of him and no one gets more out of himself than Williams but he too has to get to the ball carrier sooner.
As I stated in the open, it’s hard to find fault with a win like this but all those yards on the ground are a major concern. Many fans will point to the turnovers and seven sacks and those most certainly cannot be denied. But if Houston can run the ball like this what will Jacksonville or Baltimore be able to do in the postseason?
The run D needs to be fixed now before it’s too late.