Andre Johnson’s injury grabbed the headlines early. The Texans defense took care of things late in a 17-10 win over Pittsburgh. Here’s what we learned:
1. The Texans aren’t just about offense now. The Steelers got the ball four times in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the game. The Texans held them to 1 yard combined on the first three drives. On the fourth and final chance, they picked off Ben Roethlisberger to seal the game.
2. Mario Williams looks comfortable in this defense, racking up two more sacks. (He has five for the year.) That’s because he often had his hand in the dirt as a down linemen, with the Texans using last year’s four down linemen look.
Pressure was coming from every direction. Antonio Smith has been a beast this year. Connor Barwin made a few big plays Sunday. When Roethlisberger’s collapse, it was a total meltdown.
3. The Texans just beat the Steelers because they have a better pass rush and a better running game. Think about that one again. Arian Foster rushed 30 times for 155 yards and a score in his first game back from injury. He had to play that much because Ben Tate left early with an injury.
4. Houston’s defense hits so much harder now. Even when they don’t make a great play, they are far more physical than they used to be.
5. Rashard Mendenhall left early with a hamstring injury. Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore actually were more effective as a tandem than Mendenhall.
6. Andre Johnson was seen on the sidelines in the second half laughing and smiling. That would indicate his hamstring injury may not be as bad as originally feared.
7. Houston needs to find other offensive solutions if A.J. is out a while. Their receivers didn’t have a catch.
8. We know it’s early, but we really think the AFC South will come down to Houston and Tennessee. The Texans are in great shape.
9. We know it’s early, but nothing about the Steelers has been impressive this year. The defense can’t make up for the offensive line.
They are lucky to have one of the easiest schedules in the year. The old Steelers defense wouldn’t have given up a 19-play touchdown drive to start the game.