The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a humiliating 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans in Week 4 of the NFL season. The Steelers were outplayed in every aspect of the game, and the loss has left fans and analysts alike wondering what went wrong. In this article, we will take a closer look at the game and identify the four Steelers personnel who are most to blame for the team's pathetic performance.
The Steelers' Week 4 Loss
The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a humiliating loss to the Houston Texans in Week 4 of the NFL season. The game was a one-sided affair from start to finish. The Steelers offense struggled to move the ball, with quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky totaling just 111 passing yards. The defense was equally ineffective, allowing the Texans to score at will and failing to generate any turnovers or sacks. The loss was a major setback for the Steelers, and they seem to have also lost Pickett to a knee injury.
Kenny Pickett with left knee injury. Will not return. Isolated MCL vs ACL/MCL. If MCL alone will likely miss four weeks. pic.twitter.com/fjHvu8Y187
— Dr. Mark Adickes (@jocktodoc) October 1, 2023
The Texans dominated the game in every aspect, racking up 139 yards on the ground and harassing Pickett throughout the game. Texans quarterback CJ Stroud had a stellar performance, throwing for 306 yards and netting two touchdowns. The Steelers defense was unable to contain Stroud, and their inability to generate any turnovers or sacks was a major factor in the team's loss. The loss dropped the Steelers to 2-2 on the season, and it raised serious questions about the team's ability to compete at a high level. The Steelers will need to make significant improvements in the weeks to come if they hope to turn their season around and compete for a playoff spot.
Here we will look at the four Pittsburgh Steelers to blame for their Week 4 Week 4 pathetic loss to the Houston Texans.
The Steelers' defense faced several shortcomings in this game. They failed to sack CJ Stroud, generate any turnovers and allowed the Texans to gain over 139 rushing yards. Texans receiver Nico Collins had a remarkable performance, catching seven passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
The defensive performance was unimpressive, particularly in stopping the run. Even though Dameon Pierce had just 100 rushing yards before this game and the Texans had a depleted offensive line, he managed to rush for 81 yards. The Texans performed exceptionally well without making excuses. The Steelers had one excuse, the absence of Cam Heyward, which was insufficient to justify their ineffectiveness against the run.
As we said, Stroud had a comfortable outing, as the Texans effectively double-teamed and diverted their attention away from TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith. As such, the Steelers failed to apply pressure.
The secondary continued to be a liability, with Levi Wallace being targeted throughout the game. He was responsible for much of Nico Collins's production, including his first touchdown. Many of the Steelers' issues stemmed from soft zone coverage, slow reactions in man coverage, and communication breakdowns in the middle. Unfortunately, there was no improvement in these areas against the Texans.
A glaring example of the Steelers' defensive lapses was Devin Singletary's touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz. The front seven failed to read the fake, and both Patrick Peterson and Minkah Fitzpatrick were out of position to defend Schultz.
The Steelers continued to struggle in pass protection, too. This was especially true against the Texans' stunts and disruptive tactics in the interior line. While it's challenging to pinpoint a single culprit, center Mason Cole appeared to struggle throughout the game.
Despite other debates, the poor performance of the Steelers' offensive line is a significant concern. This unit is plagued by injuries, lacks talent, and plays with little energy.
One glaring example of offensive coordinator Matt Canada's shortcomings was the ill-advised fourth-down play call from the shotgun formation. This led to Kenny Pickett's injury. The team had successfully run the football, but Canada deviated from the plan, costing the team its slim chance of a comeback.
Matt Canada's ineffectiveness is evident, and it is adversely affecting the Steelers' offense. The Steelers' offense consistently starts slowly, only finding life on their last drive of the first half, followed by brief momentum in the third quarter. However, this improvement is never sustained comfortably, and the offense's ineptitude affects the defense, which spends most of the game on the field. The struggles of the Steelers' offense are making the entire team unattractive to watch.
While Canada deserves criticism, he is not the only coach at fault. The entire coaching staff led by Mike Tomlin fell short in this game. Houston appeared better prepared and had superior schematics, keeping the Steelers off balance throughout the match. The Texans effectively used a zone scheme to establish their running game, a first for them this season. They also exploited empty formations, keeping the Steelers in their base defense and succeeding in the passing game. Texans Offensive Coordinator Bobby Slowik consistently outmaneuvered Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin and Head Coach Mike Tomlin throughout the game. Houston used screen passes, the running game, and play-action to thwart the Steelers' pass rush.
Tomlin often played it safe, opting for field goals instead of going for it on fourth down. He made these choices in many instances and even decided to punt on fourth-and-2 from their own 36 when they were trailing 23-6 in the fourth quarter. These decisions seemed to reflect a lack of aggression.
The coaching staff failed to elevate the talent on the team. They frequently found themselves outmaneuvered throughout the season, even in their wins.
The Steelers' Week 4 loss to the Texans was a pathetic showing by the team. There are surely several personnel who are to blame. If the Steelers hope to turn their season around, they will need to address these issues and make significant improvements in the weeks to come.