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Steeler Hitman

2020 Week Three GDT Steelers vs. Texans

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2-0 Pittsburgh Steelers versus 0-2 Houston Texans

When: Sunday, September 27, 2020 @ 1:00 pm

Where: Heinz Field

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Series History:

Steelers lead the series 4 - 2 overall. After losing their first game to the Texans in 2002, the Steelers have won four of five including the last two games. Last meeting was in 2017 when the Steelers defeated the Texans 34 - 6. Big Ben is 4 - 1 against the Texans.

Steelers On Defense:

The Steelers will face a stiffer test at QB with the speedy, elusive and hard throwing DeShawn Watson and the Texans Offense.

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The Texans boast some explosive offensive weapons. They are led by Watson at QB, former Cardinal do it all RB David Johnson, WR's Will Fuller, Brandon Cooks, Kenny Stills, and Randall Cobb, and a powerful OL led by LT Laremy Tunsell. Htman's Defensive Keys to a victory:

1. Contain DeShawn Watson.  Watson can give defenses nightmares both running and passing.  He has a tendency to hold onto the ball and try to create plays. Hit him and hold onto him. The ravens harassed him and the Chiefs had success as well. Watson has thrown for 528 yards 2 TD and 2 INT in two games against arguably the two best and toughest opponents in the AFC and possibly NFL.

2. Don't let the WR's run wild. Fuller, Cooks, Cobb and  Kenny Stills can wreck absolute havoc in the secondary. Cooks and Stills have had success in the past against the Steelers on other teams. The first two weeks the Steelers secondary has not been as strong as it typically was/can be. They gave up deep passes in both games against Denver and NY Giants. The four WR's have been held in check and is probably why the Texans are win less. The four have a combined 24 catches, 325 yards, 13.54 ypc avg and 0 TD's.

3. Continue to play good run defense. Johnson is a two way threat running and receiving. Johnson has run the ball 22 times in two games with 111 yards, 5.1 avg. and 1 TD.He's caught 5 passes for 48 yards 0 TD's. The Steelers played an unreal level of run defense against the Giants, allowed the Broncos some success running with Gordon early, but put the clamps on him later in the game. Some of his success came with the success Denver had mixing it up and passing well. I believe that the Texans will try to duplicate some of the success that Denver had with their offensive approach. 

4. Watson's favorite target has been TE Jordan Akins who has 9 receptions 94 yards and 1 TD.  He is not Noah Fant or Eric Enrgram, but the Steelers would be wise to provide better coverage against the TE than they did this past Sunday versus Denver. 

5. Get off the field on third down.  Very few three and outs these first two weeks. The opposing QB's have had some success extending drives and converting on third down.

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Steelers On Offense: 

The Steelers offense can't let JJ Watt and the Texans defense get a leg up on them. 

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The Texans are led by JJ Watt big brother of Steelers Derek and TJ Watt. The Texans boast a solid defense who has been gassed by two of the best young QB's in the NFL.  Here's to hoping that they continue to fall prey to great QB play facing the Steelers Big Ben.  In the secondary the Texans have solid CB's led by former Bronco Bradley Roby, Lonnie Johnson, former Buccaneer Vernon Hargraves III and Phillip Johnson. Their safeties are Eric Murray and Justin Reid. The LB'ers are physical lead by Whitney Mercilus and leading tackler Zach Cunningham. Offensive Keys to Victory:

1. OL has to establish the run.  The Texans have five sacks, but are very capable of rushing the QB. After playing against Patrick Mahomes and LaMaar Jackson, the are salivating to get at a traditional drop back QB who is not nearly as mobile. Connor and Snell are more power backs, but this may be the game to add a few wrinkles with the speedy rookie Anthony McFarland.

2. Ball Security. The Steelers have turned it over in 25 straight games.  This has put more pressure on the defense.  Be patient and play smart. A punt may not be horrible at times.  Three yards and keeping the ball for another down is better than six yards and a fumble. Take care of the ball and be smart with decisions.  Both Benny Snell and Dionte Johnson have put the ball on the ground in both games and each has turned it over at least once. 

3. Eliminate early down negative plays.  The offense can probably convert third and three 75% of the time and third and nine 35%-45% of the time. Penalties and negative plays on first down set a bad tone for the offense to consistently get in rhythm and convert. First play of the game against Denver Dionte Johnson fumbles and the Steelers offense is second and 16. They come up a few yards short on a third down pass to Ju Ju and the ball is going back in the Denver offene's hands. 

4. Help the defense out. The defense is playing very well considering, but a similar trend occurred last year early of keeping the defense on the field and not always complimenting the good plays. The offense did a better job of converting turnovers into points the first two games, but not extending drives and keeping the defense off the field as much against the Bronco's. It almost cost the team a victory.

 

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5. Finish the game strong on offense.  The first two games the Steelers offense could have closed out both the Giants and Broncos early in the fourth quarter. They failed to do so in both games and needed late surges to secure victory. If they can get up on the Texans, FINISH THEM! The defense should be able to do their part and make life a living hell for an opposing offense trying to come back with the defense coming after them.

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Special Teams: Much better performance overall than week one.

1. Give Danny Smith a break.  The ST coach has taken his share of criticism and some deserving. But the coverage teams, return teams, kicking, and punting were all solid and better than average against the Broncos.

2. Ray Ray McCloud looks like he's gonna break one soon. He had a nice return and seems to be very elusive. His ball security has also been a plus early as well. He has also been in on the coverage teams.

3. Dionte Johnson much better effort fielding punts and showed what he is capable of doing with a few good returns and unfortunately, one called back due to a push in the back penalty on Cam Sutton that was a close one.

4. No problems with the snapper, holder and kicker. Colquitt made a nice grab on a slightly off center for a FG. Boz is Boz and Colquitt seemed to improve as the day went on. I was concerned with some of the line drive type punts last week and early this game. The coverage teams were solid.

5. Offensive shout out to Chuks and rookie Dotson who both played a very solid game at RT and RG. They will face a stiffer test with the powerful JJ Watt this week.

Injury Report to be posted after Wednesday's Practice

Prediction: I am drinking the Steelers Fandom Kool Aid and dissing the Steelers Hatorade.  We are currently 2 - 0 when we were 0-3 after week three last year and we lost our franchise QB. They were on the road last year and this year they are at home. Give me the home cooking early.  I am going for the about face (180* record turn). The Steelers make the Texans 0 - 3.   Steelers  over Texans 30 - 24  

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Nice write up as usual, Hitman. I think a key to this game might be the running game. The Texans have some pretty beefy linebackers, but their DL(outside of Watt obviously) aren't super scary. I think we need to roll out a ground and pound gameplan. Utilize Watt, and run Conner. Eventually loosen up the defense and start hitting them with playaction and deep passes. I wish we had any kind of talent in the screen game, because those would be useful Sunday. 

I also think Watt should feast on Howard, their RT. Dupree might have a tougher row to hoe against Tunsil. I hope Bush continues making strides in coverage against backs. He's been good at that aspect, and David Johnson can beat teams in the passing game. I'd expect them to come out and try to get us to over pursue. Denver had some success with this and Houston has a far superior offense. 

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I think Edmunds, Bud, and Bush are going to need to play really well. We need their speed to contain Watson. 

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If I had to guess I’d say Will Fuller is going to be out. Looked like he was getting his hamstring worked on yesterday. I like our chances against a WR group consisting of Cooks, Stills, and the corpse of Randall Cobb 

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10 minutes ago, bigben07MVP said:

I’d say Will Fuller is going to be out

You cant see it, but this is my shocked face. No, no, it looks nothing like my normal face, totally different. 

Will Fuller is always the guy I looked at whenever someone said James Connor is injury prone. Conner gets hurt running into people all over his body. Fuller pulls a hammy just thinking about the route tree. Such a fun talent, such a mind numbing availability schedule.

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Good write up, except the "give Danny Smith a break" part.    He had been horrid for years.   One game don't change that.

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16 hours ago, MOSteelers56 said:

Nice write up as usual, Hitman. I think a key to this game might be the running game. The Texans have some pretty beefy linebackers, but their DL (outside of Watt obviously) aren't super scary. I think we need to roll out a ground and pound gameplan.

Thank you. Just trying to do my part to help the forum out. I agree with your approach completely.

The balanced approach would make this offense outright scary. Right now they need to find some consistency for four quarters. They do a lot of shooting in the foot and feet of their teammates.  Aside from the first quarter of the Giants game the OL has really gotten a solid push in both games.  The Broncos tied up the run through some adjustments, but the team also did not consistently pound them giving Connors 16 carries and Snell 3 carries.  They ideally there would have been 11 - 15 more rushes in a games. Ironically Ben dropped back to throw the ball 42 times (getting sacked once) and if the rushing game were effective, his attempts would have been between 30 -33 times. We then have some pretty ridiculous balance and effectiveness. The ball security has to be more of a priority with the backs. That is something that can be fixed with coaching and the ball-carriers mindset.

Utilize Watt, and run Conner.

Watt is a great FB and has some versatility to do more than just block. They have him, so use him. From a perception standpoint, it seems like the team had more success running with him in the game. I have nothing against Snell. I think he can be an effective change of pace back for Connor despite not having a widely different running style. He just needs to hold onto the football. I would really like to see them use McFarland for a play or two as they do Chase. He is fast and can do some things to help the offense in the right situations. 

Eventually loosen up the defense and start hitting them with playaction and deep passes.

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The rushing attack will put the defense on its heels and more importantly extend drives, eat up the clock, keep our defense fresh and at worst flip the field or at best score!!!! Once this offense gets some confidence and consistency look out for this team. The offense and defense will compliment one another and they will be very difficult to beat. Right now with the untimely penalties, turnovers and negative plays, they are fortunate they haven't beaten themselves. 

I wish we had any kind of talent in the screen game, because those would be useful Sunday. 

A definite head scratcher for me. They had some success when Bell was here, but they have never been great with the screen since the days of Fast Willie Parker. This is where I think dressing McFarland may help or even putting Chase at RB and then getting Pouncey and hopefully DeCastro out in front of him. Both OL's run well and Claypool has shown what he is capable of doing with the ball in his hands. 

I also think Watt should feast on Howard, their RT. Dupree might have a tougher row to hoe against Tunsil.

Bud has played very well the first two weeks and now the level of competition jumps. Let's see if he can continue to play with the same high level results against a world class LT. 

I hope Bush continues making strides in coverage against backs. He's been good at that aspect, and David Johnson can beat teams in the passing game. I'd expect them to come out and try to get us to over pursue. Denver had some success with this and Houston has a far superior offense. 

Bush has definitely improved from last year and looks more comfortable out there. I think that this could be a game where a good Steelers offense makes for a great Steelers defense. No doubt the Texans have weapons and we certainly hope this isn't the week that they put it all together after two tough games. 

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52 minutes ago, wwhickok said:

We got this

I think we will win too. This defense handled mobile QBs fairly well last year. Granted Kyler was a rookie. 

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I've fully committed to the Hilton Hype Wagon. I think I'd try to re-sign him over Sutton if we have to choose between the two. Unless he chases a massive payday, which he's on his way to earning. I think he fits our defense to a T. I'm hoping Layne can develop well to replace Haden and maybe we can find another mid round guy, like Sutton, to develop into the #3 CB/FS guy. I'm not sure we're going to find a guy like Hilton. 

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56 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

I've fully committed to the Hilton Hype Wagon. I think I'd try to re-sign him over Sutton if we have to choose between the two. Unless he chases a massive payday, which he's on his way to earning. I think he fits our defense to a T. I'm hoping Layne can develop well to replace Haden and maybe we can find another mid round guy, like Sutton, to develop into the #3 CB/FS guy. I'm not sure we're going to find a guy like Hilton. 

Welcome, brother!

Ill continue beating the Mike Hilton is better than (or at least equal too) Jamal Adams drum. 

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7 hours ago, wwhickok said:

We got this

why so sure? History has shown  we can lose any week, and often vs opponents that would be considered not nearly as good.  Always a concern with this team over the tomlin era

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32 minutes ago, 3rivers said:

why so sure? History has shown  we can lose any week, and often vs opponents that would be considered not nearly as good.  Always a concern with this team over the tomlin era

I just don't see how Houston can win this game. Their RBs are terrible, their WRs are terrible, their defense outside of a couple of players is terrible, their coaches are among the worst in the league. I get the whole playing down to  Competition but I feel really call this is going to be different

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