After starting the season 0-2, the Houston Texans desperately needed to bounce back and get a win on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers to keep their season alive. Thanks to some late mistakes and missed opportunities, however, the Texans shot themselves in the foot, falling 28-21 to the Steelers, and to 0-3 on the season.
Unlike the previous two weeks, Houston had every chance to put a chokehold on this game in the fourth quarter, leading 21-20 with 13:27 to go in the fourth quarter, and the ball in Steeler territory.
Instead, and almost predictably, the Texans gave the game away, with Deshaun Watson throwing an interception after being flushed out of the pocket with pressure.
That interception turned the momentum of the game on its head, and squarely back into Pittsburgh's direction, as 12 plays and seven minutes later, the Steelers were in the end zone and up 28-21.
The Texans were unable to respond from there, with Watson getting sacked for yet another big loss, which, coupled with a costly penalty, put the Texans in third-and-impossible.
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The Texans then punted the ball away, leaving things in the hands of their struggling defense. The Steelers marched down the field yet again, draining the clock, and putting the game away, ending a scoreless second half for Houston.
"I don't think so,'' coach Bill O'Brien said of his club's demeanor. "We have a really veteran team. I don't think anybody is panicking. 0-3 isn't where we want to be. Urgency. There's no panic. We've got to get over the hump here.''
For Houston, Sunday was the eighth time in the last nine games dating back to the 2019 regular season and playoffs that the team scored 24 points or fewer. The team has not scored more than 30 points in a regular-season game dating all the way back to Oct. 13, 2019, when it beat the eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs, 31-24, at Arrow Head Stadium.
Following the loss, the Texans will return home as they welcome a struggling Minnesota Vikings team (0-3) to NRG Stadium for a noon kickoff on Fox.
"We've got to try to get better,'' O'Brien said, "and try to get a win this week.''