Tough day at the office: It was a tough day at the office for the Steelers on Sunday, suffering a 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans.
"Not a good day at the office for us from an agenda standpoint," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We didn't do a lot of things that we desire to do. We didn't stop a lot of things we thought they desired to do, and thus the outcome."
The defense gave up 451 yards of offense, including allowing 306 yards passing by Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud on just 16 completions. Tomlin pointed to the Texans ability to run the ball as a major factor, with 139 yards on the day.
"They ran the ball with consistency on us, throughout," said Tomlin. "We differed in an effort to get ourselves off to a fast start potentially and I thought they did a nice job of establishing tempo and they ran the ball on us. We gotta be better versus the run. We're not gonna get what we desire to get defensively until we settle the run down. We didn't do that today.
"They were in manageable possession downs. You don't get them one dimensional. You don't get an opportunity for splash, the splash that we thrive on. It's moot points until we get better at stopping the run, making the pile fall the correct direction. It's not dramatic, but it's just the direction of which the pile was falling. They stayed on schedule, and we just got to be better in that regard.
"They ran the football. And so, they deserve a lot of credit for that. They ran that football with some backups in there. And stayed on schedule and minimized our opportunities. We just got to do a better job against the run for sure."
The offense was only able to manage two field goals on the day and never really got anything going consistently.
"It's like we talked about it the early portions of the week, that's a fundamentalist group," said Tomlin of the Texans defense. "They do a really good job of minimizing splash and making you operate and making you be efficient. And to be quite honest, we weren't efficient enough. We didn't minimize enough negativity. We didn't stay on schedule enough. So, drives get stalled, or you settle for field goals. And so, it was a perfect storm for us offensively and defensively from that perspective. They established a running play behind it on their offense. They created inefficient things, and we didn't work efficiently on the other side of the ball, and thus the outcome. So, we got a lot of work to do.
"I just thought that we didn't operate efficiently enough. Penalties and so forth, negativity. It took us too long to get the run game going and that's kind of a synopsis of it."
Sitting at 2-2, Tomlin was asked if he would contemplate any changes moving forward.
"(Heck) yeah, we gotta make some changes," said Tomlin. "That was an ugly product we put out there today and so we're not going to do the same things and hope for a different outcome. What those changes are, we'll put together a plan in preparation this week."
The Steelers took a beating on the injury front with quarterback Kenny Pickett (knee), tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring), offensive lineman Dan Moore Jr. (knee) and defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal (concussion) all leaving the game and not returning. Tomlin didn't have updates on the injuries after the game.
Mitch Trubisky came in after the injury to Pickett and when asked if he felt comfortable with him, Tomlin replied, "certainly."
Not a good combination: One of the topics from the Steelers' defenders leading up to the Texans game was the importance of staying in their gaps.
After the game, that was one of the first areas linebacker T.J. Watt pointed to where they didn't perform the way they had hoped.
"We were out of gaps," said Watt. "We didn't tackle in the backfield. That combination leads to what you saw out there today."
Those were both areas where the Steelers were strong a week ago against the Raiders, hoping to continue that trend moving forward. Watt wasn't sure why it didn't pan out this week, knowing they have to take a good look at the tape and try to figure it out fast with the Baltimore Ravens on deck.
"Go back, watch the film and see where the short fallings were," said Watt. "I personally didn't play well at all today so I'm sure that's part of it. And I think we just have to look at the film and make adjustments and move forward."
Quarterback C.J. Stroud wasn't sacked once during the game, something that is outside of the norm when facing the Steelers defense, and Watt in particular, who went into the game with an NFL-leading six sacks.
"I think every single week you're going to see different types of things," said Watt. "I don't want to take any credit away from him. He played a great game. He was getting the ball out quick, was getting the ball in his playmakers hands, was able to extend some plays and they were able to run the ball which controlled the time of possession and the tempo of the whole game."
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