Texans Lead Steelers 21-17 at Halftime


Joe Sargent/Getty Images Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Heinz Field on September 27, 2020.

The Pittsburgh Steelers started slowly during Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, falling behind 14-3 before scoring touchdowns on back-to-back drives to take a 17-14 lead.

Both scores were touchdown passes from Ben Roethlisberger, first an 11-yarder to tight end Eric Ebron and then a 25-yarder to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. It was Ebron’s first touchdown as a member of the Steelers.

Here’s the touchdown celebration that was instigated by Ebron:

And here’s the celebration that was authored by Smith-Schuster:

After that Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson led the Texans on a five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took just fifty seconds. The drive was capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Will Fuller, allowing Houston to regain the lead with less than a minute to go in the first half.

Houston’s 21-17 halftime lead is notable insofar as the Texans are 37-3 when leading at halftime under head coach Bill O’Brien (since 2014).

In a nice moment, J.J. Watt and T.J. Watt embraced at midfield before the game.

In the first half the Steelers defense extended its streak of getting at least one sack to 60 games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Ben Roethlisberger vs. Deshaun Watson

Ben Roethlisberger completed 11 of 18 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Pittsburgh’s leading receiver at the midway mark was Smith-Schuster, who caught three passes for 43 yards and one TD. Ebron also caught three passes for 33 yards and a TD. Roethlisberger is trying to improve on his 4-1 career record vs. the Texans.

Deshaun Watson was 14 of 18 for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Receivers Randall Cobb and Will Fuller caught three passes each for 61 and 40 yards, respectively, with each contributing a TD reception. Watson became the second QB with 200-plus passing yards, two-plus passing TDs and zero interceptions in a first half vs. the Steelers in the past five seasons. The only other quarterback to accomplish the same is Tom Brady.

Pittsburgh Steelers Injuries

In terms of injuries, the Steelers lost fullback Derek Watt to a hamstring injury; he is questionable to return.

In addition, wide receiver Diontae Johnson is being evaluated for a concussion and his return is considered questionable as well.

Johnson had one carry for nine yards before being knocked out of the game. He was targeted twice by Roethlisberger but didn’t have a catch.

Around the AFC North

In today’s other AFC North games, the Cleveland Browns lead Washington 17-7 at the half and the winless Cincinnati Bengals lead the Philadelphia Eagles 10-6.

Bengals QB Joe Burrow has been taking a beating, including this hard hit by Malik Jackson that drew a roughing the passer penalty, though it’s not clear why it was a foul.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings lead the Tennessee Titans 17-9 at intermission. The Steelers visit Nashville next weekend to take on the Titans, who are attempting to remain undefeated.

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