More than one Steelers scribe (the ones who actually, um, get paid to be Steelers scribes) wrote this past week that the Steelers lacked a killer instinct on defense.
Both the defense and the offense showed a killer instinct in Sunday’s 28-21 win over the Texans at Heinz Field.
After getting sliced and diced by Deshaun Watson for 21 points in the first half, the defense shut out the Texans in the second half.
The offense, meanwhile, showed some killer instinct of its own. James Conner gave the Steelers a 26-21 lead on a 12-yard touchdown run with 6:24 left. Conner followed up last week’s 106-yard game with a 109-yard performance Sunday. How’s that James Conner-Le’Veon Bell debate going now?
JuJu Smith-Schuster caught the 2-point conversion to make it 28-21, the defense forced a three-and-out and got to sit and watch for the final 4:47 of the game while the offense put the game away.
The Steelers (3-0) showed some surprisingly creative play-calling Sunday, going for it on fourth down twice in the game. That included a 7-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to James Washington on fourth-and-1 from the Texans’ 35 with 3:11 left. Then on third-and-9 from the Texans’ 27 with 2:19 left, Roethlisberger threw in the flat to rookie Chase Claypool for a 24-yard gain that essentially clinched the victory.
Washington and Claypool aren’t exactly Roethlisberger’s most trusted receivers. The latter had at least one drop in the game. But that’s who the quarterback had to go to to keep Watson and the winless Texans’ offense off the field.
Those gambles paid off and the Steelers are 3-0 for the first time since 2010, the last year they reached the Super Bowl.
They haven’t been 4-0 since 1979. Getting that fourth win won’t be easy next week. The Steelers visit the Titans (3-0), who won at New England in the playoffs last year and ended the Tom Brady Era in New England.
Follow Mike @Steel_Tweets.