NFL Team Report - Houston Texans - INSIDE SLANT


When the Pittsburgh Steelers watch tape of the Houston Texans' last two games -- close losses to Dallas and Indianapolis -- they will see a pass defense that surrendered seven completions of at least 30 yards.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receiver Antonio Brown would like to do to a Texans defense that's forced 14 turnovers.

Roethlisberger will try to do what Tony Romo and Andrew Luck did in the Cowboys' 20-17 overtime victory and the Colts' 33-28 win - go deep.

The 10 completions of at least 30 yards are tied for the most in the NFL with Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the New York Jets.

The six completions of at least 40 yards the Texans have allowed are second to the Falcons.

In their first four games, the Texans surrendered only three completions of 30 or more yards.

The problem starts up front, where defensive end J.J. Watt has provided the only consistent pass rush. He leads the team with four sacks. No other player has two. He also has 20 hits on the quarterback - or quarterback pressures.

The Texans are on a pace for 27 sacks, down from 32 last season and a decrease from 40 in each of the previous two seasons.

"It's a collective effort," inside linebacker Brian Cushing said. "We could do a lot of things better.

"Our objective every time we go out there is to get to the quarterback and try to make him as uncomfortable as we can. Everybody's got to step up a little more."

Without persistent pressure from the front seven, even the best defensive backs get beat. But that's no excuse for allowing Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton to toast them for receptions of 40, 49, 37 and 33 yards.

"We've got to take coaching and do what we're supposed to do, play the call and do it right and not try to help other people out," cornerback A.J. Bouye said. "Sometimes it's just we're leaving our assignment trying to make a play and help somebody else, and we've just got to stay disciplined."

The defensive backs have been going for the strip before they make the tackle. Making sure they make the tackle before they go for the strip is a point of emphasis going into the Pittsburgh game.

"Tackling's very important," Bouye said. "We're still going to tackle, still going to try to get the ball and do what we've always been doing. We're just doing what we love to do."

SERIES HISTORY: 5th regular-season meeting. Series tied, 2-2. The Texans won the last game 17-10 at NRG Stadium in 2011. The Texans won the first game 24-6 at Heinz Field in 2002. The Steelers won 27-7 at NRG Stadium in 2005 and 38-17 at Heinz Field in 2008.

-----------------------------------------------

NFL Team Report - Houston Texans - NOTES, QUOTES


--Defensive end J.J. Watt is the fourth player in history and the first since 1961 to score touchdowns on a reception, interception return and fumble return.