Tue, 27 Oct 2020

Remembering the First Time in Pittsburgh | Daily Brew

Houston Texans
24 Sep 2020, 04:02 GMT+10

Marc Vandermeer

Pittsburgh is the least visited AFC city in the history of the Texans. Kansas City was tied for this distinction, in regular season games, going into opening night. But having been to KC three times in the last 12 months, including the playoffs, now it feels like they're in the division.

The last time the Texans were in the steel city was a Monday nighter in 2014. Before that, there was a forgettable 2008 opening day loss. But no one associated with the Texans in the early days will ever forget the time Houston was outgained by almost 400 yards on a snowy December day yet came away with a lopsided 24-6 victory.

The 2002 team won only four games. Two of the victims were actually playoff teams, the Giants, in a triumph at NRG Stadium, and Pittsburgh.

There was snow on the ground but not on the field. The air was crisp and the Houston defense was piping hot. Ben Roethlisberger was still at Miami University in Ohio. Tommy Maddox was at the Pittsburgh controls and was having a good year.

Along came a Houston defense that would eventually finish in the middle of the pack despite the 'support' of the lowest rated offense in the league. Aaron Glenn returned interceptions 70 and 65 yards for scores. Kenny Wright returned a fumble 40 yards for a score. And the offense...well, the offense didn't do much at all.

Houston was held to 47 total yards while the Steelers racked up 422. Billy Miller had all three Texans catches. Glenn's two picks almost tied him for most receptions by a Texan.

The stat sheet is an NFL anomaly. The Texans had three first downs, going one for 12 on third down. The Steelers had 24 first downs but gave the ball away five times.

The sub plot in the game was Kris Brown making his only field goal attempt one season after Pittsburgh showed him the door.

Going into the game, the inevitable story lines of Houston returning to the site of so many Oiler nightmares played like an Usher hit (he was big that year, kids). The outcome was surprising and the way it happened, shocking.

The game was the Steelers' only loss in a six game stretch to end the regular season on the way to a defeat in the divisional round.

A game like this is unlikely to ever happen again. When you ask the players on the early Texans teams what game stands out in their memories, of course the opening night win over Dallas is first but this one is right up there near the top.

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