The Steelers are 3-0 for the first time in a decadeSeptember 27, 2020 10:46pm

Sept. 27-- PITTSBURGH-The Steelers started 3-0 for the first time in 10 years and only the third time under Mike Tomlin after their 28-21 comeback victory Sunday against the Houston Texans at Heinz Field.

James Conner rushed for 109 yards, Ben Roethlisberger passed for 237 yards and two touchdowns and the Steelers got big contributions from two of their newest players-tight end Eric Ebron and rookie running back Anthony McFarland Jr.-to start 3-0 for the first time since going to the Super Bowl in 2010.

The Texans (0-3) had leads of 14-3 in the second quarter and 21-17 at halftime, but the Steelers battled back with the second of two Chris Boswell field goals and a 12-yard touchdown by Conner.

The Steelers were at the 3-yard line with two minutes remaining, but Roethlisberger took three consecutive kneel-downs to run out the clock.

It was the third game in a row the Steelers had a 100-yard rusher-the only team in the league to have a 100-yard rusher in every game this season.

After trailing 14-3 in the second quarter, the Steelers came back to take a 28-21 lead with 6:24 remaining when Conner ran 12 yards for a touchdown, capping a 12-play, 79-yard drive that was set up with an interception by cornerback Mike Hilton on a third-down pass by Deshaun Watson.

The drive had a good mix of run and pass. Conner carried four times for 35 yards, Roethlisberger completed 6-of-7 passes for 42 yards and they converted 3-of-3 third-down chances. Roethlisberger also connected with JuJu Smith-Schuster on the two-point conversion.

The Steelers battled back from the 14-3 deficit in the second quarter to retake the lead behind a pair of touchdown passes from Roethlisberger-the second with just 1:14 remaining before halftime. But that was still plenty of time for Watson to lead the Texans on a 75-yard touchdown drive that took just 50 seconds and give them the 21-17 halftime lead.

For the first time this season, the Steelers scored on their first possession when Boswell kicked a 33-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead after an 11-play drive stalled at the Texans 16.

But the Texans wasted little time coming back to take a 7-3 lead when Watson threw the first of his two first-half touchdowns-a 28-yarder to receiver Randall Cobb behind Hilton on third down.

The Texans padded their lead to 14-3 early in the second quarter when David Johnson scored untouched on a 2-yard run around right end. But Watson converted two big third downs on the nine-play drive-a 20-yard pass to receiver Kenny Stills on third-and-6 at the Steelers 32 and a 9-yard throw to receiver Will Fuller on third-and-9 from the 11. Watson was 14 of 18 for 202 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

The Steelers came right back with the 12-play, 75-yard drive that was ignited by a 20-yard run from McFarland on the second play of the series. And it culminated with a 10-yard touchdown catch by Ebron, who made a tumbling grab over safety A.J. Moore in the back right corner of the end zone to make it 14-10. It was Ebron's first touchdown with the Steelers.

The score came one play after Roethlisberger was called for intentional grounding when he threw the ball away on a botched play from the 1. But as he often seems to do in the final minutes of a half, Roethlisberger took them on another 75-yard drive in 84 seconds to retake the lead. It came on a 26-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Smith Schuster to give the Steelers a 17-14 lead with 1:14 remaining before half. Roethlisberger was 5 of 5 for 56 yards on the drive.

Just as they did in the first quarter, the Steelers scored on their first possession of the second half on a 26-yard field goal by Boswell, cutting the Texans' lead to 21-20. It was the third consecutive possession on which the Steelers scored, but they had to settle for a field goal despite converting two fourth-and-1 chances on the drive-the latter on a pass interference penalty.

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(c)2020 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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