|Date of game: 10/20/2014
Recap: Pittsburgh vs. Houston
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - You could almost hear the frustration at Heinz Field as the Pittsburgh Steelers trailed the Houston Texans by 13 points midway through the second quarter.
But after sitting in stunned silence for nearly two hours, the home fans found themselves waiving their Terrible Towels in celebration of a lightning-quick turnaround.
LeVeon Bell sparked a string of 24 straight points in a 2:54 span near the end of the first half as the Steelers downed the Texans, 30-23, on Monday.
Bell amassed 145 yards from scrimmage and caught a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger, who shook off a slow start and finished with 265 yards and two scores through the air.
"We always believe and have faith regardless of how its going," said Roethlisberger. "We believe in ourselves and we found a way to get it done."
The Steelers (4-3) bounced back from last week's loss in Cleveland and improved to 8-0 on "Monday Night Football" at Heinz Field.
Arian Foster gained 102 yards on 20 carries and caught a late TD pass for the Texans (3-4), who had a chance to recover an onside kick inside the two-minute warning but ultimately dropped their third straight game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 262 yards with two TDs and an interception.
Pittsburgh's offense was stuck in neutral before Bell took a short pass over the middle and turned it upfield for a 43-yard gain with under six minutes to go in the first half. Up to that point, the Steelers had gained just 49 yards.
Shaun Suisham booted a 44-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 13-3, and the Steelers' defense forced a three-and-out and two turnovers in the final three minutes of the half.
After Bell's 28-yard catch-and-run moved Pittsburgh to the opposing 35-yard line, Martavis Bryant got behind the secondary and reeled in Roethlisberger's pass in the back of the end zone for his first catch in his first career game.
Replay officials ruled Foster lost a fumble at his own 3-yard line on the next drive, and the Steelers quickly scored on a wide receiver pass with 1:03 left in the half. Antonio Brown went in motion, took an end-around pitch, reversed his field back to the left and threw in traffic to Lance Moore for the TD.
Armed with all three of their timeouts, the Texans opted to air it out and the decision backfired, as Fitzpatrick's pass was tipped by Brett Keisel, caromed off Lawrence Timmons' helmet and bounced back to Keisel for the interception.
"It's nice to be able to make a play, but its a team game," said Keisel. "We win as a team, and today was a nice team win for us."
Bell hauled in Roethlisberger's 2-yard pass at the right front pylon with 14 seconds on the clock, giving the Steelers a 24-13 lead.
"It was a terrible second quarter and we couldn't come back from it," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said. "The whole thing is frustrating."
The break stunted any momentum for Pittsburgh, but the Texans did not capitalize. They settled for a Randy Bullock 31-yard field goal with 11:47 remaining in regulation, and Suisham made it a two-possession game with a 30- yard kick six minutes later.
Brown caught a 30-yard pass to set up the field goal and had a touchdown catch called back later in the drive. He finished with nine catches for 90 yards and extended his NFL record of at least five catches to 23 straight games.
Suisham tacked on a 40-yarder following a DeAndre Hopkins fumble, and Foster's 1-yard TD catch with 1:31 to go gave the Texans hope.
The ball bounced around for awhile on the ensuing onside kick and scooted to the Pittsburgh 36-yard line before Steelers third-string tight end Michael Palmer recovered to seal the victory.
The forgettable finish spoiled a fast start for the Texans, who had gone scoreless in the first quarter their previous four games.
Alfred Blue capped Houston's 10-play, 94-yard opening drive with his first career TD, as he caught a dump off pass and went in untouched from the 11.
Roethlisberger tried escaping the grasp of Whitney Mercilus on the ensuing possession, but the linebacker knocked the ball loose and the omnipresent J.J. Watt quickly jumped on top of it at the Pittsburgh 46.
Bullock split the uprights from 39 yards out, then added a 38-yarder midway through the second quarter to make it a 13-0 game.Game Notes
Pittsburgh is 25-5 all-time at home on Monday Night Football ... Watt became
Houston's all-time leader in fumble recoveries with nine, passing current
Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans ... Houston's Andre Johnson caught five passes
for 77 yards and moved into 14th place on the NFL's all-time receiving yards
list, passing Hall-of-Famer Steve Largent (13,089) ... With his second punt,
Shane Lechler moved past Bryan Barker (1,132) for the 11th most punts in NFL
history ... Texans rookie linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, still recovering from
knee surgery, missed his sixth straight game.