Steelers-Texans Post-Mortem

<p>The Texans left the Steelers for dead, at 7-5-1 in first place of the AFC North, by soundly beating them 24-6. This signals the end of Pittsburgh's miserable season as three meaningless games remain on their schedule, all of them well out of reach.</p>

Houston Texans rookie QB David Carr now has four big wins under his belt. Carr was 3 out of 10 passing with 10 net yards and, most critically, no interceptions. RB James Allen chipped in 19 yards on the ground, helping the Texans to no visits to the end zone and also losing 5-yards on one offensive series that resulted in a Kris Brown field goal., one kick that made Cowher struggle to hide his smirk.

Clearly, Carr's big day overshadowed Tommy Maddox's aborted comeback. Maddox continued right where he left off before he was seriously injured in the loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense sputtered all day with Maddox at the helm, limping to 422 yards of total offense.

Maddox's three turnovers (2 interceptions and 1 fumble) went the other way for 21 Texan points and were the difference in the game. Thus, the Steelers could only manage 325 yards through the air and as a result, the running game also struggled, gaining just 128 yards. The Texans pretty much spent the entire day inside the Steelers huddle and exploited Maddox's weaknesses.

A confused and befuddled Maddox misfired all day and his inability to figure out the Texans coverage schemes led to six sacks. Maddox failed, on a number of occasions, to find the open receiver and luckily misfired into to tight coverage. The day could have been much worse.

Waiting in the wings is former starter Kordell Stewart and Bill Cowher left the door open for another QB switch by skirting the question during his post-game news conference. One of TV announcers on the CBS broadcast commented that Cowher knew something was up before the Steelers even kicked off. Did Cowher, too, know that Maddox would not cut it against the Texans?

Whatever the case, Cowher can still return to Stewart for next week's game against the Carolina Panthers and at least figure out if he has a quarterback for the 2003 season. Without a solid QB, the Steelers will simply be relegated to losing to expansion teams.

As bleak as these prospects sound, at the very least the Steelers have figured out the source of their losing ways and know what they must do in the off-season to fix them. As we saw today, as the QB goes so goes the team.

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