NFL Week 4 Scouting Report: Steelers at Houston Texans
Steel City Underground will provide fans in Steelers Nation a pre-game scouting report of each of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ opponents during each week of the 2023 NFL regular season, comprised of items from top storylines and insights.
After a road victory in Week 3 of the 2023 NFL regular season against the Las Vegas Raiders, and a long layover in Kansas City due to plane issues on their flight home, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be visiting the Houston Texans in Week 4.
Here we’ll look at the news and storylines coming out of Houston ahead of the game on Sunday, October 1.
Everyone’s talking about “C.J.”
The new ranger in town has become rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, and the NFL and Texans fans can’t seem to get enough. Even his own teammates can’t say enough about what the mobile gunslinger has done for a Houston team that was mired in the mud in 2022.
“We drafted the right guy. Man, he’s a leader. He’s a phenomenal player and a phenomenal guy with God-given talent. Dude, he’s unbelievable.” – TE Brevin Jordan
Stroud, the second-overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, currently holds a stat line that reads like this: 78-of-121 passes completed for 906 yards, four passing touchdowns, zero interceptions, a completion percentage of 64.5, longest pass for 68 yards, and a rating of 98.0.
Stroud has become the first rookie in league history to throw for 900+ yards without an interception through their first three career starts.
What we've seen from #texans rookie QB C.J. Stroud is fantastic growth every week. When the thought inside the building, 3 games into your career, is your team has a chance to win every week because you're at QB … is a really good sign. My report on @nflnetwork and #NFLPlus pic.twitter.com/HeOV9NEFnc
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 26, 2023
Where things get interesting – at least when it comes to facing the Steelers – is that Stroud has been sacked 11 times in the same span for a loss of 98 yards. Left tackle Josh Jones is expected to miss the game on Sunday due to a hand injury, and Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil remains sidelined with a lingering knee injury and isn’t on track to play per multiple sources.
Although Stroud can get mobile, he hasn’t put up big numbers on the ground. He’s usually utilized his feet to stay out of trouble and get the ball out.
With T.J. Watt on pace to exceed 30 sacks this season – he already has 6.0 – and Alex Highsmith pumped on the other end of the pass rush with a huge game in Week 2, 1.0 sacks, and four quarterback hits, can Stroud overcome that to be successful? Time will tell.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) September 27, 2023
Both the Texans and Steelers have a significant list of players with injuries, some more serious than others. For Houston to succeed, they need to get some defensive stops to help Stroud and the offense should the o-line not hold up against Pittsburgh’s onslaught.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 27, 2023
Tank is getting noticed
Tank Dell has built a rapport with Stroud, and the Steelers will need to figure out how to shut down that connection. Here’s one way not to do it.
While it looks like the safety is trying to communicate an adjustment and CJ Stroud gets the snap off early, this is probably the last time you see safeties in the box with outside shade CBs against Tank Dell.
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) September 25, 2023
For everyone, including Houston fans who were hilariously admitting they had no clue, Dell’s first name is actually Nathaniel. You’re welcome.
For the bulletin board
“They got to play us too,” said Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud when asked about playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. “We are not just going to lay down and submit.” #Texans #Sarge @TheTexansWire pic.twitter.com/M6UHz5P9ay
— #SARGE (@BigSargeSportz) September 27, 2023
— Kay Adams (@heykayadams) September 25, 2023
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 21, 2023