Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown carry load in Steelers' win

In a whirlwind three-minute stretch just before halftime, the Pittsburgh Steelers turned a 13-0 deficit into an 11-point lead and held onto to beat the Houston Texans, 30-23, on Monday night. Our takeways:

  1. The Texans were in complete control when Ben Roethlisberger dropped a 35-yard bomb into rookie Martavis Bryant's hands in the back of the end zone with 1:36 left in the second quarter. After Arian Fosterlost a fumble at the 3-yard line, Antonio Brown hit Lance Moore on a trick play for a touchdown. Just seconds later, defensive end Brett Keiseltipped a pass and intercepted it, leading to a two-yard touchdown reception for Le'Veon Bell. The Texans' offense ran one play for each of the Steelers' trio of touchdowns in that 73-second span. It took the Patriots 21 fewer seconds to score 21 points against the Jets in the infamous "butt fumble" game of 2012.
  1. Active for the first time this season, Bryant ate into Markus Wheaton's production and snaps at wide receiver. Roethlisberger took three "shot" plays down the field to Bryant, and the fourth-round size-speed prospect also replaced Wheaton in the red zone. The Steelers are unsettled behind All-Pro-caliber, go-to receiver Brown, with Bryant, Wheaton, Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey all seeing targets. They need at least one of those receivers to step up as a reliable third option in the aerial attack. Bell and Brown are shouldering too much of the load.
  1. Bell joined DeMarco Murray as the only running backs with at least 100 yards from scrimmage in every game this season. Third in rushing with 599 yards, Bell is also in the discussion with Matt Forte, Andre Ellington and Darren Sproles as the best receiving back in the game. The Steelers have no qualms about lining him up out wide or in the slot for a matchup advantage.
  1. The majority of Arian Foster's 102 rushing yards came in the first quarter, with Steelers linebackers continually whiffing on tackles. With the exception of a late-game receiving touchdown, he was shut down thereafter. Recapturing early-career form this season, Foster is second only to Murray with 615 rushing yards despite missing a game with a hamstring injury.
  1. Just four seasons into his career, J.J. Watt broke DeMeco Ryans' franchise record for most recovered fumbles (nine). He dominated the first 25 minutes of the game, with a sack, the fumble recovery and a pair of quarterback hits before the Steelers found a way to contain him in the second half.
  1. Antonio Brown had a 16-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown reversed on replay. From our vantage point, there was no conclusive evidence that it was not a catch. Brown extended to 23 his NFL-record consecutive games with at least five catches and 50 yards.
  1. The Steelers desperately need young linebackers Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones back from injuries. Fitzpatrick had too much time to throw with no pass rush out of Dick LeBeau's defense.
  1. Mike Tomlin opted for the failed hard-count trick followed by a delay-of-game penalty and a punt at the Texans' 41-yard line on 4th-and-inches early in the third quarter. Stop doing this, football coaches. The odds of the defense stopping your offense on the doorstep of field-goal range are much lower than the odds of the other team regaining those 20 to 35 yards of field position in short order.
  1. As underwhelming as the Steelers have been over the past month, only five AFC teams have a better record.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 7 game, and breaks down Peyton Manning's record-breaking night. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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