September 18, 2005
David Carr Ducks for Cover
Steelers 27 – Texans 7
After a dominating win in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field, the Steelers were brimming with confidence heading into Week 2. So when the future Super Bowl XL Champions took their act on the road to Reliant Stadium to play what would eventually turn out to be the worst team in the league that year, they were primed to administer an ass-kicking.
I’ll never forget this game because it was right after I had moved to Hawai’i and I decided to go out to a sports bar to see it because I wanted to get out and about that day. Since I had been living in Honolulu at the time and didn’t know the area very well, I figured I’d check out a bar and grill in Waikiki and take in the Steelers game. I was glad I did, because when I got to the establishment there were some Steelers fans there ready to watch the game as well. Since I have spent my entire life West of the Rockies, I was used to being an outsider as a Steelers fan. However, I appreciated the fact that there were others like me and I had a good time watching the game with a few other members of Steeler Nation.
To be honest, the Steelers were literally firing on all cylinders in every aspect at that point early in the season. Former UDFA Willie Parker had just emerged as the newest Steeler star at RB, Big Ben was playing intelligent football much like he had done during his magical rookie season, and the Defense had limited the Titans to 7 total points in their Week 1 dominant win. The Texans on the other hand entered their home opener reeling after a loss in Week 1 and didn’t look like they were able to handle the usual pre-season hype and expectations that we have come to know, love, and be sick of over the last half decade.
The Steelers picked up right where they left off against Tennessee, and stormed down the field to take a 3-0 lead on the strength of a 37 yard Jeff Reed Field Goal. Instead of responding with authority, Houston completely killed themselves on their first possession of the game. David Carr fumbled the ball after being sacked deep in his own territory, and the Steelers took over with some cake field position. Big Ben then went right to work after the turnover, and found his favorite target in Hines Ward for a 16 yard TD! By the end of the 1st Quarter, the Steelers had already built a comfortable 10-0 lead and were hungry for more points.
The 2nd Quarter saw more Pittsburgh success as they scored the next 10 points on another Ben to Hines TD pass that covered 14 yards, and a 20 yard Jeff Reed Field Goal. By the time the gun sounded for Half Time, the Steelers were shutting out the Texans on their own home turf 20-0! It was truly a thing of beauty to watch this team playing mistake-free and efficient football (0 turnovers), and a lot of kudos deserved to go to then-Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Much like he did throughout his career as O.C. in the Steel City, Ken called one hell of a game and the Offense was methodical all day long.
Houston did attempt to get back in the game on their first drive of the 2nd Half. Carr to his credit, actually got the Offense rolling for the first and only time of the day. The drive finally culminated on a 3 yard TD pass from Carr to RB Domanick Williams, and suddenly the Texans found themselves back in the game down 20-7 midway through the 3rd Quarter. All the Texans needed was one stop and score to put the heat on the Steelers, but Ben Roethlisberger would have none of that garbage.
Like the true Champions that they were that season, the Steelers stood firm and ended the game on their following possession. Aided by some nifty running by Parker, and a bomb to WR Cedrick Wilson, the Steelers put the game out of reach on one foul swoop when Parker scored on a 10 yard TD run. Now up 27-7 late in the 3rd Quarter the Steelers coasted to an easy win on the back of their Defense.
Probably the most awesome statistic from that afternoon was the 8 sacks the Steelers accumulated. Troy Polamalu led the way with 3 of them and literally had poor Carr crapping himself all day long. Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau also sent his DB’s at Carr a lot that day because CB’s Ricardo Colclough and Deshea Townsend registered a sack apiece as well. The Steelers really stuck it to Houston’s much maligned O-Line, and they could not find a way to quell the rising tide of Steeler Defenders that looked to be everywhere that day.
In a nutshell (at least to me), this game was most indicative of David Carr’s career in Houston. I honestly felt sorry for the poor bastard because he was just getting beaten mercilessly that day by the Steeler Defense. It was one of the many beatings that Carr took during his 5 year stint with the Texans who never invested the appropriate time or money into protecting their 1st ever Draft pick. How the Steelers harassed Carr that day made me even turn away a couple of times because I was so sympathetic for him. David Carr is the perfect example (or Tim Couch, your choice) of how no matter how good a QB is, if he can’t be protected and has absolutely no weapons around him on an expansion franchise, he doesn’t (and will never) stand a chance to succeed in the N.F.L..