(Reuters) - The Pittsburgh Steelers needed less than three minutes to score 24 unanswered points in the second-quarter to help them beat the Houston Texans 30-23 on Monday.
A mixture of trick plays and improbable bounces jolted Pittsburgh from a 13-0 deficit to a 24-13 lead in a span of 2:54, which erased an ugly start for the home side, who had been initially booed by their own fans.
“We fought through some adversity,” Pittsburgh quarter Ben
Roethlisberger told reporters after he threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns.
“You don’t expect to score that many points that fast. It was crazy.”
Wide receiver Antonio Brown also threw for a surprise touchdown while Le‘Veon Bell added 145 total yards and a receiving score.
Arian Foster rushed for 102 yards and had a receiving touchdown for Houston but also had a costly fumble as the Texans were plagued by three turnovers.
Pro Bowl defensive lineman J.J. Watt dominated early for the Texans with a sack and a fumble recovery, but his team never recovered from Pittsburgh’s second-quarter outburst.
”We can’t allow 24 points in (three minutes),“ Watt said. If we can stop shooting ourselves in the foot I think well be alright.”
Pittsburgh’s spark began when Roethlisberger lofted a 35-yard pass to Martavis Bryant, who made the first catch of his NFL career to pull the Steelers to 13-10.
On the Texans’ next possession, Foster fumbled to give the home side the ball at the Houston three-yard line.
Pittsburgh then capitalized with a play that saw Brown take a hand-off, reverse the field and throw a touchdown pass to Lance Moore.
On Houston’s next play from scrimmage, defensive end Brett Keisel tipped a pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and intercepted it after it ricocheted off Foster.
It resulted in a two-yard scoring connection from Roethlisberger to Bell that gave the Steelers their 24-13 halftime cushion.
Shaun Suisham kicked two of his three field goals in the second half to put the Steelers ahead 30-16 with about three minutes left.
Houston responded with a drive and a one-yard touchdown pass to Foster, but they could not recover their final onside kick attempt.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury