Two weeks ago, Pitt alum James Conner appeared to be losing his grip on his starting role with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he reasserted himself as the team’s top running back with a 100-yard game last week and repeated the feat on Sunday. He also scored the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 28-21 win over the Houston Texans.
All told, Conner ran for 109 yards and one touchdown on 18 rushes for an average of 6.1 yards per carry on Sunday. He added 40 more yards on four receptions, bringing his total yards from scrimmage up to 149. That bested his numbers from Pittsburgh’s 26-21 win over Denver last week, when he racked up 106 rushing yards, 15 receiving yards and one touchdown, totaling 121 yards.
Breaking that down further, Conner came up with big gains early in each of the last two games and opened up the scoring for the Steelers against the Broncos. He was also counted on to close out that game and filled that role again on Sunday. But against the Texans, the Steelers were down 21-20 late, and it was Conner who got the ball and was tasked with putting Pittsburgh back on top.
On the game-winning play, Conner got the ball 12 yards out from the end zone on a 2nd-and-6. Steelers left guard Matt Feiler swung to the right edge of the line and blocked Texans linebacker Jacob Martin. That left only Texans safety Justin Reid for Conner to beat, and he rammed past him to take the lead.
Thanks in part to Conner, the Steelers improved to 3-0 on the season on the same weekend that Pitt played to the same record with a 23-20 win over Louisville. 2020 marks the first time the two teams have both reached the 3-0 mark in the same season since 1982. Conner and the Steelers will try to maintain their perfect record next week against the Tennessee Titans after Pitt takes on NC State at Heinz Field.