Quarterback Warren Moon’s unexpectedly quick return from a fractured shoulder blade gave Houston a shot in the arm, but the Oilers manhandled Pittsburgh mostly because the Steelers kept shooting themselves in the foot.
Moon, playing for the first time in 6 weeks, threw a pair of touchdown passes and Houston turned 2 blocked punts and 4 Pittsburgh turnovers into 28 points Sunday as the Oilers won, 34-14.
Moon threw scoring passes of 43 yards to Ernest Givins and 24 yards to Drew Hill, while Mike Rozier and Allen Pinkett scored on short runs as Houston (5-2) moved to within a game of AFC Central leader Cincinnati.
Despite Steeler Coach Chuck Noll’s pregame complaints that Glanville intentionally teaches dirty tactics, there were no major incidents. Houston, the NFL’s most-penalized team, had 10 penalties for 105 yards, and the Steelers had 10 penalties for 58 yards.
The Steelers (1-6), whose 6-game losing streak is their longest since a 13-game skid in 1969, were swept at home this season by the 3 division rivals--Houston, Cincinnati and Cleveland--for the first time since division play started in 1970.
“I’m not proud of anything after this game. . . . We have some deep-seated problems and it comes from not believing in ourselves,” Noll said. “I don’t have to look at the movies to smell this one. We didn’t play well, obviously. We couldn’t move it on offense and couldn’t stop them on defense.
“Everyone shares the blame. No one takes refuge from this one.”
Said running back Frank Pollard: “It’s pretty bad right now. This was one of the worst games I’ve ever seen. We’ve got to keep playing, because if we don’t it can only get worse.”
Rozier, carrying all but twice on a 12-play, 75-yard drive, scored on a 2-yard run on Houston’s first series for a 6-0 lead before the Steelers were buried by special teams breakdowns, 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles.