PITTSBURGH — No NFL team ever played worse on offense and won. What made the difference was very few teams -- much less an expansion one -- have played a game like this defensively.
Aaron Glenn scored twice on long interception returns and the Texans scored the first three defensive touchdowns in their history, all off Tommy Maddox turnovers, to stun Pittsburgh, 24-6, Sunday.
The Steelers (7-5-1) were 6-1-1 in their previous eight games, the NFL's best record over that span except for Atlanta's 7-0-1, yet lost to a first-year team that completed only three passes and had only three first downs. The Texans were outgained, 422-47, the fewest yards ever by a winning team in NFL history.
"To hold a team to 40-some yards, that's incredible," Steeler tackle Wayne Gandy said. "But to get 400 and some yards and still lose? I've never heard of such a game."
Remarkably, the Steelers lost to an expansion team in its first season of existence for the third time since 1995. The Steelers lost to Cleveland, 16-15, in 1999 -- only weeks after beating the Browns, 43-0 -- and to expansion Jacksonville in 1995.
"We're not the typical expansion team," Glenn said. "We're not going to lay down and say, 'Oh, we're not supposed to win, we're an expansion team.' We have nothing to lose, we're trying to be a spoiler."
Pittsburgh's loss and Cleveland's last-play 21-20 win at Jacksonville cut the Steelers' AFC North lead over the Browns to a half-game.
Maddox couldn't have had a much worse day in his first game since being briefly paralyzed by a hit Nov. 17 in Tennessee, despite throwing for 325 yards.
His fumble was returned 40 yards for a touchdown by Kenny Wright on Pittsburgh's first possession, and Glenn's 70-yard interception return the next time the Steelers had the ball made it 14-0.
Glenn sealed it with a 65-yard interception return touchdown -- the fifth of his career -- with 12:58 remaining in the game.