Steel City Underground

Steelers vs. Colts Quick Yinzing

Welcome to “Quick Yinzing”, a fast reaction article where a member of the SCU staff gives their initial post-game impressions without digging into any films, stats, or other analysis. It’s as real as that car ride home or sobering down at the bar following the game!

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First half injury- and mistake-riddled

In a close game that would become something of a flag fest, the Pittsburgh Steelers got the ball first after the Indianapolis Colts won the coin toss and deferred. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pulled the deep-ball trigger early, aiming for Martavis Bryant, but Bryant did not zero in on the ball and the Colts came away with an interception. It would be the beginning of a mistake-riddled slow start for the Steelers.

Both offenses tried to establish the run early with little success. Le'Veon Bell's nemesis was Jabaal Sheard while Frank Gore got handled by Cameron Heyward and committee. As the Steelers looked to utilize the run in order to open the playbook, Roethlisberger was dropped when the Colts rushed five players and then Pittsburgh was flagged three times in a row for holding.

The Colts opened the second quarter with a bomb of a throw from Jacoby Brissett to Donte Moncrief wide open along the left sideline as Artie Burns turned to look at the quarterback and blew the coverage. That play was set up by a couple missed tackles, including two by usually solid Ryan Shazier.

Trying to create some spark, the Steelers ran an end-around with Bryant that was a big loss of yardage and resulted in Roethlisberger getting hit hard, but he was able to then find Bryant for short-yardage and set up a Chris Boswell field goal to end the first half: Colts 10- Steelers 3.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Joe Haden and Vance McDonald all left the field due to injuries. Haden was the only player unable to return to the game with a leg injury and was replaced by Coty Sensabaugh.

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Defense heats up, sets up offense for success

The Colts offense got the ball to open the second half of the game and Brissett burned the coverage on the right side of the field as Mike Mitchell sank towards Burns and T.Y. Hilton. The result was another long, wide-open pass-and-catch for a touchdown.

When Pittsburgh's offense returned to the field, one thing that was noted was the lack of underneath throw attempts while the Colts defense continued to play 'cover 2' - an area where better tight end play would help this team. Roethlisberger would find JuJu Smith-Schuster for a great play that saw the rookie receiver fight for the ball and secure it. Targeting Smith-Schuster again in near the end zone, Eli Rogers was called for holding, moving the Steelers back. After Antonio Brown earned a flag by getting held downfield by the Colts defenders, Roethlisberger connected with Smith-Schuster again for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the point-after was no good as the Colts blocked it and were able to return it nearly the length of the field before tight end Jesse James made the tackle.

Stephon Tuitt got the defense heated up as he dropped Brissett. It would have been a sack had William Gay not been called for holding away from the ball. In a controversial call, Vince Williams grabbed a loose ball from a Colts receiver, but the officials ruled forward progress and negated an opportunity for Mike Tomlin to challenge the play.

That seemed to fire up the Steelers defense as they once again pressured and hit Brissett and forced him to try to pass short to his tight end; the ball tipped as Shazier was making the tackle and into the Steelers linebacker's hands for an interception.

The turnover led to a jump-ball catch as Vance McDonald ran a drag route and was alone in the right corner of the end zone and the Steelers converted the two-point play when Bryant made a nice catch to tie the game at 17 points apiece.

Williams and Tuitt dialed up heavy pressure with Heyward and forced Indy off the field. Flipping things over to the offense, Roethlisberger tried to capitalize with a nice run play call to James Conner but the red zone offensive woes continued and Boswell missed the field goal; he hit the right upright and the ball bounced away.

After stout play from the Steelers defense, they once again gave the ball back to Roethlisberger and the offense. Brown made a nice catch and Bell continued to gain yardage to set up Boswell for the game-winning field goal as time literally ran down to the last seconds of regulation time. Boswell lined up on the right hash and nailed the field goal to put the Steelers ahead, 20-17, and hand the Colts another loss.

The Steelers move to 7-2 on the season and have a short week. They will face the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football.

 





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