After exchanging touchdowns in last season’s meeting (a 51-34 victory for Pittsburgh), the Colts and Steelers decided to have a turnover fest by giving each other early Christmas presents.
The teams combined for 4 turnovers–2 fumbles by Pittsburgh and 2 interceptions by Indianapolis–in the first 12 minutes of the game. The Colts were able to turn the second Steeler fumble into 3 points off an Adam Vinatieri field goal. While the Steelers were able to turn Matt Hassellbeck’s 2nd pick into a 6-3 lead thanks to a 51 yard Chris Boswell field goal.
Here’s this nugget, the Steelers lost 3 fumbles in the previous 11 games this season, they lost 2 in the first 3 minutes and change on Sunday night.
But, eventually the scoring fest we expected showed up. Albeit, one sided. Going back to the middle of the second quarter, Pittsburgh scored 39 unanswered points.
The Killer B’s of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant showed once again why they’re the best Trio in the League. #7 threw for 4 touchdowns on 24/39 for 364 yards.Brown caught 8 passes for 118 yards with 2 TDs, and added a 71 yard punt return for a touchdown. Bryant had 4 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.
But now, Markus Wheaton is consistently getting in the act. After a career day last week at Seattle, he followed it up with a 3 catch, 50 yard, 1 touchdown day.
Roethlisberger’s offense tied the NFL record for consecutive games of 450+ total yards at 4. In total they racked up 522 yards.
And then there’s DeAngelo Williams. He had his 3rd 100 yard rushing day of the season, going for 134 yards on 26 carries, and 5 catches for 31 yards. If they gave an award for best free agent signing, it would go to #34. Williams is the reason #7 and the Steelers pass offense can continue to flourish. Just think of how bad this offense looked last season in the AFC Wild Card against the Baltimore Ravens without any viable backup running back subbing for the injured Le’Veon Bell. Without Williams, offensive coordinator Todd Haley couldn’t keep defenses off-balance with his play selection. Opposing D’s could sit back and take away passing lanes with their DBs and let their pass rusher loose like the Ravens did in the Playoffs.
In addition to the 3 turnovers the defense created, they also collected 5 sacks, 3 by the ageless wonder, linebacker James Harrison. The D also held the Colts to 4/17 on 3rd and 4th downs. Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler’s group will need the same effort in the next two weeks against the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals and the AFC West leading Denver Broncos, if they’re to keep their 2015 Playoff hopes alive.
Next up, the 10-2 Bengals in the Queen City. Kickoff is Sunday at 1:00 pm.