Steelers 20 – Colts 17
JuJu Smith-Schuster: 5 receptions for 97 yards – 1 Touchdown
Antonio Brown: 3 receptions for 47 yards
Martavis Bryant: 3 receptions for 42 yards
Le’Veon Bell: 5 receptions for 32 yards
Vance McDonald: 2 receptions for 16 yards – 1 Touchdown
Eli Rogers: 1 reception for 2 yards
Le’Veon Bell: 26 rushes for 80 yards, Avg: 3.1 yards
James Conner: 1 rushes for 12 yards, Avg: 12.0 yards
Ben Roethlisberger: 2 rushes for 5 yards, Avg: 2.5 yards
Chris Boswell – FGM: 2 for 3, PCT: 100%, XPM – 0, PTS: 6
The game may not have started the way they would have envisioned, but it ended the way they wanted it. Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell‘s 33-yard field goal completed an improbable 20-17 comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts in front of a capacity crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium. The victory helped further solidify their top position in the AFC North with a 7-2 record and extended their winning streak against the Colts to 5, dating back to September 25, 2011.
The defense forced two important 3-and-out possession near the end of the game, giving the Steelers offense the opportunities needed to steal the victory from the Colts. Standouts on offense included rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster who continued his campaign for offensive rookie of the year with another strong performance and accounted for 97 yards on 5 receptions. Running back Le’Veon Bell ended the day with 80 yards on 26 carries. Receiver Martavis Bryant added 42 receiving yards, including a 2-point conversion catch to tie the game.
Defensive standouts included outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who had 4 tackles and the only sack of the first half. Safety Sean Davis accumulated 8 total tackles. Linebacker Ryan Shazier had 5 tackles and the key interception that led to McDonald’s touchdown.
It was perhaps their ugliest win in recent memory, but it was also my favorite win of the season. This game was a milestone in many ways offensively speaking, as it was the first game where it was truly a collective effort, as the offense utilized all their weapons to their advantage. On the Vance McDonald touchdown drive, three different Steelers players touched the ball, including the 2-point conversion to the much maligned Martavis Bryant. Their finest moment however came in the final drive, where four different players touched the ball, including Eli Rogers’ reception, which turned out to be arguably the most important reception made in that final drive to keep it alive. I have always said, if this offense gets all their weapons involved, it would make it difficult for a team to stop them. It was fitting that this collective contribution materialized against a team that Ben once threw six touchdowns against.
Defensively speaking, I am coming to the realization that Keith Butler is one of the most underrated defensive coordinators in the NFL. Noticing that the four-man rush was not working in the first half, the adjustments he made in the second half resulted in the demise of the Colts offense, and helped the defense regain their identity. The way this unit was able to rally together after losing their most valuable secondary player in Haden speaks volumes about how this unit is very much about playing for each other.
One thing I have learned is that great teams always find a way to win no matter the circumstance. With every passing game, I believe we all need to come to the realization that we absolutely are witnessing something great with this team.
Steelers Play of the Game
Ben Roethlisberger find rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster down the side for the 44-yard gain