Steelers vs. Colts Rating: Pittsburgh rallies down from 17 factors to win the AFC North crown

Three touchdown passes from Ben Roethlisberger in less than 11 minutes led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 28:24 win over the Indianapolis Colts. With the win, the Steelers ended a three-game losing streak as they clinched their first AFC North Division title since 2017. The Colts, who came to Pittsburgh with a three-game winning streak, are 10-5 in the final week of the regular-time season. The playoff probability in Indianapolis has dropped from 85% to 76%, according to Stephen Oh, the date scientist at SportsLine.

Two touchdown runs by Jonathan Taylor and the 42-yard touchdown pass by Phillip Rivers to Zach Pascal had given the Colts a 21-7 advantage at halftime. But after falling behind around the clock, Big Ben and the Steelers woke up when Roethlisberger met Diontae Johnson (39 yards), Eric Ebron (five yards) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (25 yards) and took over four points ahead of 7: 38 to play. Rivers, intercepting subsequent Colts possession, managed to move Indianapolis to the Steelers’ 33-yard line on its final possession before firing three incomplete passes.

Why the Steelers won

For the first time in over a month, the Steelers played complementary football. The Steelers’ first touchdown came in the first quarter of TJ Watt’s forced fumbling on rivers. After the Steelers’ offense was routed, Pittsburgh’s defense came down to three consecutive strikes and an interception by Mike Hilton. Hilton also picked up Watt’s forced fumble that sparked James Conner’s touchdown run in the first quarter.

The Steelers received strong defensive performances from Watt, Hilton and rookie outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, whose pressure from Rivers led to his interception after the Steelers took the lead late in the fourth quarter. The Steelers must continue to receive similar efforts from Highsmith, who replaced injured starter Bud Dupree on the grid.

Pittsburgh would not have won this game if it had not been for Roethlisberger and his receivers who managed to score crucial catches after battling for it for the first three weeks of December. Smith-Schuster led with 96 yards and a touchdown at nine receptions, while Johnson made eight passes, including his 39-yard score that started the Steelers’ comeback.

Why the Colts lost

Everything the Colts got right in building their 24-hour lead, they failed to get in the final 20 minutes of the game. After the Steelers extended their lead, the Colts walked away from Taylor, whose two early touchdowns helped them extend their 17-point lead. Instead of running downstairs first, the Colts started throwing, which led to way too many second and third and long situations.

The Colts’ understaffed offensive line, which played without an offensive tackle against Anthony Castonzo and Braden Smith, was unable to adequately protect Rivers on the track. The Colts defense didn’t help either, as they couldn’t stop Roethlisberger and the Steelers offensive as Pittsburgh began to find its rhythm. The Colts secondary school also imposed four penalties in the second half that contributed to the Steelers’ three unanswered touchdowns.

Rivers, who was defeated, made some NFL history on Sunday when his touchdown pass to Pascal linked him to Dan Marino for the fifth time in all career touchdown passes. Rivers has scored 420 touchdowns in his 17-year career.

Turning point

The Colts had a 24-7 lead and all the momentum after TJ Carrie broke Big Ben’s pass for James Washington in fourth and goal 5:01 in the third quarter. But after the Colts’ goal line stopped, Pittsburgh’s defense forced the first of three consecutive strikes at Indianapolis. In their first game after the Colts stabbed, Roethlisberger dropped a 39-yard bomb to Johnson, which held the ball in place as it ignited the Steelers’ comeback.

Game of the game

Smith-Schuster, whose logo dance was heavily criticized in the days leading up to Sunday’s game, finally gave Pittsburgh the lead when he stuck to Roethlisberger’s 25-yard goal with 7:38 left. While still waiting for his first 100-yard game of the season, Smith-Schuster recorded the best 96 yards of the season on Sunday. For the second time in his four-year career, he passed the 90-catch mark.


“Victory is sweet. It’s been about a month for us. We have been through some adversity but there is growth in the middle. Hopefully these negative experiences can get us on our toes and strengthen us as we move forward. We have we.” have some big battles ahead of us, but today we are humble and honored to be AFC North champions. “- Steelers manager Mike Tomlin, who won his eighth league title in his 14th season in Pittsburgh

“We missed a few opportunities in the first half. I don’t know if it was that dramatic. It’s a fine line between drinking good wine and squeezing grapes as we say in this business … we got each other In terms of our approach not drastically changed… We just acknowledged that we had some opportunities that we didn’t take and we had to play more games in all three phases in the second half, and that’s the mentality we’re with occupied the field. “- Tomlin on what changed with his team after half-time

What’s next

The Steelers will travel to Cleveland to face the 10-5 Browns who will surely be in revenge mode after being blown out of Pittsburgh in Week 6. The Colts will host with a win the Jaguars who took the number 1 overall in the 2021 draft after falling on the Bears on Sunday.

Check out our live blog below to relive the action in real time on Sunday.

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