The Pittsburgh Steelers are working with a 21-7 lead over the Indianapolis Colts, with the Steelers’ scores coming on a rushing touchdown from Le’Veon Bell and two receiving touchdowns from Antonio Brown. Bell finished the first half with 73 rushing yards on 12 carries, while Brown has four receptions for 69 yards. Ben Roethlisberger has completed nine of 13 passes for 144 yards, including a 30-yarder to Eli Rogers, a 32-yarder to Ladarius Green, and a 33-yarder for a score to Brown.
The Steelers defense had a key defensive stand at the goal line at the end of the first half, including Sean Davis stopping Scott Tolzien on a bootleg run at the one-yard line on third down. A wide pass on fourth down was broken up by Mike Mitchell. Tolzien has, overall, however, played fairly well, and has completed eight of 15 for 84 yards and a touchdown. T.Y. Hilton dropped what should have been a 60-plus-yard score.
The first half actually began with a returnable kick for Sammie Coates, who returned it to about the 21-yard line. On first down, Bell was given the carry and picked up about three. He got free for another gain, but was tripped up a yard short of moving the sticks. On third and one, with Green in at tight end, Roethlisberger dropped back to throw and found Cobi Hamilton over the middle, who just brought it in before being hit from behind with his numbers facing the play.
Following the conversion, Bell got the carry again on a draw and was brought down from behind after four. On second and six, Roethlisberger flushed to his right and found Bell on the run for a chain-moving reception, his third catch of the day, picking up 11. A midfield, it was Bell again, who looked to the left edge, but was stopped after three yards. Bell was the target on a five-yard reception to set up third and two. On the key down, Roethlisberger took a deep shot to Coates, with the ball hanging up in the air for an incompletion. The Steelers were flagged for a false start on the punt, but Jordan Berry‘s punt was fair caught at the 10.
Tolzien completed a short pass to Hilton for three yards before being brought down by William Gay, who recorded a strip sack on the opening play of the game. Frank Gore was stopped after a couple up the middle to set up third and three. Tolzien found Donte Moncrief to the left for the conversion. Artie Burns made the tackle on a crossing route for no gain on the following play. Javon Hargrave made an excellent athletic move to chase down Tolzien for a sack on second down. On third and 15, however, Tolzien had an open receiver for 17.
Gore found some initial breathing room before Sean Davis brought him down after seven yards. From the 41, however, he was stuffed at the line to set up third and three. A wide pitch to Robert Turban, however, was successful in converting and then some on a play on which Davis missed a tackle.
From the Steelers’ 41, a dump off to Jack Doyle went for seven with Ryan Shazier trying to stay in front of him. On second down, after Pittsburgh used a timeout, Tolzien converted over the middle to Moncrief.
At the 24, Tolzien had Moncrief inside the 10 at the left sideline, but he was unable to bring in the pass. On the misdirection, he connected with Allen, with Davis making the tackle after six yards. On third and four, heavy pressure got home, including Timmons on a blitz, to force an incomplete pass. Timmons was untouched. But the Colts went for it on fourth and four from the 18, and he hit Allen inside the 10 on a leaping grab. Tolzien took a hit from Dupree on the throw.
From the six, Turban was able to find room for two yards at the end of the third quarter. On second and goal, Gore added another two, down to the two-yard line. On third and goal, Tolzien took off, but was stopped by Mitchell at about the line of scrimmage. Going for it on fourth and goal, another incompletion on fourth and goal resulted in a second turnover on downs. That’s two big fourth-down incompletions that is the difference between 21-7 and 21-21. Tolzien’s pass was wide for Philip Dorsett, but he looked to have gotten two outstretched hands on it, with Timmons in coverage.
Offensively from the one, Bell got the carry for a couple of yards. On second and seven, he was stopped after about three. Setting up third and four, Bell got the pitch, who reversed field for the first down and more. From the 16, he had to dive forward just to pick up a yard. He found a crease on second down but was tripped short of the first. On third and two, Bell got the first down, but the play was negated by a hold, setting up third and long. It was the second hold on David DeCastro. Back to the 14, Roethlisberger looked sharp left for Coates just beyond the marker, but the throw was low and the receiver could not come up with the diving reception. A running into the kicker penalty gave the Steelers a chance to re-kick on what was a mediocre punt.
This time Berry was able to boom one and Coates induced a fair catch inside the 30 for a much better punt the second time around.
From the 27, Tolzien used play action to hit Doyle for 18. From the 45, he got the pass out to Moncrief for 12. Tolzien’s deep shot resulted in an interception for Mitchell, who was able to return it about 15 or 20 yards.
From the 36, Roethlisberger floated another rainbow to Green for his second completion of the game for 35 yards. He has 77 on two catches. From the 29, Bell found an inside lane for four yards. He picked up about two on second down. On third and four, Roethlisberger took another deep shot to Brown, beating the secondary for the third time of the game for a 33-yard score. It’s his 10th touchdown of the season, his fourth consecutive season with double-digit scores.
Cockrell was in position to make the tackle on first down after a short reception. Tolzien’s second throw was incomplete after being hit by Tuitt. On third and seven, Cockrell rocked Tolzien on a cat blitz, but the quarterback got the pass out for a first down.
From the 39, two Steelers deflected a pass down the field that was incomplete. A check down was wrapped up after a short gain on second down, but Tolzien connected for a first on third down. Gay stepped in front of a downfield pass in vice coverage for the Steelers’ second interception in as many drives.
The backups entered the game with a little over four minutes to play. Landry Jones handed off to Fitzgerald Toussaint for about four yards. He got to the edge for the first down on the following play, but he stepped out of bounds with Pittsburgh trying to drain the clock. After a three-yard carry up the middle, he picked up three more to set up third and four at the two-minute warning. Jones dropped back and looked to go down the field for Jesse James, but he could not bring it in.
Berry punted nicely, bouncing up inside the 10 and allowing the coverage to settle it there. Or at least I thought that’s what happened, but evidently it bounced in the end zone first or something, because the ball was spotted at the 20. Jordan Todman got the carry for 12 yards, then six. He broke free before stumbling in the middle of the field after a 19-yard run to end the game.