The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2017 season ended not only prematurely, but also bitterly, suffering an early postseason exit after falling to the Jacksonville Jaguars at home in the Divisional Round by a score of 45-42. The wounds are still fresh, but it’s time to relive the 2017 season that was, starting from the beginning.
Chapter XIII – Boswell Joins Killer Bs As Second Half Ignites Offensive Run
It would be fair to observe that the Steelers’ supposedly talented offense seemed to be sleepwalking through much of the first half of their season. Even in the games in which they seemed to move the ball well, they struggled to convert trips inside the red zone into touchdowns.
That trend looked to be continuing into the second half of the season when they came out sluggishly in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts. The Steelers were coming off a bye week and talked after the game about shaking off rust, but the second half of the game was potent.
The Colts were little better through much of the game. Most of their offense came on just two plays, touchdown passes of 60 and 61 yards from Jacoby Brissett, both of them attributable to bad play in the secondary, or general miscommunication. Other than that, Indianapolis offered little.
And yet they held a 17-3 lead in the third quarter. It would take a surge in the second half by the offense to come back, scoring the final 17 points of the game to win 20-17 in the end. Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes of seven yards, one to JuJu Smith-Schuster and the other to Vance McDonald, before kicker Chris Boswell hit the game-winning field goal with no time left to play.
It was another big game for the rookie wide receiver, though, coming off a 193-yard showing in the game before the bye. In this one, he added another seven receptions, though he recorded ‘only’ 97 receiving yards with a touchdown.
Antonio Brown had just three receptions in the game, though on only seven targets, which is quite low for him, gaining 47 yards, while the returning Martavis Bryant, who was benched for the previous game, caught three passes for 42 yards in his first game back.
Overall, this was probably the worst-played game of the season that the Steelers participated in, for both teams. It just wasn’t a very good game to watch, quite frankly, at least until the end. Game-winning drives have a tendency to be exciting, but they would certainly like to forget the first half.
That final drive began with 3:10 left to play at their own 15-yard line. Le’Veon Bell picked up eight yards on first and second down to set up third and two, where Roethlisberger hit Eli Rogers for two yards to convert.
Bell lost seven yards on the next play, but Roethlisberger connected with Bell, Bryant, and Brown for 13, 19, and then 32 yards in succession down to the Colts’ 18 with 35 seconds to play. They were able to run down the remainder of the clock to set up Boswell for the winner and no time left, continuing a winning streak that hit four wins at that point.