Fast start: On Monday night the Steelers were able to fight back from a 13-0 deficit with a frenzied few minutes at the end of the second quarter that included scoring 21 points in 73 seconds.
It worked fine then, giving the Steelers a 24-13 lead they would hold on to for a 30-23 win. But the players know they are going to have to get out to a fast start this week against the Indianapolis Colts, who come in to Heinz Field riding high on a five-game win streak.
"We have to come out and play smart and not get behind," said receiver Antonio Brown. "We need to get up early and be prepared to do our jobs. We did a great job responding to adversity, maximizing on opportunities and turning it on when we had to. But the key is to get off to a fast start."
The Colts offense is ranked number one overall and in yards per game in the NFL, and second in scoring, while the defense ranks third in fewest yards allowed and second in fewest points allowed per game.
"Every game we need to start fast and put points on the board early," said tackle Kelvin Beachum. "We had opportunities; we just have to do a better job of executing early on, making plays and doing our job and getting it done early. It's a good team we have coming in front of us so we just have to do it early."
The Colts lead the NFL in time of possession, averaging 36:56, almost seven minutes over the league average of 30:00 per game.
"We have to cut into that," said guard David DeCastro. "We have to be great. We have to give our defense some help and score points and be better at that earlier."
A look at the Colts**
The Colts success begins with quarterback Andrew Luck, who comes into this week's game as the AFC's third-ranked passer boasting a 100.5 passer rating and 19 touchdown passes.
"He's a competitor," said DeCastro. "He loves playing the game. He hates losing."
What the Steelers are saying:
About three straight games at Heinz Field:
Maurkice Pouncey: "It's huge. Heinz Field is awesome. Our fans do a great job of pushing us throughout the game. Playing at home, there is nothing like it. Whatever stadium you are at you have to win that game. That is what we plan on doing."
Markus Wheaton: "It's huge. We can use the snap count to our advantage. Once we get going, like we did on Monday night, we will have the fans on our side and that momentum will pick up really fast."
The Colts perspective:
Colts Coach Chuck Pagano on preparing to play Ben Roethlisberger:"It's difficult. I've gone against him numerous times, some good and a lot of bad. The guy is just a tremendous quarterback. He is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. He is big. He is strong. He is accurate. He has great vision and strength. You can't get him down in the pocket. The way he is able to throw on time, throw in rhythm and throw the deep ball, and the way he can extend plays, escape and brush off would be blitzers and find guys, it's amazing. You turn on the tape and he doesn't look any different. He looks better than in my years at Baltimore and having to go against "Big Ben." He is doing a great job and it seems like he is getting better with age."
Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck thoughts on the Steelers' defense:"Tough. Obviously Troy Polamalu is still playing at a very, very high level and is going to go down as one of the best safeties, if not the best, to ever play the position. Formidable front seven. I know injuries have got them a bit. I guess that's football at this time and they've done more than an adequate job of sticking guys in there and making plays. It's a tough scheme to get a beat on. You're never quite sure what's going to happen so it's going to be a stiff, stiff test on the road. We know that and are also looking forward to the great challenge."