Pregame Blog: Steelers at Colts

A tough challenge: The Colts have plenty of weapons on offense, but there is no doubt it starts with running back Jonathan Taylor.

Taylor has 693 yards on 151 carries, with three touchdowns, and 21 receptions for 97 yards so far this season.

Stopping, or at least slowing him down, is a point of emphasis this week.

"Talking about the Colts, I think if you talk about them offensively, man, it starts with Taylor for us," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We haven't been in a stadium with him before, but we respect his talents and his resume, what he's been able to do and put together. We believe quality play, for them, centers around his exploits and what he's able to do. They had a nice significant win a couple of weeks ago in Vegas, and I think he ran for 147 (yards). There was a commitment last weekend to the run game, I think he had 22 plus carries. For us, we've got to minimize his impact on the game. We can't allow them to be on schedule and minimize possession-down football via an effective running game."

While the Steelers haven't faced Taylor yet, cornerback Levi Wallace has while playing for the Buffalo Bills and he knows what he brings.

"I played him a couple of times already," said Wallace. "Great running back. Has incredible speed once he gets to the second level. And he has real good balance too. He's first and foremost who we have to stop. He is active out of the backfield too. Definitely a tough player to go against."

While Taylor is the main focus, he isn't the only one.

"They have some good receivers as well," said Wallace. "They have some really good skill. (Michael Pittman) is really good. I know he gets a lot of catches, targets over there. (Parris Campbell) is fast as well. I know they have the new guy, Alec Pierce out of Cincinnati. He makes a lot of plays downfield.

"Definitely a challenge. We have to be prepared Monday night to go out there and get a win."

This will be only the third game the Colts will play under interim coach Jeff Saturday and that will be another challenge as there isn't a ton of tape on what he likes to go off.

"Things definitely change a little bit, but it's not like this is the first game," said Wallace. "You never really know a team's tendencies until you go in there. They change week to week. You have to look back at past experience and go off those tapes. They have been pretty competitive the last couple of games. They only lost by one point against Philadelphia who is a great team. They have the identity to give Taylor the ball and run it. We have to be ready in all phases. It's definitely a physical week for us."

A look at pregame warmups before the Steelers' Week 12 game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium

Home run hitter: The hottest topic among the defensive players this week has been finding a way to contain Colts running back Jonathan Taylor.

Taylor has 693 yards on 151 carries, with three touchdowns, and 21 receptions for 97 yards so far this season, and the goal is to limit his numbers on Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"Home run hitter," said defensive tackle Cameron Heyward. "Hits the hole hard. Any crease he gets, he can take off. We got to make sure we really bottle him up. Multiple guys to the ball and just continue to keep playing good technique. When guys get short, and nobody is able to follow them, it makes it a tough game."

For the defense, getting players back healthy this week is nothing but a positive, but the most important thing with everyone back is communicating.

"Making sure we're on the same page," said Heyward. "Just finishing games. I think sometimes we have good plays here, good plays there. But it's about putting a consistent performance throughout the entire game.

"Just be a more cohesive unit. If one guy that doesn't make the play, there's 10 others that should be making the play. Just understand that there's gonna be mistakes and we just got to be better because of it."

Feeling comfortable: Each week rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett has become more comfortable with the Steelers offense, and it's something his teammates easily notice.

"I have seen a lot of growth, especially in the last two weeks," said tight end Pat Freiermuth. "He is definitely more comfortable in there. He is understanding how the speed of the NFL defense is. He is doing a really good job."

That speed is something Freiermuth understands firsthand, going through it himself last year when he was a rookie.

"A lot of people forget it takes time to adjust to the NFL game," said Freiermuth. "I didn't feel comfortable probably until the Cleveland game last year. That was Week 6 or 7. I had a bye week then. Kenny got thrown in there and didn't get any reps before that in the first three or four games. And in camp he didn't get any reps with the ones. He is doing really good as to where he is at right now in his development."

One area where Pickett felt comfortable immediately was with his confidence. That is something that has been inside him since he was in college and is only getting better.

"His confidence is unwavering," said Freiermuth. "He has done a hell of a job just staying confident. Everyone has believed he is the guy. He is going to continue do that. The big thing for him is not turning the ball over, especially with our defense. If you don't turn the ball over, you are always going to be in the game."

A look at player arrivals before the Steelers' Week 12 game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium

Staying the same: Rookie George Pickens continues to be one of the NFL's exciting new players, and lately one of quarterback Kenny Pickett's top targets.

Pickens had four receptions for 83 yards against the Bengals last week, saying nothing has changed for him since fellow receiver Chase Claypool was traded to the Chicago Bears.

"I am doing the same thing," said Pickens. "In the NFL, you have to run every route. I am running the same routes, the same plays. I am going through the same routine. Nothing really changed."

Pickens said he felt things pick up for the offense last week when they put 30 points on the board against the Bengals, despite losing 37-30.

"I would say stretching the field and third down conversions," said Pickens of the key to the offense getting points on the board. "On third down we kind of capitalized, which in any football game you have to do to win the game or sustain points. I feel like that game we really did good on third down. There was a lot of good stuff to take away from that game on offense."

Pickens and Pickett continue to build their relationship, one that began when they met at the NFL Scouting Combine and continued in a major way when both were drafted by the Steelers this year.

"Me and Kenny have been cool the whole time," said Pickens. "Nothing has changed between our relationship, on the field. We have been connected since he had his opportunity. Me and Kenny have always been cool. Now it's just sustaining it."

He can see the improvement in Pickett in every game, something that comes with time and learning in a rookie season.

"As far as learning and getting into the groove," said Pickens. "At first, we were all new here, so every day is going to be new. I am brand new to the system. Same with him. Him just growing and knowing as we go through the season stuff is going to start to click. Opportunity is going to start to rise."

Bringing the juice: To say that Damontae Kazee is a bundle of energy might be one of the biggest understatements of the year.

Kazee brings fire, energy and passion every time he steps on the field, and in the locker room, and his energy is contagious.

"Kazee has always been a guy with high energy," said cornerback Levi Wallace. "Sometimes too much."
All kidding aside, that energy inspires Wallace and others. "You love when a guy is out there playing with so much passion," said Wallace. "It brings so much energy and good spirit to the team, especially the defensive back room. When you have a guy who can instantly come in and make plays like that, you want to play for someone like that. He is just a great dude. I am how I am. He is completely different. Always talking. You can hear him now. It's fun to have someone like that."

Wallace was joking because sometimes you do hear Kazee before you see him, and in that particular moment, that was the case.

That is just who he is, and it's a great thing.

"It's just being blessed," said Kazee. "At the end of the day, we are blessed to be able to come here and do the thing we love to do, and that is play football. Being out with the injury, and two years ago the Achilles injury, you have to enjoy the moments. That is what I try and do, enjoy the moments, because it's not going to be here forever."

This is nothing new for Kazee. His personality is the same now as it was when he was in college, always being the perfect guy to get the team hyped.

"I have been that type of guy my entire life," said Kazee. "Even in college, when we had to wake up at 5 in the morning, I would be out there on the field talking. That has always been me. It's always been in my blood.

"I like to talk to my teammates. Get them hype. Put some juice in them. I am like that all of the time. Games, practice, whatever. Practice is like a game to me. You have to put it on film at the end of the day, so you have to be that way always."

The fact that it picks his teammates up, gives them energy, is something that excites Kazee even more.

"When one person sees it, it makes others want to do it," said Kazee. "It brings everyone together. That is why I do it. People teach in different ways. Leaders lead by doing different stuff. Me, I am just bringing energy. That is my point. My point is to bring energy as a leader so that is what I do."

Get out and vote: Voting is now open for the 2023 Pro Bowl Games, which will be a completely different format than in the past.

The traditional Pro Bowl game will be replaced by four days of activities, which will culminate with an AFC vs. NFC Flag Game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, February 5.

Leading into the game there will be skill competitions, giving fans a fun look at all of the league's top players.

Fans can vote for their favorite Steelers players now through Dec. 15. A social aspect of voting will be available beginning on Dec. 1, so keep an eye out for that.

Tune in: For fans who don't want to miss any of the action, NFL+ is here, which means you can now watch the Steelers live and on the go! Watch live local and primetime regular season games on your phone or tablet. Start your free trial today here.

WATCH/STREAM

  • The game broadcast is carried nationally on ESPN, (WPXI-TV locally in Pittsburgh). Game coverage begins Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET
  • TBA (play-by-play), TBA (analysis) and TBA (sideline) are on the game call.
  • The NFL also offers fans a number of ways to watch this preseason game on their digital devices:
  • NFL+ Premium gives you the freedom to watch LIVE local & primetime Regular Season and Postseason games on your phone or tablet, full & condensed replays of every game, and MORE! Whether you are at the stadium or on-the-go, you will never miss a moment with NFL+. NOTE: NFL+ is only available to users within the United States. For a full description of features, requirements, limitations, and other information, visit NFL+ Support
  • Fans outside of the United States can stream the game via the NFL's GamePass International product.
  • Don't forget all Steelers postgame press conferences are streamed live on Steelers.com, the Steelers Official Mobile App, Facebook and Twitter.

LISTEN

  • Steelers Radio Network - Game coverage begins at 4:25 p.m. ET; Pregame programming begins at 12:25 p.m. ET; Postgame coverage starts immediately following the game.
  • Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Craig Wolfley (color analyst), Missi Matthews (sideline) and Max Starks (sideline) are on the call.
  • Fans in the Pittsburgh area can listen locally on WDVE 102.5 FM & WBGG 970 AM.
  • The Steelers Radio Network will broadcast the game live through our radio affiliates. Click here for a list of our radio affiliates.
  • The game broadcast is also carried on Steelers Nation Radio (SNR). SNR is streamed on Steelers.com and the Official Steelers Mobile App. Fans can listen to pregame and postgame programming from anywhere in the world on these platforms. NFL geographical restrictions apply to the game broadcast stream for mobile web and mobile app users. Desktop user may listen to this broadcast from anywhere in the world on Steelers.com.
  • SiriusXM subscribers can listen to Steelers game live. Please visit SiriusXM's Steelers broadcast page for channel details.

CONNECT

EN ESPANOL

  • Puedes escuchar la transmisión del partido en español en cualquier parte del mundo en steelers.com/espanol desde tu computadora.
  • Si estas en México y en el área de Pittsburgh ahora puedes escuchar también desde tu dispositivo móvil y desde el App Oficial de Steelers. Simplemente haz Clic en la esquina superior derecha de la pagina principal del App donde dice "Live Audio" y selecciona español.
  • También nuevo para este año, todos los juegos de los Steelers de la temporada 2022 serán transmitidos por Radio Imagen en México. Haz clic aquí para ver la lista de esas estaciones.
  • Luis Rodríguez, Álvaro Martín, y Arturo Carlos serán nuestro equipo del Steelers en español este domingo. Luis está en su octava temporada como comentarista oficial de Steelers en español. Álvaro Martín está en su tercera década de crónica de la NFL y en su cuarta temporada como comentarista de Steelers en español. Arturo Carlos esta entrando en su cuarta temporada como play-by-play de Steelers en Español.

Game Pass International

Inicia tu prueba GRATIS ahora para ver todos los juegos de los Steelers en vivo en y más con NFL Game Pass International. Para iniciar tu prueba y regístrarte haz clic aquí.

Activa las notificaciones en español del App Oficial de Steelers
Abre la aplicación, haz clic en la esquina inferior derecha en "More," haz clic en "Settings," haz click en la tercera opción "Notifications" y activa el icono en "Español."

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