STEELERS 26, COLTS 24Steelers' record: 1-1One year ago: 1-1Preseason series record: Steelers lead, 5-4STORYLINETheir time at Saint Vincent College is over, but there is nothing about it that connotes an ending to Coach Mike Tomlin. "We're not even halfway through this preseason process. I know that we're leaving camp, and I know you're looking to wrap a bow around those types of things, but for us, we're in the midst of growth and development. We've played one preseason game. We have our second one on Sunday. We're just at the turn in terms of team development as we push forward toward the regular season."TURNING POINTAs was the case against the Eagles, the Steelers took control of the game against the Colts in the first quarter. The offense scored a touchdown on a 57-yard catch-and-run by Antonio Brown that was aided by a hustling downfield block from Baron Batch, and then the defense contributed a touchdown of its own on a 49-yard interception return by Ike Taylor. With 2:56 left in the first quarter, the Steelers had a 14-0 lead, but then for whatever reason, momentum shifting decidedly in favor of Indianapolis. Before the first half would end the Colts had taken a 17-14 lead. From that point, the game was pretty much even.STAT THAT STANDS OUTOne of the things the Steelers offense needed to improve upon was its efficiency in the red zone, where it ranked in the bottom half of the league in 2011. After two preseason games, the Steelers are 1-for-6 in the red zone after going 0-for-3 against the Indianapolis Colts. The Steelers also were 0-for-2 in goal-to-go situations against Indianapolis.WHAT WENT RIGHT On his first attempt to convert a third down, Ben Roethlisberger tried to go to Antonio Brown, but FS Antoine Bethea cut underneath the route and intercepted the pass. On the next third down, Roethlisberger converted a third-and-11 with a perfect sideline throw to Brown. On the third third down, Roethlisberger threw a sideline screen to Brown, who cut off a block by Heath Miller to get into the open field, then broke a couple of tackles and used a key block by Baron Batch – who knocked Bethea to the ground and ended up with a 2-for-1 when Tom Zbikowski tripped over Bethea – to complete a 57-yard touchdown play that gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead. On a third-and-9 from the Indianapolis 37-yard line, Andrew Luck tried to convert with a sideline throw to Reggie Wayne. But Ike Taylor was in tight coverage, and he cut underneath Wayne to intercept the pass and return it 49 yards for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 14-0 lead.* After finishing last in the NFL in 2011 with 15, generating more takeaways is a must for the Steelers defense this season. The defense ended up with two in the first half, when WR T.Y. Hilton bobbled a pass over the middle from Andrew Luck and Cortez Allen came up with the carom for the interception.* Making big plays on special teams is certainly a way for non-starters to make a strong case for a spot on the 53-man roster. Mortty Ivy, who has been working at both inside linebacker and outside linebacker to this point in the preseason, got a hand up to block a punt by Pat McAfee.* Daniel Hrapmann kicked a 43-yard field goal late in the preseason opener to give the Steelers a 23-21 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles, and then he converted two more attempts – from 25 and 39 yards – in the third quarter against the Colts. In the fourth quarter, Hrapmann made another kick, this one from 43 yards out, to cut the Colts' lead to 24-23.* The Steelers were anxious to get their first look at WR David Gilreath, a first-year player from Wisconsin, in a preseason game, and he made some plays when given the opportunity. Gilreath caught four passes for 78 yards and also returned one kickoff for 22 yards.WHAT WENT WRONG With James Harrison and Jason Worilds on the physically unable to perform list, the Steelers knew they were going to be thin at linebacker. But then Stevenson Sylvester, who had been working some at outside linebacker, also was unavailable for the game after sustaining a knee injury during a practice on the day before the game. On the second of two 80-yard touchdown drives by the Colts in the second quarter, the Steelers defense had problems with substitutions in goal-to-go situations. After getting flagged for too man men on the field, the Steelers came back after a review with only 10 men on the field but they were helped by the timeout at the two-minute warning. Indianapolis scored on a fourth-and-goal to tie the game at 14-14. In the fourth quarter, the Steelers defense again was flagged for having 12 men on the field.* The Colts enjoyed a significant edge in time of possession during the first half, 18:19-11:41, in part because the Steelers converted just 2-for-7 on third down.* On the first play after Mortty Ivy blocked a punt – a first-and-goal from the Colts 10-yard line – Kelvin Beachum was flagged for holding to push the offense back to the 20-yard line. The Steelers ultimately settled for a 25-yard field goal and a 17-17 tie.* On back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter, Beachum was flagged for his second holding penalty of the game and that was followed by a false start on Marquis Maze that set up a third-and-29 from the Indianapolis 39-yard line.INJURY UPDATEThe players not in uniform for the Steelers were P Jeremy Kapinos, RB Isaac Redman, RB Rashard Mendenhall, LB Stevenson Sylvester, OLB James Harrison, OLB Jason Worilds and NT Casey Hampton. Those in uniform who didn't get into the game included T Max Starks, WR Paul Cox and WR Juamorris Stewart.The only injuries during the game were to RB Chris Rainey, who was tested for a possible concussion but then returned to the game when the tests were negative; and to RB Jason Ford, who was shaken up and missed a play or two before returning.
Aug 19, 2012 at 05:51 PM
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.