At the end of the day, it’s all about being able to take advantage of of your opponents mistakes. That is why as the Indianapolis Colts look at the standings today they sit at 5-4 while the Pittsburgh Steelers are 6-3 following a Colts gutsy 24-20 win in Pittsburgh Sunday over the shell-shocked Steelers. The Steelers were done in by two ill advised throws of QB Ben Roethlisberger that were turned into 14 points, the final seven being the game-winner with 3:04 remaning.
It was that second pick by Tim Jennings with 4:44 left at the Steelers 34 that was the key play in the game. At that point the Steelers led 20-17, and seemed to have the game in hand. They get a couple of first downs and they can put the game away. Instead, on a 3rd-and-4, Roethlisberger tried to force it in, and Jennings stepped in front and picked it off, giving the Colts new life.
Four plays later after a Dominic Rhodes run on 3rd-and-1 that gained six yards to the Steelers 17, Manning hit Rhodes down the sidelines with a perfect pass that burned the Steelers D for a score that gave the Colts a four-point lead. The Steelers got down to the Colts 27 with three seconds left, but Roethlisberger’s Hail Mary pass was picked off in the end zone, saving the win for the never say die Colts.
The Steelers QB has had a very tough last three games. In a loss to the Giants, half of a win over the Skins, and now the loss to Indy, he has thrown 8 picks and just one TD. Against Indy, he was 30-for-42 for 284 yards with three picks. While his O-line has been off all season, and he has taken way too many hits, there is no excuse for the poor passes that have gotten away from him.
The two biggest plays of the day were his two picks that got turned into two Colts TD’s. One near the end of the first half turned the game around. The Steelers were ahead 17-7, and he threw short on a 3rd down play that was picked by Keiwan Ratliff at the Steelers 16 with 1:24 to go in the first half. Peyton Manning moved quickly, and after getting to the two on a third down play, he hit Dallas Clark for a TD with six seconds left in the half to make it 17-14.
The Colts tied the game on their first drive in the third quarter, but the Steelers came back with a solid drive in the 4th quarter that looked as if they would be able to go ahead 24-17. They had the ball 2nd-and-goal from the Indy one, but Mewelde Moore was stuffed twice, and the team settled for a field goal with 7:57 left to make it 20-17.
After the teams traded possessions, the pick put the Colts in position to get the winning score and pull off the comeback win in a place it’s not ever easy to get the win. Manning was 21-for-40 for 240 yards with three TD’s. The Steelers outgained the Colts 326 to 290, and had the ball for 34:05 to 25:55, but in the end, were killed by the three picks.
The Colts will be at home next Sunday to take on the Houston Texans. The Steelers will look to bounce back against the AFC West’s San Diego Chargers at home at 4:15pm.