It’s make or break time for the Colts on Sunday night when they play AFC powerhouse Pittsburgh at Lucas Oil Stadium on National TV. The Colts are 0-2, while the Steelers come to town fresh off a shutout win over the Seahawks at home 24-0 last Sunday.
The Colts know this is a huge week to try and get back in the race. “We don’t have much time left,” receiver Reggie Wayne said. “We’ve got to figure it out fast. … We have to figure out a way to win the close ones. I feel like that’s what it’s going to be from here on out.”
A lot of things are going to need to change for the Colts this week against a very good defense if they are going to get the job done.
The Colts have converted just 5 of 23 third-down opportunities, 31st in the NFL and a far cry from what they’ve typically done to stay on the field. From 2005-10, Indianapolis’ 49.6 percent success rate on third down was 4.3 percent better than any other team.
Indy needs to convert red zone opportunities as well, something they have failed to do the first two weeks. They settled for field goals early against Cleveland, and a TD on either early drive could have changed the tone of the game to Indy’s favor a great deal.
If the Colts are going to win, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, who each have one of the Colts’ two sacks, have got to get to and bring down Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. The two-time Super Bowl winning QB is a master at escaping sacks, and just getting arms on him isn’t enough. The Colts need to get to him and slow him down if they want to win.
They also need to protect Kerry Collins, who is slated to make his 3rd start for Peyton Manning under center. Collins needs time to throw, and that means keeping James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley out of the Colts backfield all night. Don’t look for the Colts to even try to run much, as the Steelers just don’t let teams run on them at all.
All in all, this is a game that really swings to the favor of the Steelers. They are a better team on both sides of the ball, and unless the Colts can create and convert some short fields on turnovers or big plays, it’s going to be 0-3 for the Colts and another long night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Pittsburgh 34 Indianapolis 17