The Indianapolis Cotls are the hottest team in the NFL no more, getting jumped on right from the start on their visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers, enjoying a record day from Ben Roethlisberger, leading his team to a 51-34 victory, making it the first time they’ve won two games in a row this season.
Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes and for 522 yards. One of the more remarkable things about the victory wasn’t just Roethlisberger throwing 49 times (completing 40 passes), but that the Steelers managed to pull off 32 running plays as well, finishing with a total of 639 yards and 81 plays, getting 19 more minutes of possession compared to the Colts, who needed to much time to adjust to the pace and start answering back with points of their own.
Andrew Luck threw two interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown by William Gay in the beginning of the second quarter. The Steelers took a 21-3 lead at that point and even made it grow, reaching a 25-point lead later in the second quarter, which saw both teams score a combined 45 points, with the Colts finally being able to get things going, with Luck finding Dwayne Allen and T.Y. Hilton for touchdowns.
The Colts did put themselves in a position of tying the game. After narrowing the lead down to only eight points with a Donte Moncrief touchdown at the end of the third quarter, making it 42-34 in favor of the Steelers, the Colts got a big stop on their own 5 as LeGarrette Blount fumbled the ball and the Colts recovered. Luck threw an incomplete pass on the first down play and then was called for intentional grounding on the next, resulting in a safety, giving the Steelers the ball with a 10 point lead.
The Steelers took their time and advanced down the field for seven minutes before scoring the game-sealing touchdown. Luck still tried to make something happen but was intercepted once more, finishing the game with 400 passing yards and also three touchdowns, but two interceptions, fumbling the ball once and being directly responsible for the safety call that ended the Colts’ chances of maybe winning the game.
Suddenly the Steelers look like possibly the best team in their division, for a short while, having a 5-3 record. All four teams have an above .500 record, with the Browns at the bottom at 4-3, the Steelers tied with the Ravens at 5-3 and the Bengals on top with a 4-2-1. The Steelers are only 1-2 in the division, and still have to play at home against Baltimore before two games, home and away, against the Cincinnati Bengals.
For the Colts, this loss doesn’t hurt too badly, but it puts them closer to the Houston Texans, back at .500 and now one game behind the Colts. The two teams meet again in December, playing in Indianapolis. The Colts won the first game 33-28.
The big winner from this day is Roethlisberger, who was having a very good season anyway, but for the first time in 2014 didn’t have to scramble too often and rush for his life while trying to make a pass. He did very well on play-action fakes, completing 10-of-12 passes for three touchdowns. He also did extremely well when it comes to throwing deep, completing 8-of-11 for two touchdowns when throwing 15 yards or more downfield. This kind of performance is obviously a bit irregular, but maybe, just maybe, the Steelers find themselves in a streak of consistency.