Take a deep breath Steeler Nation – your team is 2-1.
Not that it was easy, but the Steelers marched into Indy and for 15 minutes looked like big bad bullies. By the time it was over, they were more than lucky to escape without having a number “2” in the “L” column in the standings.
The result was a 23-20 win that kept Steeler fans with short fingernails till Colts QB Curtis Painter’s final pass fell woefully incomplete with :00 on the clock. Until then, many wearing black and gold around America and world had their pulses a lot higher than they wanted.
The Steelers played way too much down to the competition of a team that will be lucky without future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning to win 5 games.
They let Painter and his cohorts march down the field for an 80-yard drive after they took a 20-13 lead, and had to go into frantic mode to get downfield to allow Shaun Suisham to kick a game-winning 38-yard field goal with four seconds left.
The Colts hung tough against the defending AFC champions despite missing Manning, and they also lost backup quarterback Kerry Collins early because of an apparent concussion. Mostly due to the fact they got three second quarter turnovers, and harassed QB Ben Roethlisberger all night.
The Steelers O-line is just terrible at this point, some of it due to injury, the rest simply due to the fact they are not that good as players.
The team was lucky to shake off three turnovers and get into field goal range to finish off a 364-yard effort through the air for Roethlisberger.
Mike Wallace caught Roethlisberger’s only touchdown pass — an 81-yard bomb — and had 144 yards on five receptions. After his long TD made it 10-0, he was barley heard from again, and that was due to the fact Dwight Freeney owned the Steelers O-line, using Jonathan Scott and others as his own highlight film.
Painter relieved Collins in the fourth and lost a fumble after a hit from James Harrison, and the ball bounced right to Troy Polamalu, who returned it for a TD to make it 20-13.
It seemed at that point the defense would easily be able to hold down the Colts offense for the win. Instead, they allowed Painter and the Colts to march down the field and eventually Polamalu missed what could have been another fumble and Joseph Addai ran in for a score to tie the game with 2:09 remaining.
Addai gashed the usually very good Steelers run D for 86 yards and a TD for the Colts, who fell to 0-3 for the first time since 1998, which happened to be Manning’s rookie year.
Roethlisberger lost a fumble to let the Colts get back in the game with them eventually kicking a field goal to make it 10-3 in the second quarter. Then Freeney blasted him, knocking the ball out and Jammal Anderson picked it up and went 47 yards for a score to tie the game at 10.
Indy took a 13-10 lead at the half after Roethlisberger threw a pick, and the Colts were in good enough position to kick a short field goal right before half.
Suisham kicked a 48-yard field goal less than 3 minutes in the game to make it 3-0, but then in the 3rd quarter missed a 36-yard field goal that would have tied the game at 13.
Next week it will be an interesting test for a team that you just can’t predict right now. They will head to Houston to take on the 2-1 Texans, a team that had a lead and lost Sunday to the Saints in New Orleans.