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Regular Season Game Three at Indianapolis: Keys and Prediction

Kerry Collins leads the 0-2 Colts against the Steelers

This week the Steelers play a Sunday night game on the road at Indianapolis. This is a much different looking Indy team without Peyton Manning, but at 0-2 they are a wounded dog, and will come out looking for a fight. The Steelers need to be on their toes, and if so, should be 2-1 after Sunday night’s contest.

1. Disrupt the Colts No-Huddle – Sure, Peyton is going to be watching instead of playing, but the Colts are still going to try and pick up the tempo, and will still attempt at least to go no-huddle at times against the tough Steelers D. “They’re still going no-huddle,” LeBeau stated after practice Thursday. “But they’re not going to run the same offense that Peyton runs; there’s only one Peyton. But they’re running their offense and running no-huddle.” While Kerry Collins is clearly past his prime and no Manning, the Steelers have to get to him and not let him sit back and pick the Steelers apart.

2. Keep running the ball, even if it’s not gaining huge yards – The Steelers have yet to really get Rashard Mendenhall going, as the team is putting up 95 yards per game rushing and just 3.7 yards per carry. It is very unSteelers-like and they need to work on it this week. Last week Peyton Hillis and Cleveland kept running the ball and finally it paid off as they wore the Colts down in the fourth quarter to the point where they just couldn’t stop the Browns. The Steelers need to do that with Mendenhall and Isaac Redmen, and they should eventually break a couple big runs and big plays in the play-action.

3. Keep Freeney and Mathis off Big Ben – If there’s one area of the Colts that is at or near the top in the league, it’s their pass-rushing ends – Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. There’s been plenty of talk about keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright all week, and while the Browns O-line held the two in check last week, the Steelers can’t forget about these two, and if they can keep them contained for the most part, the team should be able to find some holes to throw. It also would help if they could run the ball like stated above.

Prediction – It’s pretty clear why the Steelers are heavy favorites to get to 2-1 after this game, as they are the better team on both sides of the ball, and without Manning, the Colts are just not the same team. With that said, this is a must-win for the Colts if they are going to sniff even anywhere near a successful season with the Texans already at 2-0. The Steelers can’t take this game for granted, and they won’t, playing well in the prime-time spotlight and winning going away. Steelers 34 Colts 17

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. DrGeorge

    September 23, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I think you have it right in terms of winning, Matt, but I’m not as confident that the Steelers can put up that many points. The passing game isn’t quite in sync yet. Let’s hope this proves a break out game in that respect.

    Concern has been raised here and in the media about the Steelers O-line, which is admittedly a work in progress. After reviewing the Seattle game tape last night, I came away with a better feeling than I had before. There were no major breakdowns. Occasionally, a blitzing linebacker got to Ben when Seattle ran a stunt or overloaded one side, leaving too few linemen to block everyone, and the responsibility then rests with Ben to get rid of the ball. Generally, the backs did a good job of picking up blitzing LBs and Ben had more time than usual to throw. On running plays, they made holes for Mendy and Redman, except in the red zone, where an eight-man defensive front makes that difficult any time. Arians predictable play calling in the red zone is in part to blame and his failure to run Redman, who is the more powerful of the two RBs in traffic. The young guys, Gilbert and Foster, acquitted themselves well. Legursky is playing out of position and a bit undersized, but even so, he held his own. The Colts should give them another opportunity to improve, and I suspect that the more they play as a unit, the better they are going to get. Coach Kugler is doing a good job with what he has. As my colleague, Mark, commented a few days ago, they do need a first tier Left Tackle, but that will have to wait until next season. Right now, J. Scott is adequate, and the line as a whole is better than it was last year.

    On defense, LeBeau’s introduction of more speed (Foote for Farrior on passing downs, Gay for McFadden) is producing results. The short coverage is better. Polamolu is staying deep a bit longer, making sure he doesn’t get beaten deep. This week the pass rush needs to step up and give the secondary a little help by making K. Collins uncomfortable in the pocket. Under pressure, he’s a barely adequate QB. But given time, he has a big arm.

    Altogether, this should be an enjoyable game with lots of nuances to keep us interested, regardless of the score.

  2. mark

    September 24, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I agree with DrGeorge on this one. Unless this is the breakout game we are waiting for, I dont see the Steelers putting up more than 21 or 24. With Mathis and Freeney ready to feast on our Tackle play, Im sure we will have many 3 and outs and wasted opportunities in this game. That being said, the Steelers are still the better team all around and should be able to do enough to win while the team continues to gel in all phases. If they can avoid the turnovers and not allow Collins/Wayne/Clarke/Addai to hurt them too many times, the Steelers should win by a comfortable enough margin that we are all satisfied. Somehow, I think the home team in a desperate situation plays WAY over their heads and keeps this game very interesting until the 4th.That’s when the Steelers will pull away and win by a score that isnt quite indicative of what happened on the field. On another note, when the schedule came out, there were many who thought that even with Peyton Manning the Steelers would be better than this version of the Colts. Even though that is more the case now, after the week 1 performance why are we all still so nervous about the Steelers not playing a great game and playing down to the level of the opponent?

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