Behind an early scoring surge and clutch moments on both sides of the ball, the Pittsburgh Steelers withstood a late push from the Colts on Monday night to earn a 24-17 victory in Indianapolis.
It was the primetime debut for rookie QB Kenny Pickett, who led the Steelers (4-7) to points on four of their five possessions in the first half, a notable departure from the team’s anemic offense that had been on display most of the season. The Steelers kicked three field goals and added a Najee Harris touchdown before the break, building a 16-3 lead as the Colts’ offense sputtered.
It was the Steelers’ turn to sputter in the second half, as Indianapolis (4-7-1) charged back to take a one-point lead in the third quarter. Pittsburgh could only score once in the half, but it was enough. Benny Snell’s touchdown and the subsequent two-point conversion gave the Steelers a decisive 24-17 lead, and the defense handled the rest.
A much-maligned Steelers defense found some backbone once they had retaken the lead, forcing a quick three-and-out on the Colts’ penultimate drive, and then stalling Indy out at the Pittsburgh 26 with under a minute remaining in the game. An incompletion on fourth down was the Colts’ last gasp at victory.
Jeff Saturday, who was roundly criticized for being hired as the Colts’ interim coach without any experience, came under fire for his time management on that final drive. With under 2 minutes to play, the Colts still had all three timeouts left. After converting on fourth down, they ran three consecutive plays without using a timeout as the clock continued to run. Matt Ryan was sacked on first down and scrambled for 14 yards on second down. On third down, Jonathan Taylor ran but failed to gain a first down. It was only then that the Colts used their first timeout, but it was too late.
Matt Ryan's scramble happened with 59 seconds left, setting up a 3rd-and-3. Colts chose not to call a timeout after the play, but lost about 25 seconds of game time. Then they hurried a run for Taylor that went absolutely nowhere.
Bad, bad football in crunch time.
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 29, 2022
Both teams remain on the precipice of being eliminated from playoff contention.
Snell, who finished with 62 yards rushing and a touchdown while filling for starter Najee Harris (abdominal strain) in the second half, led four Steelers players with at least 30 yards on the ground, including Pickett (32 on 6 carries). Pittsburgh finished with 172 yards on the ground, while Pickett was an efficient 20-for-28 passing for 174 yards and no interceptions.
Taylor picked up 86 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Colts, while Ryan struggled with an interception and 199 yards on 22-of-34 passing. He did hit Michael Pittman Jr. for a touchdown in the second half, which gave Indianapolis its only lead of the game.