Where to start with the Pittsburgh Steelers' 23-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night? The good or the bad? I am a glass is half full kind of guy, so let's go with the good. Also, the bad wasn't nearly as bad as the naysayers would like you to believe. What? Did you think the Steelers offensive line was going to be dominant, especially in domed road environments against All Pro pass rushers before the season started?
Let's get to it.
- 408 to 241 -- that was the total yards disparity in Pittsburgh's favor. Chris Collinsworth, who I like by the way, made it sound like the Colts' defense played an incredible game. Really? I was under the impression that allowing 400 yards of offense, 6 yards per play, 62 percent of third down conversions and five drives of over 50 yards are all an indication that you didn't play that well.
- Troy Polamalu for the second straight week played amazing. More on him later, but it sure looks like Polamalu has his explosiveness back.
- Good work by Shaun Suisham to redeem himself after missing from 39 yards out in the third quarter. Suisham connected from 44 yards out early in the 4th quarter, and then from 38 to win the game with less than 10 seconds in the game.
- Daniel Sepulveda punted just three times; only once in the first half from inside Colts territory. The Steelers offense was either marching the ball down the field at will, or, unfortunately, turning the football over.
- The three turnovers came in the form of two sack-fumbles by Ben Roethlisberger and an interception. All came in the second quarter and allowed Indianapolis to make things interesting when it appeared as if they might get run out of the building. The first of the three fumbles was forced by Robert Mathis on a sacks where he had been pushed outside by Marcus Gilbert but kept tracking Roethlisberger from the backside. Big Ben unsurprisingly was holding onto the ball for longer than he probably should have there. Gilbert perhaps could have stayed with the play a bit longer, but he did his job forcing him way outside. A relentless, fast, pass rusher like Mathis is going to track down QBs if the ball's not out by the 3.5-4.0 second mark. The second strip sack came compliments of Dwight Freeney on a play where Jonathan Scott just totally whiffed. He never even put a hand on Freeney, so something was off on the play. Scott had a hard time all night, but he didn't totally miss his assignments like he did on that one play. Costly mistake.
- For those of you who can't stand Scott, well, you may get your wish as the young man went down with what looked like a serious injury in the fourth quarter. Not clear yet what the injury was or how serious, but it looked to be his ankle.
- Each week, James Harrison regains a little bit more strength. His strip sack of Curtis Painter that Troy Polamalu scooped up and returned for a touchdown was vintage Deebo.
- Another week, another 100-plus yard game from Mike Wallace. That's now six straight in the regular season. The bulk of his 144 yards came on a gorgeous 81-yard bomb on the Steelers' second series. Who said Big Ben can't throw the deep ball by the way. Absolutely perfect throw.
- Awesome game from Antonio Brown. The second-year WR had four receptions for 75 yards. Three of his four catches came on third down and all went for at least 18 yards. People will say, 'oh where's the big splash plays from the Steelers offense outside of Wallace's one long TD?' I'd ask they remember those snags by Brown which don't go down as 'big plays' by some stupid standard, but very much were a big part of why the Steelers were able to move the ball all night without the benefit of much in the running game.
- We'll get to the struggles of the running game (28 carries, 67 yards) on Monday.
- Finally, a quick shout out to Mewelde Moore for his fine work on the game-winning drive. The cagey veteran had 31 yards on the series, highlighted by a 22-yard catch and run on a great call and play design from Bruce Arians.
When you lose the turnover battle 3-1, it's hard to blowout teams. But the Steelers dominated Indianapolis despite the very impressive performances by Freeney and to a lesser extent Mathis. Lots still to clean up from an execution and ball-security standpoint, but plenty to like from this game. 2-1. Go Steelers!