The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the gridiron Saturday night as they hosted the Indianapolis Colts in the third preseason game of the 2017 NFL preseason. With it being the third preseason game, it means it is the “final dress rehearsal” for the players who will be on the field in Week 1 when the team goes to Cleveland to play the Browns.
Pittsburgh received the football to start the game, and it was a lot of Knile Davis on the opening drive. Davis had two runs for first downs, and a screen pass which also equated in a first down. However, as the Steelers entered Chris Boswell’s field goal range, Alejandro Villanueva was beat off the edge and his mistake related into a sack fumble of Ben Roethlisberger.
With the Colts getting the ball, it took Scott Tolzien just one play to hit Donte Moncrief for a 55-yard gain. It didn’t take long for Frank Gore to plunge into the endzone, and give the Colts a 7-0 lead with 10:46 left in the quarter.
The Steelers’ second possession looked more like what fans thought they would see from the starting offense. Todd Haley deployed a more spread, almost “muddle huddle”, look with Roethlisberger spreading the ball around. Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Eli Rogers all caught passes on the drive which ended in a Chris Boswell field goal, and cut into the Colts’ lead, 7-3.
The second quarter started with the Colts threatening in field goal range, but it was Ryan Shazier who baited Scott Tolzien into an interception, but the Landry Jones led offense couldn’t muster a single first down before punting the ball back to the Colts.
Tolzien and the Colts were able to move the ball, again, on the Steelers defense, aided by a roughing the passer call on Bud Dupree, but were forced to settle for a Adam Viniateri field goal to extend their lead back to 10-3. After Landry Jones squandered several possessions, the Colts, led by backup Stephen Morris was able to orchestrate a field goal drive, re-gaining the Colts’ 10-point lead.
After the 2-minute warning, Jones took the offense down the field with several nice completions to Jesse James and Eli Rogers, but the drive stalled and the team had to rely on a 41-yard field goal by Boswell. The score going into halftime was Indianapolis 13, Pittsburgh 6.
Indianapolis received the kickoff to start the second half, but it was a Cameron Sutton sighting on 3rd down which broke up a pass and forced a punt. Jones and the boys took the field in the second half with a sense of urgency, and after a James Conner run to start the possession, the team was able to move the ball with ease into Colts’ territory. After Conner ran over a defensive back, Jones hit Xavier Grimble in the end zone for a beautiful touchdown; however, Chris Boswell missed the point after touchdown, which meant the Colts stayed in the lead 13-12.
Jones continued to improve as the game went on, and with a combination of catches by JuJu Smith-Schuster, and runs by Terrell Watson, the Steelers were quickly in field goal range. Nonetheless, that is where the drive would stall, but Boswell would give the Steelers their first lead of the game with a 15-13 lead to end the third quarter.
With the starters long gone from the lineup, it was up to the reserves to preserve the Steelers’ lead, and keep their preseason record undefeated. However the next Indianapolis possession was worth watching as it traveled over 80-yards and ended in another rushing touchdown. However, Viniateri missed the point-after, giving the Colts a 19-15 lead with just over 10:00 left in the game.
Then Terrell Watson took over, and took the game over. The next drive was primarily all Watson, both as a runner and receiver, as Pittsburgh drove down the field with relative ease, but the drive ended with Jones throwing a red-zone interception to give the ball back to Indianapolis.
The two teams would exchange possessions before to end the game, giving the Colts the win, 19-15.
The Steelers will wrap up the preseason against the Carolina Panthers this Thursday in Charlotte, NC. Stay tuned to BTSC both after the game, and leading up to the fourth presason game, for the best information on the Steelers on the internet.