Do the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers have a long and storied history? They do not. The rivalry dates back to 1950 but the series only includes 32 games. No matter the record of either team, they both always seem to put on a fantastic show with great storylines attached. The Steelers hold a big advantage in the series with a record of 26-6 including 5 playoff victories over the men from Indy and formerly B-More. The Steelers have won seven-straight in the rivalry.
Here’s a brief tale of the tape:
Points: Steelers 826, Colts 537
Wins: Steelers 26, Colts 6
Home Record: Steelers 17-2, Colts 4-9
Shutouts: 1 - Steelers 30, Colts 0 (9/15/1974)
Biggest Win Margin: 42 - 9/8/1985 - Steelers 45, Colts 3
Closest Game: Colts 17, Steelers 16 (10/21/1984)
Overtime Games: None
Postseason Record: Steelers 5, Colts 0
October 21, 1984 - Colts 17, Steelers 16
1984 was a year of fluctuation for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were seeing more and more players from the dynasty days of the 1970s depart. With rotating quarterbacks, Mark Malone and David Woodley, the Steelers identity was frequently changing. After stunning the undefeated San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park the week before, the 4-3 black and gold found themselves in an unfamiliar city taking on the 2-5 Colts, who notoriously snuck out of Baltimore on March 31st that year to relocate to the Hoosier State. The two teams were not operating with high-powered offenses, but a prerequisite on this day would be mastery of the tip drill.
The Steelers made their presence known on the scoreboard in the first quarter via Gary Anderson’s 53-yard kick (a then record for the franchise), and Louis Lipps’ 62-yard scoring connection from Woodley. The touchdown came to be when Tate Randle tipped the pass in the air and No. 83 turned on the jets and raced into the end zone with the score presenting at 13-0 in favor of the Steel City visitors. In the fourth, the Colts climbed back to get within three points on a Raul Allegre 41-yarder and an 8-yard dash to the end zone by Alvin Moore to make the score 13-10. An Anderson field goal with 1:35 left made it impossible for the Colts to merely get into field goal range at 16-10. With :34 the game got equal parts crazy and bizarre. Mike Pagel, subbing for an ineffective Mark Herrmann (who just returned and replaced Pagel), was nearly sacked by Edmund Nelson when he threw in the vicinity of a blue shirt. But Sam Washington stretched to pick off Pagel’s passed pigskin and bobbled it like a hot potato when Ray Butler strolled by and plucked it with ease and finished the 54-yard jog to glory. The Steelers were stunned on a day that their defense dominated with an Eric Williams INT and six sacks with three by Mike Merriweather. But despite 81 yards by Frank Pollard, the inept offensive output made the expected outcome are harsh alternate reality.
September 8, 1985 - Steelers 45, Colts 3
The sun of success did not shine very bright on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the mid 1980s, but nobody would know it by the performance of the black and gold in the 1985 season opener at Three Rivers Stadium. Mark Malone completes 21 of 28 throws for 287 yds and five TDs to tie Terry Bradshaw’s single-game record. Malone also called his own number and ran one in for six.
No. 16 started the scoring with a nine-play and 5:45 drive that concluded with a gorgeous catch by Louis Lipps (9 catches for 154 yds and 3 TDs), but Johnie Cooks intercepted the Steelers QB on the next series, and points were put on the board when Raul Allegre kicked a field goal of 39 yards after a Keith Willis sack of QB Art Schlicter. Almost getting intercepted again, Malone rebounded to connect with Lipps, this time for a score from 11 yards out. The Steelers would continue to pour it on in the second with a 30-yard Anderson field goal and a Rich Erenberg touchdown reception on a backpedal from Malone right before the half. That score was made possible due to future Steeler punter Rohn Stark mishandling the snap and trying to lateral the ball behind his back, only to have the Steelers recover.
Malone did it again midway through the third with a sustained drive that concluded with a fade pass to John Stallworth (6 catches for 65 yards and a TD) for a 6-yard score. Then Mike Merriweather, who almost picked off Schlichter a play earlier, indeed intercepted the pass this time. But the Steelers couldn’t convert, and Anderson hit the right upright on a 51-yard attempt. Malone didn’t throw a touchdown pass on the next series, but he had a one-yard touchdown run after Tate Randle’s interception was nullified on a pass interference call on Eugene Daniel on a pass play to Stalworth. With 9:30 left in the game, the jumbotron read Steelers 38, Colts 3. After a Dwayne Woodruff interception on the previous series, the former first rounder out of Arizona State tossed his fifth scoring pass and the third of the day to Lipps for a 45-3 final. Malone had possibly the greatest performance of his career, as the defense would only give up 159 total yards versus 445 from the home team. But Malone would go on to only throw eight more touchdown passes in nine total contests, as the 1985season would only be as great as this day.
January 14, 1996 - Steelers 20, Colts 16 (1995 AFC Championship Game)
Three more yards was the cry all throughout the 1995 season after the demoralizing loss to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship the year before. The opportunity would finally present itself against the upstart Indianapolis Colts and Captain Comeback, Jim Harbaugh.
The Steelers appeared to come out smokin’ and with good field position after Ernie Mills had a great kick return on the opening kick negated due to a Donta Jones roughness penalty, The excitement waned quickly when Neil O’Donnell threw a pass to Mills that was tipped by Tony Saragusa and intercepted by Jeff Herrod and advanced to the black and gold 24-yard line. But the Blitzburgh defense bottled up the Colts and Carrie Blanchard’s 30-yard field goal attempt clanked off of the upright and went in. The Colts led 3-0 with only two minutes and 43 seconds gone in the game. You just knew it was going to be one of those days.
It took the Steelers until their third possession to put a productive drive together, but it stopped at the Colts 13 in a frustrating manner for the Steelers when O’Donnell’s perfect strike to Kordell Stewart fell incomplete at the front of the end zone. However, officials missed an egregious pass interference call on Jason Belser who got there way too early. Fans booed the replay loudly as Belser did a full body flex at the Three Rivers Stadium faithful. The Steelers settled for a Norm Johnson 30-yard field goal to tie it up at 3-3. The tie didn’t last long as they countered next with another Blanchard field goal. Both defenses were bending but didn’t break until the Steelers took the ball at their own 20 and engineered a 16-play drive that climaxed in an O’Donnell to Stewart touchdown collaboration over Belser for five yards on 3rd and goal. The play should have not been allowed because Kordell briefly stepped out of the end zone before the pass was thrown. It ended up being a makeup call for the illegal Belser breakup from before. The Steelers drained 7:27 off of the clock and went into the locker room at halftime up 10-6.
Getting the ball at the 25 on the opening kick of the second half, Harbaugh guided his team as far as the Pittsburgh 20. A 37-yard field goal was the fruit of that drive’s labor for Indy. The Steelers would not answer and the Colts would be on the move into black-and-gold territory again, but the Big Nasty D would force another field goal attempt that would not go through the uprights from 47-yards out. Norm Johnson and the Steelers did have an answer in the form of a 36-yard field goal when the offensive efforts came to a halt at the visitor’s 18. With the score 13-9 in the closing seconds of the third.
A three-and-out by an inspired Steelers defense gave the offense an opportunity to drain clock and extend the tally to possibly a two-score game. But a decent drive got cold when O’Donnell suffered a streak of incompletions and the normally reliable Johnson missed on a kick of 40.
With Ted Marchibroda’s Colts possessing the ball at the 30 and 10:57 separating the Steelers from a trip to Phoenix for Super Bowl XXX, the defense needed to protect their lead. What transpired was slightly less than desirable, as Harbaugh completed three straight passes. From the 47 of Pittsburgh, hinders all over the world gasped in horror as Captain Comeback launched one deep to a wide-open Floyd Turner who rocketed into the end zone. Blanchard’s true extra-point made the score 16-13 with the clock showing 8:46 remaining. The Steelers had plenty of time to shine, but the offense was as cold as that January Joe Dinardo forecast and Rohn Stark emerged to punt the ball away to Indy. The Steelers looked to have gotten a huge break on the very next Colts possession when Lamont Warren had the ball tomahawked out of his arms by Levon Kirkland at the Indy 9, but the ball bounced high and was plucked out of the air by Joe Staysniak to retain the ball for the visitors. Then Brentson Buckner was not called for a roughness penalty on Harbaugh for a very late hit after the whistle, and the Colts were facing a 3rd and 1 at the 21 when Willie Williams made a huge defensive stop. Warren had a hole in which it looked like he could have run forever, but No. 27 tripped him up from behind with an ankle tackle for no gain. The Steelers would get another shot, but precious time poured off of the clock.
With the ball back at the 3:03 mark, Neil came out firing completions to Stewart and John L., but the next pass almost ended things in disaster for the home team when O’Donnell’s pass to Mills was a sure pick-six dropped by Quentin Coryatt. Despite the new life, an incompletion on third down set up a 4th and 3 from the Indianapolis 47. O’Donnell hit Hastings for a nine-yard gain and a first down with 2:00 to go. On the very next play, No. 14 called an 80-Semi Go, a double-move to Ernie Mills and went for it all. No. 89 hauled in the pass at the 1 and Bam Morris would burst in two plays later for the go-ahead touchdown and a 20-16 lead. But 1:34 was a ton of time for Captain Comeback despite spending two timeouts on the Steelers last possession and starting out at their own 16. Harbaugh would move his team to midfield with :39 seconds left when his pass was intercepted but dropped by Chris Oldham, who could have sealed it there. After completing a 4th and 2 to Sean Dawkins, the Colts had the ball at the Pittsburgh 38. A Harbaugh scramble for nine and a spike to stop the clock at :07. With one last play for a Super Bowl bid, Harbs launched a Hail Mary with three men to the right side of the end zone. All along Aaron Bailey was the target, and when the ball finally came down after seemingly hanging in the air forever, it appeared that Bailey had come down with the football. However, Randy Fuller had knocked it to the turf and an official was right there to call it incomplete. The Back Judge Tim Mills later said, “If I didn’t see it hit the ground, the wrong team goes to the Super Bowl”. Regardless of what happened in Arizona two weeks later, it was an epic win in a thriller on a cold day in Pittsburgh and the Steelers were in the Super Bowl for the first time in 16 seasons.
October 12, 1997 - Steelers 22, Colts 20
Something that goes back to the days of the Bible or the 1976 theatrical release of Rocky, you should never look past an opponent or play down to Your competition. Both Goliath and Apollo Creed found that out the hard way when they overlooked David and Robert Balboa respectively. In 1997 the 3-2 Pittsburgh Steelers were a game behind the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Central and a schedule featuring Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Kansas City and Baltimore on the horizon, a game against the 0-5 Indianapolis Colts figured to be a break for the Steelers. But Lindy Infante’s Colts had other ideas on ESPN Sunday Night Football.
The Steelers came out ice cold and the Colts the opposite. Jim Harbaugh’s touchdown throw to Marvin Harrison from the 18, followed by a Jerome Bettis turnover that led to a Cary Blanchard 37-yard field goal has the Steelers down to the Colts just like that. The Colts led 10-0 at the conclusion of the first quarter. But the Steelers were marching, and on a drive that featured 49 yards on seven carries by Jerome Bettis, Norm Johnson came in and booted a 22-yarder when that drive stalled on the 5. The Steelers would score on the next two possessions after that, as well. Donnell Woolford’s interception return of 33 yards after a Harbaugh pass to the Indy 40 turned into a Jerome Bettis 7-yard touchdown run. Then Harbaugh fumbled on the next drive after being sacked by Carnell Lake, with No. 37 scooping up the fruits of his labor and returning it 38 yards to glory for the 17-10 score. The Lake return totally changed the complexion of the game. The Steelers had a chance to pile on before the half but Quentin Coryatt rocked Kordell helmet-to-helmet and the ball squirted free for the turnover at the Colts 27 with :26 seconds remaining. Stewart had to be helped off of the field with a badly rung bell.
In the second half, the Colts inched closer with another Blanchard field goal, this time from 27. The Steelers defense had stopped Harbaugh’s corps from another trip inside the red zone. Mike Tomczak, in for the concussed No. 10, stormed Pittsburgh down the field to another score in his second series behind center. The Steelers QB2 capped-off a sustained and balanced drive with a 28-yard scoring pass to Courtney Hawkins to extend the lead to 24-13. That was the end of the scoring until Indianapolis’ Blanchard converted a 35-yard field goal after Tomczak was intercepted twice to start the fourth quarter by Jason Belser and Dedric Mathis respectively. After the Blanchard field goal, the barrage of Pittsburgh mistakes continued with a fumble by George Jones and a 42-yard pass interference call on Myron Bell that led to a 5-yard Brian Stablein touchdown reception from the arm of Jim Harbaugh to cut the lead to 24-22 with the failed two-point conversion. Then Jerome Bettis’ second turnover two plays later gave the Colts a chance to take the lead at the Pittsburgh 25 with 4:56 remaining.
The Steelers defense held firm though and limited Marshall Faulk to -1 yard on three carries with tackles by Levon Kirkland, Greg Lloyd and Nolan Harrison, however the Steelers spent all three timeouts with the belief that a field goal would give the Colts the lead with his 14th-straight successful kick, but Blanchard’s 42-yard attempt was no good by pulling left. The Colts had three timeouts so the Steelers weren’t able to run out the clock, however Josh Miller’s punt rolled into the end zone and Captain Comeback couldn’t get his team in field goal range after Steven Conley sacked Harbaugh for an 8-yard loss. When the Colt QB’s heave was intercepted out of bounds by Wolford, the Steelers survived. Cowher’s Men of Steel, led by Bettis’ 164 yards rushing, increased their season mark to 4-2 and were on their way to a berth in the AFC Championship Game by season’s close.
October 21, 2002 - Steelers 28, Colts 10
The 2002 Pittsburgh Steelers took a while to find their identity. It looked like a lost season as Bill Cowher’s team started out 0-2 and nearly 0-3 until a quarterback switch from Kordell Stewart to Tommy Maddox saved the season. On a night when the Steelers would honor Maddox’ birthday-mate, Terry Bradshaw (September 2) at halftime for what would be known as the Blonde Bomber’s homecoming, the 2-3 Men of Steel would face a tough task in the Peyton Manning-led 4-1 Indy Colts. Maddox and the Steelers would start the game hot with a Joey Porter punt-block setting up a Tommy Gun to Hines Ward hookup for the score. The defense would keep shutting down Manning and his horses, as the Steelers would add two Jerome Bettis TD runs (3,5), with only a Mike Vanderjagt field goal (in two attempts) as an offensive highlight for the Colts. A Mike Peterson interception of Maddox amounted to nothing, as Brent Alexander would redeem his QB by picking off Manning with :20 seconds remaining in the half and the Steelers firmly ahead at Heinz, 21-3.
In the second half, Bill Cowher’s Steelers rebounded to quell the worry of a Manning scoring toss to Marcus Pollard to narrow the lead to 21-10 and a Bettis (33 yards and 2 TDs) exit due to a sprained left knee. However, Amos Zeroue (83 yards) and Plaxico Burress (6 receptions for 79 yards) along with Ward (5 catches for 76 yards) would pick up the offensive slack. Then the black and gold defense flummoxed No. 18 by intercepting the future Hall of Famer two more times, one by McKeesport Mike Logan to set up Ward’s second touchdown pass and a second interception for Alexander and would smother Indy with two sacks (Aaron Smith and Alexander), and those three interceptions. The win would even Pittsburgh’s record at 3-3, but prove that the Heinz Field Heroes could play with the big boys and start a run to the AFC North title.
January 15, 2006 - Steelers 21, Colts 18 (2005 AFC Divisional Playoff Game)
The Steelers entered the postseason as the sixth seed and were traveling to Indiana after their upset win over rival Cincinnati the previous week. Joey Porter, whose mouth wrote many a check regardless of his account balance, guaranteed a win over the two touchdown favorite Colts, a team that, destroyed the Steelers in that very building. The 14-2 Colts, with their high-powered offense and solid defense, would require luck and bizarre circumstances. With news circulating that DB Nick Harper had been stabbed in the leg with a steak knife by his wife in a domestic dispute the night before, the craziness commenced. The Colts kicked off to start the game, but the raucous home crowd had no effect on Ben Roethlisberger. Starting from the 16, Ben Roethlisberger went long for a 38 and 18-yard connection with the rookie Heath Miller on consecutive throws. Miller hauled in one for 18 more yards on the next play. Then on 3rd and 3 from the six, Ben threw a ball behind Antwaan Randle-El who made a good adjustment and captured the bullet for the touchdown. Just like that, Bill Cowher’s squad led 7-0. After a rare three-and-out for Indy, Roethlisberger was manhandled by Dwight Freeney with the ball squirting ahead to be intercepted by Cato June at the Colt 35. However, the home team had to punt again. No. 7 rebounded well from his passing gaffe and led his Steelers down the RCA Dome track again. With a mix of runs by Willie Parker, Jerome Bettis, and a long 3rd and 10 grab by Hines Ward, Big Ben called upon Miller for the TD with 3:12 left in opening quarter and a shocking 14-0 score. On the Colts third drive, the Steelers continued to harass Manning. Kimo von Oelhoffen had a huge sack to start the series. Manning finally completed a pass on his fifth attempt of the game for a first down to Marvin Harrison, but James Farrior sacked Manning for another huge loss, forcing 3rd and 24. Indy punted again. But Peyton Manning would come alive. From their own 2, the superstar QB led his thoroughbreds down the field, ending with James Mungro’s five-yard run for the score, but a second offsides by Tarik Glenn nullified it, and Indy settled for a 19-yard Mike Vanderjagt field goal. At the half, it was 14-3 in favor of the visiting underdogs.
Midway through the third quarter, the blue team barely got a punt off and the Men of Steel started at the Indianapolis 30, and Bettis finished off the drive with a 1-yard plunge to paydirt and leading 21-3 with 1:26 remaining in the third. Seconds before the quarter ended, Manning waved off Dungy’s punt decision and went for it from his own 36 and made it. It paid off a few moments later when No. 18 connected with Dallas Clark for a 50-yard score with 14:09 remaining. In the fourth, this big game got nuts. With 5:26 remaining, Peyton Manning threw what appeared to be a sure interception gabbed by Troy Polamalu. No. 43 caught the ball, rolled over on the ground while making a football move, dropped the ball and recovered it at midfield. That should have been the nail in Indianapolis’ coffin. Dungy challenged the call and the crowd erupted when the ref, Pete Morelli, announced the overturning of the call on the field as an incomplete pass. Dick Enberg and Dan Dierdorf, calling the game for CBS, expressed shock. Steeler Nation was stunned and enraged. Not wasting that second chance, Edgerrin James plunged in from the three and when Reggie Wayne converted the 2PC, the score was only 21-18 with 4:24 left. The Steelers couldn’t answer back, so Indy took over at their own 18 with 2:32 remaining and a chance to win or tie. But the Steeler defense, who had been flummoxing Manning all day, answered the bell. On 2nd and 8, Joey Porter sacked No. 18 for a loss of six. Then on 4th and 16, Porter and James Farrior dropped Manning to stop the Colts seemingly for good. The Steelers took over on downs and looked to ice the game with Bettis as the closer with the ball at the two. Everybody knows about the wall that was Gary Brackett that No. 36 ran into, and the rare fumble that occurred. When Nick Harper scooped up the ball and raced down the field, the collective jaws of Steeler Nation dropped. Whether it was the stabbing from the night before or divine intervention, something slowed down Harper enough for Roethlisberger to make arguably the most important of all tackles in Steeler history. With the jumbo package in the game to block, fast guys weren’t on the field to catch Harper. But Ben made the twisting ankle-tackle to save the TD. After that, the Colts still had a chance at their own 43 with 1:09 left. Manning immediately found Reggie Wayne for 21 yards to the Steeler 36 and Marvin Harrison got eight more to reach the 28, while Bettis nervously knelt on the sideline. On the next play, Manning went for the win on a long pass to Wayne, but rookie CB Bryant McFadden had amazing coverage and broke it up. On 3rd and 2, Manning went back to Wayne and McFadden almost intercepted this time. It would be a try from 46 to tie from Mike Vanderjagt, Bill Cowher iced the game’s most-accurate all-time kicker at that time, and the WVU product pointed with a mocking gesture to the Steeler coach for icing him. With :21 remaining, Bettis paced and Steeler fans painfully waited for the inevitable trip to OT, where the Steelers would surely lose. However, the cocky kicker had an ugly kick that was never close and sailed wide right. Vanderjagt slammed his helmet to the turf, as Bettis raised his in relief and delight. It was an upset victory and Cinderella story in the truest of forms that transformed pretenders into contenders and, a few weeks later, champions.
November 9, 2008 - Colts 24, Steelers 20
It was a classic matchup between an epic offense and a legendary defense as the 6-2 Steelers and 4-4 Indianapolis Colts battled in an important November contest at Heinz Field. A 4:25 start had most of the NFL world’s eyes on student facing teacher in Mike Tomlin vs. Tony Dungy and Ben Roethlisberger squaring off against Peyton Manning for the first time since that all-time classic in the 2005 Divisional Game in Indy.
Despite playing with a separated shoulder, Roethlisberger led his Men of Steel down the field on a 10-play drive that covered 62 yards and ended with Mewelde Moore’s scoring run in from the 1. Just like that, the Heinz Field scoreboard showed the home team leading by a score of 7-0. Peyton Manning then went to work to match the score, but it looked like the drive would end in disaster for the Colts when Ike Taylor leapt in front of the 35-yard pass with an opportunity to intercept. However, Ike tipped the pass up in the air, falling right into the mitts of Reggie Wayne, catching it in stride and gliding into the end zone for the touchdown. With 7:41 left in the first, the score was nodded up at 7-7. With Dwight Freeney strip-sacking Ben on the next series, disaster was averted when No. 7 recovered the loose ball at the black-and-gold 25. Following a tradeoff of punts by both teams, Roethlisberger and Hines Ward connected for a 40-yard gain to the 1, allowing Moore to finish it by plowing into the end zone again. With 13:41 to go before the half, the Steelers led 14-7 and would add another three on a 42-yard field goal by Jeff Reed a few drives later. The next drive showed legend Marvin Harrison dropping a sure touchdown, and legend Troy Polamalu dropping a sure pick six. But the Colts were always good at finishing out halves, and this day was no exception when Ben Roethlisberger threw a bad ball that was intercepted by Keiwan Ratliff at the Steelers 31. Then Manning got the ball to Dallas Clark on a two-yard slant with :09 seconds left and the two Super Bowl winning QBs took their franchises into their respective locker rooms with the Steelers leading by the score of 17-14.
With the second half kickoff going to Indy, Manning drove his white-clad team down to the Steelers 18. This led to an Adam Vinatieri field goal of 36 yards after Harrison dropped another sure six. With the score at 17-all, Roethlisberger drove his team all the way down the field at the end of the third and through the fourth, but Mewelde Moore was stopped twice at the 1 and the Steelers opted for a Jeff Reed field goal and a 20-17 advantage with 7:57 remaining. The Steelers had a chance to ice the game after a Colts punt with 6:13 remaining, But Big Ben threw his second INT of the contest when Tim Jennings stepped in front of Santonio Holmes at the Pittsburgh 38. Manning would need just four plays to hit Dominic Rhodes for the go-ahead score with 3:04 left. No. 7 would rally his team to get down to the 27 with the clock draining, but his heave to Nate Washington was picked off in the end zone but Melvin Bullitt and the Colts prevailed, TheColts won in Pittsburgh for the first time in 40 years, as the Steelers dropped down to 6-3. But this would just be a game of adversity to build upon on the successful road to their 6th Super Bowl Championship.
October 26, 2014 - Steelers 51, Colts 34
The Steelers started out their 2014 like a black and gold yo-yo, alternating between wins and losses in each of their seven contests. With the 5-2 Colts winning their previous five games rolling into town boasting Andrew Luck and the NFL’s No. 1 ranked offense, the odds were in favor of not the Steelers, but a big, fat L for the 4-3 home team sporting their bumblebee throwbacks.
Off to a fast start, Luck (26/45 for 400 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs) hooked up with T.Y. Hilton to victimize Brice McClain on a 45-yard catch-and-run to get down to the enemy 21. But the Steelers defense clamped down and forced an Adam Vinatieri 31-yard field goal. With that kick, Vinatieri became the first player in NFL history to make 200 field goals with two different teams. Looking to join the greats himself, Ben Roethlisberger started his 150th career NFL game, and was looking to join Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and Tom Brady as the only QBs in NFL history to win their 100th game in 150 starts. The Colts hadn’t allowed a touchdown in the first quarter all season, but that changed with 7:19 left in the first when Markus Wheaton (5 catches for 56 yards, 1 TD) caught an 18-yard pass from No. 7 for a lead that the black and gold would never relinquish.
The explosion continued in the second quarter with Martavis Bryant taking a five-yard pass from Ben to complete a 12-play drive, and William Gay’s 33 Yard pick-six of Luck to take a 21-3 in just :41 seconds. The Colts were scoring machine though, and they weren’t just going to fade into the Western Pennsylvania night. Dwayne Allen would take the Colts’ first trip into the end zone on a 21-yard pass from Luck. The problem was, though, that Antonio Brown hadn’t emerged yet, and it was lethal when AB did. No. 7 led the Steelers down to the Colts 13 midway through the second quarter and were content with a 30-yard Shaun Suisham field goal until Colt Anderson was called for encroachment and a penalty for five. Ben took advantage and threw a 8-yard scoring pass to AB, and following a Colts punt, Brown took a short toss from his QB and dashed 47-yards to glory for a 35-10 lead. The Colts were able to add 10 points by halftime when they were able to retain possession despite a Troy Polamalu strip sack and add a 28-yard Luck-to-T.Y. Hilton (6 catches for 155 yards and 1 TD) collaboration, and a Vinatieri field goal after blocking a Ben Roethlisberger pooch punt with seconds left before intermission. The score going into the locker room was Steelers 35, Colts 20 after a 42-point second quarter.
The next 30 minutes were equally as exciting with the Steelers scoring on an 80-yard drive after the second half kickoff with a Martavis Bryant (7 catches for 83 yards, 2 TDs) touchdown catch from the 2. But then the Men of Steel started to make mistakes. Immediately after Ahmad Bradshaw scored a rushing touchdown from 12-yards out, Darius Heyward-Bey fumbled after a 28-yard catch upon being hit by Darius Butler with Michael Adams recovering. It took only :51 seconds for Luck to locate Donte Moncrief (7 catches for 113 yards, TD) for a 31-yard touchdown grab and the score narrowed to 42-28. It got even more worrisome as LeGarrette Blount fumbled on the enemy 5 and was recovered by Andy Studebaker. But two plays later, Luck was pressured by Arthur Moats and Brett Keisel, fell on his bum, threw it away, and was called for intentional grounding and the safety to make the score Steelers 44, Colts 34 with 12:42 left in the game. The Steelers then went on a 12-play and 7:20 drive that culminated in Big Ben’s record-6th touchdown pass of the game when Heath Miller hauled-in the pass of 11 yards. Luck’s futile attempt to get his team back in it died when Antwon Blake picked-off No. 12 with 2:48 remaining.
It was an epic day for Todd Haley’s offense as Roethlisberger was 40 for 49 with those 6 scoring passes, something he would repeat the very next week against Baltimore. Le’Veon Bell rushed and received for 148 yards total, AB led with 10 catches for 133 yards and 2 TDs, while Heath Miller had seven grabs for 112 yards and a touchdown. James Harrison led on defense with two sacks in a game in which Chuck Pagano’s Colts were heavily favored but couldn’t match the scoring outburst from Mike Tomlin’s club. As both teams left Heinz Field with a record of 5-3.