PITTSBURGH —The Indianapolis Colts are on the road for the second and final time in the 2017 preseason, as they are in Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers at Heinz Field Saturday evening.
The Colts (0-2) are coming off a 24-19 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Saturday at AT&T Stadium, while the Steelers (2-0) are coming off a 17-13 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Here's a look at the major highlights as they happened in each quarter:
The Steelers won the opening coin toss and elected to receive. Running back Knile Davis would be a common theme early, pulling off runs of 10 and 11 yards, before the Colts' promising knack for earning takeaways came up once again. Outside linebacker John Simon hit Steelers quarterback Ben Roethelisberger from his backside and forced the ball out, which was recovered by defensive lineman Hassan Ridgeway. It was the fourth takeaway by the Indy defense this preseason, and second by Simon, who had an interception in the first game against the Lions — also on the first drive of the game.
2:54:You want aggression out of the Colts' first-team offense? How about a 55-yard pass play to Donte Moncrief on their very first play. Moncrief — playing for the first time this preseason after missing time with a shoulder injury — broke away from one tackler from the outset and the rest was all him, as he got to the Pittsburgh 8-yard line. A big defensive pass interference call on the Steelers — on an attempted pass to Moncrief, again — just three plays later, on third down, set up a 1-yard Frank Gore touchdown. At the 10:46 mark in the first quarter, the Colts took an early 7-0 lead.5:00:
The Steelers get on the board with a 36-yard field goal by Chris Boswell. It was a long drive for Roethelisberger and Co. — 11 plays, 57 yards, 5:50 off the clock — but two huge plays in coverage by safety Matthias Farley stopped the Steelers short at the Indianapolis 18-yard line. Pittsburgh is getting yards in big chunks so far, but the turnover on their first drive and being held to a field goal on their second drive are both certainly welcomed sights for Ted Monachino's group.0:00:
At the end of the first quarter, the Colts lead the Steelers, 7-3.SECOND QUARTER14:12:
A promising-looking second drive for the Colts ended abruptly when Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier picked off quarterback Scott Tolzien at the Pittsburgh 20-yard line. Tolzien and wide receiver Kamar Aiken had *just *converted a 3rd and 6 with a tough-seven yard passing play, too. The Indianapolis first-team offense to that point had done a good job taking care of the ball during the preseason, but now leaves it up to the defense to see if it can continue putting a stop to the Pittsburgh offensive attack, which has taken out Roethlisberger and put in Landry Jones at quarterback.
11:34:After another Colts' defensive stop, Tolzien delivers again, this time with a nice pump fake and then toss over the top of the defense down the right sideline to Jacoby Brissett for a 32-yard gain. A roughing-the-passer penalty would add 15 yards and get the ball to the Pittsburgh 36. Three plays later, however, a tipped pass caught by tight end Jack Doyle would be just short of the first-down marker, and Adam Vinatieri came on and nailed a 45-yard field goal. At 9:35 left, the Colts extend their lead to 10-3.
8:51:Farley, who had two big plays in coverage to stop an earlier Pittsburgh drive, comes in on the safety blitz and brings down Jones for a loss of eight on second down. Monachino said earlier in the week the defense needed to be creative in how it executed "productive" pass rushes — there's a perfect example. Nice design and execution. The Steelers would then be forced to punt.
7:40:Stephen Morris comes in at quarterback for the Colts, which is telling because head coach Chuck Pagano said earlier in the week the ideal situation would have the starters playing at least the first half. Morris is going to get a serious look here. Tolzien's final line: 7-of-10 passing for 123 yards and an interception, though one might agree he looked much more decisive and aggressive tonight than he had been the first two preseason games.
3:24:The Colts add three more with a 31-yard Vinatieri field goal to increase their lead to 13-3. But they could've had much more, as Morris was dealing on the drive, connecting on passes of 18 yards on third down to Dorsett, 14 yards on a screen play to running back Marlon Mack and 17 yards to Aiken. But his pass in the end zone to Doyle would be batted away on third down, leading to the field goal. It was a 9-play, 51-yard drive that took 4:16 off the clock.
INJURY UPDATE:Cornerback Vontae Davis has a groin injury and is OUT for the rest of the game.
0:08:A 41-yard field goal from Boswell makes it 13-6, Indy lead. The Colts had several opportunities to close out the Steelers on third down, but their pass rush just couldn't get home and Pittsburgh would earn the valuable conversions.
0:00:At halftime, the Colts lead the Steelers, 13-6.
THIRD QUARTER9:05:Not an ideal start for the second half for the Colts. With their backups now mostly in, their offense went three-and-out on their opening drive, while the defense allowed a 8-play, 63-yard drive that took 4:22 off the clock and culminated in a nice one-handed, 10-yard touchdown grab by Xavier Grimble. The extra point was no good, however, and the Colts continue to lead, 13-12.
1:33:The Colts' defense bent — it allowed two first-down conversions on separate 3rd and 10 plays — but didn't necessarily break in a long 12-play, 52-yard drive that ended in a 37-yard field goal, giving the Steelers their first lead of the night, 15-13. On 3rd and 9 from the Indianapolis 19-yard line, new Colts cornerback Chris Culliver batted down a pass in one-on-one coverage on the outside that would've been yet another long conversion for the Pittsburgh offense, so credit the veteran for stopping the bleeding there.
0:00:At the end of the third quarter, the Steelers lead the Colts, 15-13.
9:47: *Morris and the Colts' offense have their own third-down magic. With Morris still at quarterback, Indy converts an 3rd and 11 with a nice touch pass to wide receiver Bug Howard for 24 yards. Then, On 3rd and 6, Morris found JoJo Natson — the team's leading receiver this preseason entering the game — for a 6-yard conversion to the 9. *Then, on 3rd and 2 from the 3, Josh Ferguson carried it 2 yards to the 1 for the 1st and Goal. It was Ferguson again on the next play for the 1-yard touchdown run, capping an impressive 14-play, 86-yard drive. Vinatieri's extra point was no good, but the Colts regained the lead, 19-15.
4:23: Another bend-but-don't-break moment for the Colts' defense, which produces its fifth takeaway of the preseason. On 2nd and 9 from the Indianapolis 18, Culliver was called for pass interference in the end zone, setting up a 1st and Goal from the 1-yard line situation for the Steelers. But quarterback Jones was rushed into a telegraphed pass attempt to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, which was picked off in the end zone by cornerback Chris Milton for the touchback. Phew, I'm sure was the expession on the Indy sideline.
2:37:Barkevious Mingo earns his second sack of the preseason — remember, he had a strip-sack that was returned for a touchdown by Lavar Edwards last week against the Cowboys — to set up a 3rd and 19 attempt; one 10-yard pass later, the Steelers were forced to punt. But the Indy offense, now led by rookie quarterback Phillip Walker, would face a 3rd and 3 from its own 32-yard line with the clocked stopped after the Steelers called their last timeout of the game. The ensuing play, another Ferguson run, was oh-so-close to the first-down marker, but just short. At 44 seconds left on 4th and 1, the Colts took a timeout, but put their punt team on the field. The punt from rookie Rigoberto Sanchez traveled 50 yards out of bounds to the 15, and Pittsburgh was unable to score on its final drive.
0:00:The Colts leave Pittsburgh with their first win of the 2017 preseason, 19-15 over the Steelers.
Photos from the preseason week 3 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers
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