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Colts/Steelers Notebook: Colts Lose Precious Ground In AFC South

Intro: In the Colts/Steelers Week 12 Notebook, we take a look at the play of Scott Tolzien, the injuries piling up and what the AFC South race looks like for the Colts.


INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are likely stewing on Friday, knowing they had plenty of chances to make things very competitive in the latter stages of their Thanksgiving night loss to the Steelers.

In the 28-7 defeat to the Steelers (6-5), the Colts had some pretty significant names join the injured likes of Andrew Luck and Clayton Geathers on the sideline.

Here's a notebook look at the Colts (5-6) losing their first Thursday game since 2004:

Scott Tolzien Does His Job*

What would the Colts get out of a quarterback who came into Thursday night with just one NFL pass in the last three years?*

That was the question facing Scott Tolzien and the Colts in Week 12.

What the Colts got was a quarterback who gave his team a chance to possibly upset the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I thought Scott played his ass off," Chuck Pagano said after the 28-7 loss.

"He is one tough son of a gun. He hung in there and hung in there and made some really tough throws and took some shots along the way. I am very proud of that kid."

Tolzien was 22-of-36 for 205 yards on Thursday. He threw for one touchdown. Two fourth-quarter interceptions came with the Colts trying to mount a major comeback.

On a short week, Tolzien was clearly prepared and took the Colts on six drives into Pittsburgh territory.

The inability to close those drives with points was the difference though.

Afterwards, coaches and players went out of their way to praise Tolzien for doing his part.

"Amazing," T.Y. Hilton said in describing Tolzien's third career NFL start.

"He put us in a situation to win the game. We just didn't make the plays out there today."**

Photos from the first ever Thanksgiving Day game in Indianapolis.

Critical Injuries Hit Colts

**This mini-bye week for the Colts comes at a very important time.

On Thursday night, the Colts saw five starters exit due to injuries.

That handful can be added to the Colts already without Andrew Luck and Clayton Geathers.

Ryan Kelly (shoulder), Denzelle Good (shoulder), T.Y. Hilton (back), Vontae Davis (groin) and Robert Mathis (elbow) all had their nights end early.

Not only was the quantity of the injuries high on Thursday, but the names are some of the most indispensable on the roster.

A 10-day break now greets the Colts.

Next up for the Colts is a road game against the Jets on Monday, Dec. 5. The Colts have five games remaining in 2016.

The players will have the weekend off before the Colts likely gather again on Monday for a bonus practice leading into their final primetime game this year.**

Colts Lose Ground In AFC South

**Every loss the Colts suffer right now has a major impact in their attempt to push for the playoffs.

Thursday's 28-7 defeat to the Steelers dropped the Colts (5-6) to a game and a half behind the Texans (6-4) in the AFC South.

In all likelihood, the Colts will have to win the AFC South outright to earn a playoff berth. The tiebreaking scenarios are currently not in the favor of the Colts.

Here are the remaining schedules for the Colts and Texans:

-Colts: @Jets (3-7), Texans (6-4), @Vikings (6-5), @Raiders (8-2), Jaguars (2-8)

-Texans: Chargers (4-6), @Packers (4-6), @Colts (5-6), Jaguars (2-8), Bengals (3-6-1), @Titans (5-6)**

Colts/Steelers Snap Counts**

  • T.Y. Hilton played just 25 of 63 snaps, as a back injury forced him out of the lineup for good in the third quarter. Without Hilton, Donte Moncrief (62-of-63 snaps), Jacoby Brissett (47-of-63) and Chester Rogers (27-of-63) did the heavy receiver lifting.
  • Ryan Kelly (shoulder) left after three snaps. Starting right guard Denzelle Good played 46 snaps, leaving for a portion early in the game and then for good in the fourth quarter.
  • With the offensive line injuries, Jon Harrison (60 snaps) and Joe Reitz (18 snaps) saw extended run.
  • Defensively, Mike Adams, D'Qwell Jackson and Patrick Robinson played all 54 snaps.
  • Without Clayton Geathers, the Colts used a combination of T.J. Green (41 snaps) and Darius Butler (24 snaps) at safety.
  • Robert Mathis (31 snaps) and Vontae Davis (22 snaps) both left with injuries.
  • Edwin Jackson is this team's new starting inside linebacker. He played 48 snaps alongside D'Qwell Jackson on Thursday. Both Jackson's had a team-high seven tackles.
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