INDIANAPOLIS– Heading into Thursday evening, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 64-of-88 for 886 yards in his last two games against the Colts. Those efforts resulted in two Steeler wins by at least a 17-point margin.
Pittsburgh came into Indianapolis looking for its fourth straight victory over the Colts, who were hosting their inaugural home game on Thanksgiving.
Facing the Colts for the first time at Lucas Oil Stadium since 2011, Roethlisberger found his rhythm early and led the Steelers to 21 points in their first 21 offensive plays. The Steelers' signal caller finished 14-of-20 for 221 yards and three touchdowns en route to a 28-7 win.
"He's a dynamic, dynamic football player, and has been a thorn in our side and a lot of other people's sides for a long time," Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said.
"We understood that we had to make sure that 84 (Antonio Brown) didn't wreck the game and 26 (Le'Veon Bell) didn't wreck the game. We just didn't get the job done. We've got to be better."
Antonio Brown was on the receiving end of all three of those touchdowns. Brown recorded his second career game of three touchdowns on Thursday night. His first came just a season ago, also against the Colts in a 45-10 win at Heinz Field.
Coming into the game, the Colts hoped to contain Le'Veon Bell and devote more attention to the Steelers aerial attack. Bell's one rushing touchdown and 120 yards, all of which came on rushes of 12 yards or less, kept the Colts' defense on their toes all evening.
"Anytime you play Ben, there aren't too many guys like him, he's capable of extending plays and his receivers do a great job of working with him outside the pocket," Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said.
"He's tough to bring down. He's a triple threat and he's also very accurate outside the pocket. When you play a team like that you've got to try to make them as one-dimensional as possible, and the easiest way to do that is to take care of the run. We didn't create enough turnovers or create enough possessions for our offense in the end."
Bell, who was absent in this meeting a year ago, utilized cutback lanes and the edge to do his part making the Steelers offense two-dimensional.
Despite 369 total yards of Steeler offense, the Colts were not without their fair share of opportunities. Scott Tolzein, filling in for injured quarterback Andrew Luck, drove the Colts to the Pittsburgh's one-yard line on two different occasions. Both drives ended in failed fourth down attempts.
Roethlisberger answered that second failed attempt from the one by throwing his 13th touchdown in his last three contests against the Colts. He is now 78-of-108 for 1,107 yards in that span.
"They kind of had us off-balance, so we weren't able to get a lot of pressure and get some hits on the quarterback," Colts linebacker Erik Walden said after the game. "You've got to give them credit in their run game. They established the run and were allowed to pick and choose what they wanted to do."
The loss drops the Colts to 5-6, with a trip to MetLife Stadium and a Monday Night Football meeting with the Jets on the horizon.