INDIANAPOLIS – Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has seen the Colts tape from Sunday's shutout over the Bengals.
Bell, one of the game's best young backs, comes into Sunday facing a defense that hasn't given up a point in 80:59 of game action.
The Colts defense is near the top of the league rankings in several categories so Bell and the Steelers want to see that unit on the field for meaningful snaps late in Sunday's meeting.
"Their defense hasn't played much time because their offense has been on the field for so long," Bell told local media this week. "They haven't had to play 60 plays a game on defense. We want to be able to establish our ground game and time of possession so we can start stacking wins and get the ball rolling."
Ben Roethlisberger will be the one trying to force the Colts to play 60 minutes on Sunday.
As an 11-year veteran, Roethlisberger is a player Colts players and coaches know all to well.
Chuck Pagano saw first hand the type of damage the 6-5, 241-pound quarterback did to his former Ravens defenses.
"Ben's a future Hall of Famer, as far as I'm concerned," Pagano said earlier this week.
"You've got to do a great job containing him and trying to keep him in the pocket as best you can. If you're lucky enough to come free and have a chance to get him down, you've got to be under control and you've got to wrap him up. He's a hard guy to bring down and when he breaks contain and he extends plays, that's when they wreak a bunch of havoc on you. I've been burned in the past a ton by him and Santonio Holmes and now it's him to (Antonio) Brown. He's as good as there is at extending plays."
Bjoern Werner will be one of numerous Colts defenders trying to get Big Ben to the turf this weekend.
In the last five weeks, the Colts defense has racked up 20 sacks with Werner having four of those.
The German native was almost giddy when talking about the challenge of playing against Big Ben.
"He's one of the toughest quarterbacks to sack because he's so big," Werner says of Roethlisberger. "He's probably bigger than me, weighs more, he's taller than me, so he can extend plays, he's really strong and he's hard to get down.
"I'm really excited to play against him."
Inside of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, players and coaches have their fair share of history with the Steelers.
Dwayne Allen has watched the Steelers from afar but he knows that what the Colts have shown the past few weeks will be put to the test at Heinz Field.
"We will see if we are as physical as we think we are," Allen says.
The Colts carry a five-game winning streak with them to Pittsburgh, on the heels of a defensive performance that those in Indianapolis aren't used to seeing.
It's all a part of that vision that Jim Irsay, Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano had in mind back in the late winter of 2012.
The results are evident, and now it's time to take this Colts act on the road.
"There's not a day that goes by where we don't talk about all those things, our vision, our core values, our culture, all that stuff," Pagano says.
"Culture eats strategy by far. So if you're culture's good and your environment's good, you've got a pretty good chance that everything else is going to work okay and that's a credit to these coaches and players because they embody it."
INTERESTING MATCHUPSSteelers running back Le'Veon Bell versus the Colts defense:We are going to go with two Steelers skill players for this week's matchup because of how dynamic their play making ability can be. Bell is second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage this year as he averages more than 40 yards a game receiving. Colts defenders lauded the patience they've seen from Bell on tape.Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown versus the Colts secondary: Sunday will be a heavyweight type matchup when Antonio Brown lines up across Vontae Davis. Brown is a slippery receiver that has recorded at least five catches for 80 receiving yards in all seven games this season. His big play ability is something the Colts have taken note of this week. Remember, the last time Davis allowed a touchdown in coverage came over 700 snaps ago (Week 14 of the 2014 season).Quick Facts
-The Colts are looking for their sixth straight win, which would mark the longest win streak for the franchise since 2009.
-The Colts are the only team in the NFL with two running backs who have at least 500 yards from scrimmage this season.
-Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has led the Colts to the most wins (27) in the first three seasons of a quarterback's career in team history.
-Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 17-1 at Heinz Field in the month of October.
-In each of the Steelers seven games this season, running back Le'Veon Bell has recorded at least 100 yards from scrimmage.
-Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown leads the NFL with nine plays of more than 25 yards this year.NOTABLE QUOTESColts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on the concerns of facing Le'Veon Bell):
-"Everything. I mean the guy's a beast. With 599 yards rushing, he's the second-leading receiver on their team. He's big, he's strong, he's got great vision. He's a very, very patient runner. It's kind of like he gets to the line of scrimmage and it's kind of like he settles, and it's kind of like now you see me, now you don't. He's got burst, can accelerate, take it the distance. He can run you over, catch it out of the backfield. We saw against Houston, beat a linebacker inside and go 30, 40 yards down the field. This guy's dynamic, a dynamic runner. We've got to do a great job of gap integrity, building a flat wall, setting the edges and the backside cutback. He's got great vision, and for a big guy athleticism, and cut it all the way back. So across the front and the linebacker crew and the back end, if he does happen to get out on us, we've got to get him on the ground. He's tough to tackle, he's tough to bring down."Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on if Vontae Davis is playing with more consistency this year):
-"Absolutely. You don't see, because there was three or four games and like a lot of corners I've been around, whether they're throwing at you or not throwing at you, you can go a game where they don't test you and you kind of fall asleep and lose focus. But he's been extremely steady, very, very consistent. I think it's a byproduct of his attention to detail in the classroom, in the meeting room. Him and Greg (Toler) and the whole secondary have spent a ton of extra time watching tape. He's practicing extremely well. All the plays that he's making on game day he's making throughout the week. Again we always talk about you play like you practice, so he's been very consistent."
Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck(on watching Ben Roethlisberger and his ability to extend plays):
-"I remember watching a lot of Pittsburgh film as a rookie to try and learn coach (Bruce) Arians' offense. Half the time you're sort of putting the clicker down saying, 'Oh my gosh, how does this guy do that?' He's an incredible, incredible quarterback. He's obviously a multiple Super Bowl winner and done so many things. His ability to extend plays is amazing. I know our defense is focused on not trying to let that happen. As a quarterback, you know that if you can extend a play during a game, it can be demoralizing to a defense. If you convert a first down or get a touchdown, that can really help. But he's certainly the master at that."
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin(on what he sees from the Chuck Pagano's defense and the similarities to Ravens defenses of the past):
-"They're an attacking group. The corners are aggressive. Those guys are doing a great job of playing press coverage. They're getting after you in terms of the pressure. They've got 21.0 sacks in seven ball games. They play a lot of people. I do see some structural similarities in the groups."
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin(on what to do in trying to defend T.Y. Hilton):
-"You've got to keep him from getting on top of you first and foremost. T.Y. is an extremely talented guy and having a great season and career but you're faced with similar challenges every week in terms of people that can stretch you vertically. It's our job obviously to try to keep a lid on it. They do a great job of moving him around and stacking him and doing those things to get him down the field."
Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger(on what he sees in Andrew Luck):
-"He does everything well. He's quickly emerging as one of the best in this league and I kind of had anticipated that early on with him. I think we all kind of knew the special talent that he was. Just from being a big athlete, having a big arm, being smart, making all the throws, the reads, just a great football player. He lets his play do his talking. You don't see him off the field doing a lot of stuff. I think he just is about football and he does it at an extremely high level."