PASSING OFFENSE: A
The Colts threw for 245 yards as QB Peyton Manning spread the ball around to five different receivers. WR Marvin Harrison had four catches for 128 yards. WR Reggie Wayne had a game-high five catches for 62 yards. Even backup TE Bryan Fletcher got in on the act, coming up with three receptions for 28 yards and his second touchdown in as many weeks. The 80-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Harrison on the Colts' first offensive play set the tone for the game.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A
RB Edgerrin James was a workhorse against the Steelers, picking up 124 yards on 29 carries. James had 71 yards in the second half as the Colts took time off the clock and just kept matriculating the ball down the field. The Indianapolis passing game set the tone early, but it was the ground attack that kept the Steelers at bay.
PASS DEFENSE: B+
Indianapolis recorded three sacks and two interceptions against Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers had 133 yards passing, but the Colts aggressive defense didn't allow Roethlisberger to feel completely comfortable in the pocket. A couple of other sacks was disallowed due to penalties on DE Dwight Freeney, but the Colts All-Pro defensive lineman looked like his old self against an overmatched Steelers offensive line, which committed five false-start penalties.
RUSH DEFENSE: A+
What else can you say about a defensive effort that limits the Pittsburgh Steelers to just 86 yards on the ground in 25 carries. Willie Parker had 43 yards in 12 attempts while QB Ben Roethlisberger added 21 yards in three carries. The one-two punch of Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley were non-factors, with nine and six yards rushing respectively.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+
PK Mike Vanderjagt was four-for-four in field goal attempts, hitting from 29, 48, 44 and 28 yards against the Steelers. P Hunter Smith had five punts for 229 yards, good for a 45.0-yard overall average and a 34.0-yard net average. Smith had two punts downed inside the Steelers' 20-yard line. The kickoff and punt coverage units did a respectable job as well, not allowing PR Antwaan Randle-El to do much damage (one for 19 yards) and limiting the Steelers to a 19.8-yard average on six kickoff returns.
The Colts were three-for-three in Monday night games this season, knocking off St. Louis, New England and Pittsburgh. Credit head coach Tony Dungy and his staff for keeping his team focused on a week-to-week basis, especially when playing on a national stage. Dungy also hasn't allowed the national hype concerning a potential undefeated season to affect his team's game-to-game preparations.
Grading the Colts
PASSING OFFENSE: A