Thoughts From The Pressbox

Dale Lolley has notes, quotes and anecdotes from the Steelers' 51-34 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Lost in the historic day for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the offense was a pretty good day for the defense.

Some might look at that last statement and think the writer had just come back from Colorado with a pound of brownies, but it's true.

While Andrew Luck and the Colts put up 448 yards and 34 points, the Steelers did a nice job of getting pressure on the Indianapolis quarterback throughout this game and forcing some bad passes.

The Steelers officially had just two sacks - both of which should have been credited to James Harrison but one given to Troy Polamalu because he forced a Luck fumble. But the pressure on Indianapolis' quarterback was relentless.

It led to a number of bad throws and five meaningful possessions during which the Colts ran four or fewer plays before giving up the ball via turnover or punt.

Against an offense such as Indianapolis, that's not a bad day at the office.

"Even though we gave up yards, we have to look at whether we were able to get off the field when we needed to," said defensive end Cameron Heyward, who had two sacks negated by offsetting penalties. "Andrew Luck is a helluva a quarterback. He's going to make some plays."

The Steelers wanted to hit Luck early and often.

"Everybody got pressure. We were going to make sure he felt us every single time he was back there," said Heyward. "I think our DBs did a great job of taking away the quick pass and making them go downfield. A couple of times, we got beat. But for the most part, I felt like we controlled things up front."

The Steelers were credited with seven hurries in this game, with linebacker Jason Worilds leading the way with three, but it seemed like much more than that. Luck was forced several times to throw the ball away rather than take a sack.

"We wanted to jam their receivers and not give them those quick releases to get constant pressure on (Luck)," said Harrison. "No quarterback rolls well with constant pressure on him."

If the Steelers can do at least that moving forward, they can be a player in the AFC playoff race.

@ Roethlisberger, at times, looked like he could have taken the time to fill out his Christmas list in the backfield in this game.

It sure looked that way as Heath Miller got open on some key third downs. It was funny to watch two, or even three, Indianapolis defenders running with Antonio Brown - who still finished with 10 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns - only to leave Miller all by himself.

The Steelers had the Colts in disarray. As Roethlisberger said after the game, Pittsburgh felt like it could do whatever it wanted against the Indianapolis defense.

@ Mike Tomlin said he pulled Cortez Allen, replacing him with Antwon Blake, after Allen allowed a third quarter TD pass to rookie Donte Moncrief because he had to do what was necessary to win this game.

But he also noted that Allen might be out there again when the Steelers host Baltimore next week because the coaching staff isn't giving up on Allen.

There's some merit to that. Once again. Allen seems to be in the correct position to make a play but he's just not getting his head around in time to do so.

If Allen wants to see how it should be done, he need only watch his replacement, Antwon Blake, make a play on an interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Blake kept his head turned and tracked the ball the whole way, making an easy interception.

@ If the Allen bashers need a reason not to write the cornerback off just yet, look no further than offensive tackle Mike Adams.

@ If there was one decision to be ripped in this game, it was the one to have Roethlisberger punt at the end of the first half.

I get not trying a 51-yard field goal into the open end of the stadium in that situation because you don't want to give the Colts the ball back at midfield with a miss, but put your punter on the field.

Is it completely necessary to "trick" the Colts in that situation? Obviously, that didn't work.

The punt was blocked and the Colts got the ball where they would have had the Steelers tried the field goal.

It gave away some momentum, though, as Roethlisberger said, the Colts couldn't stop the Steelers all day, anyway.

@ People were hoping the Steelers could win two of their three games in this three-game stretch to stay relevant this season. Now, it's time for Pittsburgh to get greedy and go for the three-game sweep.

The Ravens haven't played well on the road this season - outside a shellacking of Tampa Bay - and a win by the Steelers over Baltimore would put the division title in play.

Although, it's hard to get over the fact that this is a team that lost to Tampa Bay and Cleveland.

But now you can say it's a team that beat the Colts.


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