PITTSBURGH — The Steelers escaped with a 26-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, after a sloppy, mistake-prone effort at Heinz Field.
The Steelers’ fate looked grim after a long pass interference penalty on Steven Nelson set the Colts up in line for a game-winning 43-yard field goal, but veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri missed wide left, giving the Steelers an improbable victory.
Pittsburgh took the lead for good on a Chris Boswell 26-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Throughout the game, the Steelers offense operated in fits and starts. Quarterback Mason Rudolph completed 26 of 35, but threw for just 191 yards and also had an interception and was sacked for a safety.
Running back Jaylen Samuels fumbled and rushed for just 10 yards on eight carries, though he was a key cog in the passing game, tying a team record with 13 catches for 73 yards.
Of the Steelers’ 26 points, 17 came off turnovers, as Minkah Fitzpatrick had 96-yard interception return for a touchdown and Vance McDonald’s 7-yard came after a Bud Dupree sack, fumble and recovery.
For the most part, the defense held up its end of the bargain against the Colts, creating three turnovers and sacking the Indy quarterbacks five times.
But in big circumstances, they also came up short. After starter Jacob Brissett left with an injury early, backup Brian Hoyer led the Colts to 21 points over the final three quarters.
Next week, the Steelers’ offense will face a larger challenge, when the Los Angeles Rams visit Heinz Field. That game has a 4:25 p.m. kickoff.