PITTSBURGH — While it first seemed to appear that another week would just mean a similar result for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger silenced his doubters by leading his team to a much needed comeback win over the Colts.
But the win did not come easy for the Steelers. It took the largest comeback for the Steelers under head coach Mike Tomlin (22 points) in order to leave the stadium with a 28-24 victory.
The struggles from recent weeks continued for Roethlisberger and the offense upon kickoff with incompletions to Dionate Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Conversely, Philip Rivers and the Colts offense were able to expose a clearly tired Steeles defense, who did not have much time to take a breathe, throughout most of the first half.
That was the story of the first half, but things certainly changed at Heinz Field after both teams returned from their locker rooms.
One constant throughout the game saw the Steelers defense do what it does best – generate a pass rush and create turnovers. But it only started to have a true impact once the offense could capitalize and move the ball down the field on their own. Individually, TJ Watt had a stellar game with 2 sacks, highlighted by becoming the only player in Steelers history to record 14+ sacks in multiple seasons. Watt forced a fumble, which led Pittsburgh to a touchdown off a 1-yard run by James Conner. Mike Hilton also picked Rivers off late in the 4th quarter as Indianapolis attempted to answer trailing for the first time all game.
Ben Roethlisberger, who finished game going 34 for 49 for 342 yards and 3 touchdown passes, found Diontae Johnson for a 39-yard touchdown late in the third quarter and put up another score with a strike to tight end Eric Ebron in the 4th quarter to fully crawl back in the game. The Steelers then eventually took the lead for the first time all day thanks to a 25-yard touchdown reception by JuJu Smith-Schuster, who had been facing tons of criticism for dancing on opposing logos while the team was losing.
It was then all up to the Colts veteran signal caller. With two minutes on the clock and the pressure now squarely on his shoulders, it was Rivers’ job to get his team into the end zone. He came close. A field goal would not be enough. He failed. The Steelers defense stepped up. And the Steelers held on for the win, snapping their losing streak and also winning the AFC North.