Steelers vs. Colts: Five questions with Horseshoe Heroes


The Steelers and Colts are facing off for Sunday Night Football with each team eyeing the post season.

The Steelers and Colts are two of the five 6-5 teams in the AFC vying for playoff spots. The Colts have the edge with the better chance to win their division but are currently tied with the Houston Texans. The Steelers are coming off of a road loss to the Seahawks while the Colts are riding a three-game winning streak.

Throughout the season Still Curtain will be taking you inside to get the dirt on the opposing team through the FanSided network. We’ll be interviewing the opposing teams’ site to get you the inside info on the opposition.

This week we have Even Reller, editor of Horseshoe Heroes, FanSided’s Indianapolis Colts-themed site. Reller will be giving us the dirt on Matt Hasselbeck’s hot streak, Andrew Luck’s progress and a prediction for the game with score.

40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck has been on quite a hot streak since stepping in for the injured Andrew Luck. Are fans confident he can keep it up?

Hasselbeck has essentially played two good games (at Houston and home vs Tampa Bay) and two bad ones (vs Jacksonville and at Atlanta) despite what some would have you believe. It feels a bit like the team is playing with fire out of necessity, but this is exactly why they paid for a quality backup. I’ll admit to thinking Hasselbeck was done after watching him in training camp and the preseason, but his play has undoubtedly saved the season.

Aside from this week’s game, the Colts schedule for the rest of the season isn’t all that tough. It will likely be at least three more weeks before Luck can return to action, so hopefully he can keep it up in the short term.

Given that Andrew Luck had struggles prior to his injury, are fans looking for him to come back before the playoffs or ready to ride or die with Hasselbeck?

Fans have been asking the question over the past two weeks of whether or not Luck should start given Hasselbeck’s play, but coach Chuck Pagano has already said that Luck will be the starter when he’s healthy. Even Hasselbeck knows his role with the team and firmly believes that Luck gives the team their best chance to win.

The Colts have simplified the offense and put an importance on quick passing with Hasselbeck at the helm, something they should have done a long time ago with Luck. That makes Hasselbeck look a lot better than he really has been.

The level of speculation and hot takes on the topic has been frankly insane. Deion Sanders said something to the effect of why would pay Luck $100 million when all Hasselbeck does is win? Which sort of negates the fact that Hasselbeck is 40, and the quality of opponents over his four wins hasn’t been that great. Hasselbeck has played well, but he doesn’t give the Colts a better chance to win than Luck.

Last season these two teams met at Heinz Field and Ben Roethlisberger went off for 522 yards and six touchdowns. Who has to step up for the Colts defense to prevent another offensive explosion by the Steelers?

Well it would be nice if the secondary didn’t let players run free this time around. The Colts need to adjust their schemes this time around and actually game plan to take away some of the Steelers deep passes. Unfortunately the Colts have given up an NFL-high 47 20-plus yard passing plays.

A specific player who could step up is Robert Mathis. He was on IR last season and the Colts pass rush suffered. This season hasn’t been much better but Mathis is overdue for a big game. The best way to stop a passing attack is to not let the ball out of pocket. Roethlisberger excels against the blitz, so unleashing Mathis is the ideal option for preventing those big plays.

What are the Colts fans expectations for the playoffs? With the injury to Andrew Luck taking him out for so many games are there the game expectations to finally get over that hump in the playoffs or not as much anymore?

It feels as if a lot of fans have given up on this season. They don’t really seem to have expectations. If the Colts make the playoffs, there will be plenty of fans who are upset they didn’t get a better draft pick (there were some who didn’t like making it to the AFC Championship Game).

Anything could happen in the playoffs. Luck has had a rough year, but there is enough talent on offense for this team to make a bit of a run. Luck could get hot (not unlike Joe Flacco in 2012) and carry the Colts to a championship. That is much more likely that the same happening with Hasselbeck.

What is your prediction with score for the game?

I’m inclined to say that the Steelers will win. The Colts haven’t shown an ability to cover well or rush the passer this season. If they eschew the running game, the Colts will be able to keep up on the scoreboard but I doubt that happens. I expect the Colts to keep this a closer game, but for the Steelers to still win comfortably.

Next: Steelers game day grub

There you have it, Steeler Nation. What would you have asked differently about the Steelers and Colts matchup?

Be sure to check out Horseshoe Heroes for my answers to Evan’s questions.

Here we go Steelers! Here we go!