Steelers keep their season alive with a critical win over the Colts

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) throws a pass during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) throws a pass during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers needed a win on Monday Night Football to have a chance of fighting back into the hunt this year, and they delivered. 

With their backs against the wall once again, the Pittsburgh Steelers prevailed on the road against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12. It was a tale of two halves on Monday Night Football, but Mike Tomlin’s team advances to 4-7 on the season.

In the first half, Pittsburgh was firing on all cylinders. The defense was fantastic in the early going, as James Pierre picked off Matt Ryan on his second pass attempt of the evening. After not allowing a score in the first quarter, the Steelers ultimately gave up just 3 in the first half as the special teams blocked a field goal as time expired in the second quarter.

Offensively, things weren’t perfect for Pittsburgh in the first half, but they were at least encouraging. After settling for a field goal on his first drive, Kenny Pickett led his team to 13 second-quarter points. He had a beautiful pass to George Pickens down the sideline for a 35-yard gain and entered the tunnel with a stat line of 14/18 for 133 yards (7.4 yards per attempt), according to ESPN stats.

The running game was also encouraging in the first half. This was primarily due to the offensive line opening up a few big holes. While Najee Harris carried the ball 10 times for just 35 yards, the team had 116 rushing yards on 5.0 yards per attempt in the first half — 34 of which came from Pickett. Ultimately, Mike Tomlin’s team finished with an incredibly strong first half as they entered the tunnel with a 16-3 lead.

Steelers struggle in the second half

The second half was an entirely different story. The Colts went on a 14-0 run in the third quarter as Pittsburgh’s stagnant offense looked much like it has all season. As solid as Pickett was in the first half, his second half was mediocre as his yards per attempt and passer rating greatly slipped.

Meanwhile, the defense was a bit discouraging in the second half. The pressure didn’t get there fast enough against Matt Ryan, as they allowed the seasoned veteran to claw his way back into the game.

Eventually, Pittsburgh would secure a 24-17 win, but the game was closer than it needed to be. Sadly, we didn’t see as many positive takeaways as we had hoped.

Steelers win, but still need to see more from their offense

I was very encouraged by some of the throws that Kenny Pickett made in this game, but the rookie quarterback hasn’t been nearly consistent enough. On more than one occasion, he missed open receivers across the middle of the field. It didn’t help that his receivers dropped a few catchable passes that could have helped move the chains.

Additionally, Diontae Johnson had a drop in the end zone that could have beefed up Pickett’s stats a bit. Pittsburgh’s offense has spurts where they can look really good, but Matt Canada’s dull game plan constantly gets in the way.

The most discouraging part is that Pittsburgh’s offense almost always seems to fall apart in the second half. After two quarters, they were on the pace for 32 points and an excellent game from Pickett. By the end, however, they managed 24 points and Pickett finished with just 6.2 yards per attempt and an 87.5 passer rating.

Trending. Steelers wouldn’t dream of trading Kenny Pickett for any these young QBs. light

It wasn’t pretty, but chalk it up as a win. At 4-7, the Steelers aren’t eliminated from playoff contention. It will still take a miracle to sneak into the postseason, but at the very least, this win had to give this team a slight boost of confidence. Pickett has now won 2 of his last 3 games following the bye.