The Steelers may have saved the season with a win against the Indianapolis Colts
I don’t think we should get ahead of ourselves, but with the Steelers besting the Indianapolis Colts in primetime, we may have just saved the season. What I mean by that is this: While we may not necessarily be in the mix for a playoff spot, I think the win against the Colts puts us in a good position to finish the 2022 campaign with a winning record.
The game we played against the Colts was far from perfect but we did enough on both sides of the ball to secure victory. That’s the epitome of team sports. The offense compliments the defense and vice versa. That is exactly what transpired against the Colts.
Let’s see what we learned on the offensive side of the ball.
The Steelers can actually run the ball
I think it’s fair to say that when we have a balanced offense, we generally win. More to the point, if the run game is working, we are almost guaranteed a win and that’s exactly what we witnessed against the Colts.
According to ESPN, we ran for one-hundred and seventy-two yards and passed for one-hundred and fifty-one yards. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that an effective running game is the best friend of a quarterback, particularly a rookie quarterback.
What was encouraging to me was the fact that the Steelers actually made a conscious effort to run the ball as evidenced by the fact that we ran it thirty-six times for just under an average of five yards per carry.
What was also encouraging was that the time of possession was tilted in our favor as we possessed the ball for about nine minutes more than the Colts possessed it. Again, when you have the ball and the other team does not, that generally means you win the game. As I said earlier, the win against the Colts may have saved the season.
Let’s see what we learned on the defensive side of the ball.
The Steelers defense came to play against the Colts on Monday night
Prior to the game, my main concern was this: Were we going to be able to stop the running game of the Colts? If we were able to keep the running game in check, I thought we would win the game provided the aerial attack did not supplant the running game.
Neither of those scenarios played out against the Colts. The Steelers defense came ready to play, to say the least, holding the Colts to under three hundred yards of offense. That’s really significant considering the Steelers defense had seemingly been unable to stop the run or the pass in recent weeks.
I think the unsung hero of the game was James Pierre, who had an unbelievable INT. Pierre may not be a ‘household name’, but that play early in the game may have given the defense the spark we needed to get things on track, as it were.
The defense was also able to get to the QB three times, which is always encouraging. Again, rush and coverage should complement each other, and they did against the Colts. We were able to hold them to a twenty-five percent conversion rate on third down.
Let’s see what else we learned.
The Steelers may have found a winning formula that must be sustained
I am not going to make more out of the win against the Colts than what it is. It’s one win and we still are ‘upside down’ in the win-loss column, but the type of game we played on Monday night should be the blueprint for each game from here on out.
The Steelers were able to run the ball effectively, were able to throw the ball effectively, were able to possess the ball, and were able to get a turnover and multiple sacks on defense. When all of those components come together, we can probably beat any team.
My question is this: Where has this been all season? I know that we don’t go into a game planning not to be able to execute the aforementioned, but you have to wonder what was said or what was done during the week of preparation that translated into what we saw against the Colts.
Look, I am thankful for the win, I am thankful that we have pieces both on offense and on defense around which to build for the future, but we need to worry about the present as well. We really can only afford one more loss to assure ourselves of a winning season and possibly the last playoff spot.
If we play the way we played against the Colts for the rest of the season that may actually come to fruition and I’m sure that Mike Tomlin will be overjoyed to see that happen. I think it’s fair to say that Steelers fans will also be overjoyed to see that happen.