Ben Roethlisberger had another stellar day against the Indianapolis Colts, throwing for 364 yards and 4 touchdowns in leading the Steelers to a 45-10 win at Heinz Field. On the day, Roethlisberger hit six different receivers, led by Antonio Brown, who caught 8 of Ben’s passes for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. Martavis Bryant chipped in with four of his own receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown. Bryant let the chance for another touchdown grab slip through his fingers, but it didn’t appear to be totally all his fault though. Looking at the front side replay, the ball looked to have gotten there quicker, and with alot more mustard on it than Bryant anticipated it would, as the football was almost behind him when Bryant got his hands up to catch it. Ben’s sprained foot must be nearly 100%, because he was really stepping into his throws all game. It was Ben’s fourth straight game with 300+ yards passing, which is is personal best, and also sets a new franchise record.
Antonio Brown continued to make big plays for the Steelers, finding the endzone three times against the Colts, both as a receiver and a punt returner. In addition to his 118 yards on 8 receptions, Brown also had 74 yards on two punt returns, after taking over return duties for the inept and unreliable Jacoby Jones. Antonio Brown’s most memorable contribution to the Steelers victory over the Colts will more than likely be his latest touchdown celebration. A couple of weeks after sticking the landing on a front flip into the endzone against the Cleveland Browns, Brown tried to stick another one as he tried to hug the goal post off a leap, following his touchdown after a 71 yard punt return. This celebration didn’t end successfully, but he did manage to scare the bejesus out of the security woman standing right behind the goal post.
Brandon Boykin finally got his first real opportunity to play against the Colts, and it didn’t take him long to make an impact, as he quickly intercepted his first pass off a ball deflected by Willie Gay. To Boykin’s credit, he never complained as he continued to work hard until he got his chance to get on the field. Boykin and the rest of the secondary bounced back from their worst performance of the season, last week in Seattle, to shut down tight end Coby Fleener and receivers T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. After giving up 300+ passing yards each of the previous three weeks, the secondary gave up only 169 yards against the Colts. Boykin surrendered only 3 passes for 18 yards, to go along with his 2 passes defended and his interception.
Despite the unusually high amount of injuries suffered by key players, Mike Tomlin somehow has the Steelers in contention for a wildcard spot in the postseason. In yesterday’s game, Tomlin made two critical decisions that will not only help the team down the stretch, but have already paid dividends for his team. One of them was to finally insert CB Brandon Boykin into the secondary rotation, where he saw 40 defensive snaps. Boykin had an early interception that helped keep the Colts off the scoreboard, and provided tight coverage that aided in limiting the Colts to only 169 yards through the air. His second decision was to finally put an end to a Jacoby Jones experiment that failed miserably. An Antonio Brown 71 yard punt return for a touchdown proved it was definitely the right choice to make. Speaking of which, Tomlin needs to tell Brown that he needs to come up with touchdown celebrations that don’t contain the risk of seriously injuring himself.
The Steelers might have won this game going away, but it got off to a pretty sketchy start, with the Steelers almost immediately turning the ball over to the Colts. It looked like the Colts were endzone bound when Jarvis Jones quickly snuffed out their scoring threat with an impressive interception that gave the ball right back to the Steelers. On that play, the Steelers were showing blitz with a seven man front, but at the last second, Jones dropped back into coverage and picked off a high pass intended for tight end Coby Fleener. Hasselbeck had no idea Jones was there, based on the assumption that Jones was blitzing. Throughout the rest of the game, Jarvis was equally disruptive in both the passing and running game, allowing others to make more plays. Jones may not have stood out, but he quietly made a difference all afternoon.
The Wizard of Boz:
Chris Boswell had another solid performance against the Colts, kicking 3 field goals out of 4 attempts, along with four extra points. His longest field goal was from 51 yards out. Some might contend that there may be a decision to make once Shaun Suisham returns, but I contend that there isn’t a decision to be made. Nothing against Suish, but this job belongs to the Wizard of Boz. Boswell is 20/22 on the season and makes the long kicks look routine. His 51 yarder had the distance to be good from 65. The Steelers should seriously consider trading Suisham, to get the draft pick back that they had to give up to get that failure Josh Scobey. You gotta love the poise that Boswell has shown as a rookie, especially kicking in such a difficult venue as Heinz Field.