To say the Steelers defense has had it’s share of hard times this season would be an understatement, but for the second straight week, they played a big role during a Steelers road win. Where the defense was once pass rushingly challenged, they have produced 11 sacks over the last 4 days, while the secondary has picked up the pace as well, with 3 interceptions. What has some people surprised about the sudden surge in defensive production, is that it’s happening without DE Cam Heyward. The Pittsburgh Steelers themselves aren’t surprised. They have been living their next man up philosophy for the last year, and are currently back in first place, all by themselves, following a Thanksgiving day win over the Indianapolis Colts, 28-7.
Killer B’s own the Colts defense
The Steelers offense was led by Big Ben, LeVeon Bell, and Antonio Brown, who were responsible for all 28 of the Pittsburgh points on the board. LeVeon Bell put together his second straight 100 yard game, picking up 120 yards on 23 carries. He scored the games first touchdown on a 5 yard burst around the left end, to finish off a Steelers opening drive that went 52 yards on seven plays. Bell, who leads the Steelers with 699 yards rushing in eight games, is also the teams second leading receiver in both yards and receptions with 437 yards and 57 catches. Since Bell has returned from his suspension, he is second overall in the NFL in total yards, and the Colts had no solutions for Bell, who averaged 5.2 yards per carry on the night.
Ben Roethlisberger continued his dominance over the Colts defense by throwing three more touchdown passes, bringing the total to 13 over his last three games against Indianapolis. All three of his touchdown passes went to Antonio Brown, with all of them going for distances greater than 20 yards each. Roethlisberger completed 14 passes to five different receivers for 221 yards, earning a passer rating of 146.0 in the process. While his completion and yardage totals were less than half of the 40 and 522 he put on the Colts last season, Ben was just as efficient and deadly in picking his spots, of course it helps when you have Antonio Brown as an option.
Antonio Brown showed once again why he is the best wide receiver in the NFL, by continuing to excell despite the Steelers lack of a reliable number two receiver. Despite fighting constant double coverage and the occasional safety over the top, Brown still managed to snag 5 passes for 91 yards and three scores. Brown, who leads the league with 82 receptions and 10 touchdown catches, became the 4th receiver in history to have three or more touchdowns in a game that were each twenty yards or longer. In his four games against the Colts, in which the Steelers have never lost, Brown is averaging 6 receptions, 100.4 yards, and a little more than 1 touchdown per game.
With the Killer B’s leading the way, the Steelers have retaken control of AFC North. Their performance against the Colts set the tone for the game, and for most of us, the first Thanksgiving day win in our lifetime. At the end of the game, the Steelers triplets got to take their first bite of turkey drumsticks on national television, keeping alive the hope that in February, they will be kissing the seventh Lombardi trophy in franchise history.