Report card for Steelers 45-10 victory over the Colts


What more can be said about Ben Roethlisberger? He’s on the roll of a life-time right now, and Sunday night against the Colts, he looked about as accurate as he has all season with many throws that don’t do him justice unless their seen with the naked eye. All-in-all, Roethlisberger completed 24 of 39 passes for 364 yards and four touchdowns. Grade: A

Running Backs 

DeAngelo Williams fumbled on his fourth carry of the game, but after that, he resumed his season-long role of filling-in more than capably for superstar Le’Veon Bell, who will miss a total of 10-full games thanks to suspension or injury. For the night, Williams rushed for 134 yards on 26 carries and averaged 5.2 yards a pop. Fitzgerald Toussaint added a mere 12 yards on four carries while spelling Williams, but at least he was able to provide the veteran back with a bit of a breather. Grade: B

Tight Ends

Heath Miller missed the Indianapolis game with a rib injury, and rookie Jesse James took his spot in the starting lineup. James didn’t make anyone forget about Miller, but he did pull in three catches for 30 yards–including a nifty 20-yard grab early in the game. Matt Spaeth also played Sunday night, and while he didn’t catch any passes,  the running game was healthy, and Roethlisberger didn’t get sacked all night, so his contributions at the line of scrimmage were valuable. Grade: C+

Wide Receivers

It’s been said for quite some time that the Steelers may have the best receiving corps in the NFL, and with the way it’s performed in recent weeks, very few can argue with that notion. Sunday night, Both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant eclipsed the 100-yard mark, while pulling in three of Roethlisberger’s touchdowns. Markus Wheaton, coming off his 200-yard performance against the Seahawks a week earlier, only had 50 yards against Indianapolis, but he did score his second touchdown in as many weeks. All-in-all, Pittsburgh’s receivers accounted for 303 of Roethlisberger’s 364 yards on the night. The only memorable mistake was another drop by Bryant late in the game that would have given No. 7 his fifth touchdown pass. Grade: A

Offensive Line

Pittsburgh’s offensive line has faced better front-sevens than the one the Colts threw at it on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean praise isn’t warranted for a job well-done by a unit missing two of its starters. Roethlisberger attempted 39 passes on the night and wasn’t sacked once, as Indianapolis was unable to generate much pressure. As for the running game, again, Williams never looked better, but he also had many massive holes to run through. Grade: A

Defensive Line

There was a short spurt there in the second quarter when it looked like Colts’ veteran running back Frank Gore was going to have a big night, after he reeled off a few good-sized runs that made the Steelers defensive line look vulnerable and out of position. However, things quickly settled down, and Indianapolis only rushed for 54 yards–including 45 by Gore on  13 carries. Grade: B


It was a highlight night for the Steelers linebackers. Jarvis Jones didn’t record a sack, but he did come up with the game’s first big play for Pittsburgh, when he intercepted a Matt Hasselback pass at the goal line, three plays after Jacoby Jones fumbled the only kickoff away at the 11-yard line. Lawrence Timmons was his usual machine-like self at the inside linebacker spot, recording seven solo tackles, while reserve Vince Williams added five of his own and recovered a fumble. Outside linebacker Arthur Moats tallied one of Pittsburgh’s five sacks on the night, but the legendary James Harrison found the fountain of youth and tripled that number, by coming up with three sacks–including one that resulted in the fumble that was recovered by Williams. Grade: A


One week after getting torched by Russell Wilson in the loss to Seattle, the Steelers secondary acquitted itself quite well and held Indianapolis’ formidable receiving corps in check. All-in-all, the Colts had just 220 yards through the air and one touchdown . Brandon Boykin, seeing his most extensive action of 2015, looked fairly sharp in coverage and came up with a diving interception off of a tipped pass by William Gay. Boykin also had two passes defensed, as did cornerback Ross Cockrell. Grade: B+

Special Teams 

In addition to Jones fumbling away the opening kickoff, he also fumbled a punt in the second quarter that was recovered by one of his teammates. After that, Brown was inserted as the punt returner, which paid off late in the game, when he returned a punt 71 yards for the game’s final score.

As for the coverage units, the Colts had zero punt returns, as Pittsburgh’s high-powered attack limited Jordan Berry to one punt on the night. The kickoff coverage team obviously saw extensive action, but the Colts averaged just under 21 yards on six returns.

Chris Boswell actually appeared human when he missed just his second field goal of the season, when his 47-yard attempt went wide-right in the third quarter. But he did connect from 51 yards for Pittsburgh’s first points of the night and was three of four, overall. Grade: B+


There aren’t many bad things to say about the coaches when a team turns in such a complete performance that results in a 45-10 victory. There were the two fumbles to open the game, but head coach Mike Tomlin quickly stepped in and removed Jones from the game following his near fumble on a punt return in the second quarter. The Steelers looked sharp as a team and only committed 48 yards in penalties.

Obviously, offensive coordinator Todd Haley had a great game plan to attack a Colts defense that was vulnerable in many areas, and it showed in an all-around offensive performance.

The Colts may have been starting a 40 year old back-up quarterback in Matt Hasselback, and their line might be riddled with injuries, but you have to give defensive coordinator Keith Butler kudos for about as dominant a performance as his unit has turned in all season. Grade: A

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