Instant analysis of Colts' 24-17 loss to Steelers




 

The Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) fell victim to another slow start offensively, falling 24-17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7) on Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Mustering just three points and 71 total yards during the first half-and zero total yards in the first quarter-the Colts were resurgent in the second half. They had a 17-16 lead at the end of the third quarter, but rookie Kenny Pickett answered that touchdown drive with one of his own early in the fourth quarter.

That proved to be enough as the Colts offense failed to get back into the end zone to tie the game over the final 13 minutes.

Here's the instant analysis from the Week 12 loss:

What went right

 

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

  • Rookie TE Jelani Woods dropped his first target of the game. But he bounced back in a big way, leading the team with eight receptions and 98 receiving yards.

  • DE Yannick Ngakoue notched 2.0 sacks, bringing his total on the season to 8.5. He now has at least 8.0 sacks in every season of his career.

  • CBs Dallis Flowers and Isaiah Rodgers Sr. were explosive on special teams. Flowers jolted the team with an electric 89-yard kick return to open the second half. Rodgers also had kick returns of 33 and 45 yards.

  • For a team that struggles in the red zone, they converted two-of-three trips into touchdowns. The failure came on a botched handoff that would have been a touchdown had Jonathan Taylor not failed to secure the handoff.

  • WR Michael Pittman Jr. really turned it on in the second half, finding the end zone for the first time since Week 1.

What went wrong

 

Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

  • The Jonathan Taylor fumble was a big one. The Colts were gifted two separate opportunities on that drive. First, the Steelers offsides gave them a first down on a field-goal attempt. Then, a defensive pass interference at the goal line just a few plays later. But Taylor failed to secure the first down handoff on what would have been a touchdown.

  • Jeff Saturday's clock management was brutal. Though he had three timeouts on the final drive, he wasted about 25-30 seconds with less than a minute to play. His explanation? "just didn't think time was of the essence there."

  • The offense totaled just 71 yards and three points in the first half.

  • QB Matt Ryan didn't complete his first pass until 7:05 left in the second quarter. That's the latest mark for a team since 2020.

  • The offense converted just 3-of-12 attempts on third down.

  • They again lost the turnover battle 2-0.

The Bottom Line

 

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It's simply more of the same. The offense can't string together drives consistently enough to compete or have any confidence they can pull off a game-winning drive. The defense is gassed by the second quarter because of the short offensive drives, and Jeff Saturday's lack of experience proved to be costly. This loss essentially kicks the Colts out of the playoff race, and now they'll have to visit one of the hottest teams in the NFL in the Dallas Cowboys before their bye week.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire

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