Last night, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 in the divisional round of the playoffs to advance to the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.
In doing so, the Steelers did something that no team has done since the 2006 Colts: win a playoff game without scoring a touchdown. It was the sixth time in NFL history that it has happened, but before the Colts did it in the 2006 season it hadn’t happened since the 1990 season.
Colts fans surely remember that game well, however, as the team went on the road to face the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs. Neither team scored a touchdown on the day, as the Colts converted five field goals and the Ravens hit two to make it a final score of 15-6. Adam Vinatieri was the star of the day for Indianapolis, making all five of his field goal attempts. The Colts’ defense was tremendous as well, holding the Ravens to just 244 total yards, forcing four turnovers, and just an 18% conversion rate on third down. It definitely wasn’t a day for offense, as the teams combined for just 505 total yards, six turnovers, and no touchdowns. But at the very least, Peyton Manning and the Colts offense were able to get into field goal range, and Vinatieri - who came to the Colts as a free agent the previous offseason - made sure that he converted them, hitting from 23, 42, 51, 48, and 35 yards out, respectively.
The win ensured that the Colts, the third seed in the AFC playoffs, defeated the Ravens, the second seed in the AFC playoffs, to advance to the AFC Championship game to face the Patriots despite not scoring a touchdown in the divisional round. Substitute “Colts” with “Steelers” and “Ravens” with “Chiefs” and it’s the exact same situation this year. Steelers kicker Chris Boswell one-upped Vinatieri by converting six field goals (though his longest was from 45 yards, while Vinatieri had two longer than that), and the Chiefs did find the end zone, but the bottom line from the game was that Pittsburgh had won without scoring an offensive touchdown.
It was the first time a team had done so since that magical Colts postseason run in 2006 that will be long remembered.