On the Steelers first drive of the game, Indianapolis was rewarded with Desir in man coverage deep down the field on Martavis Bryant. He maintains coverage stride-for-stride and has his head around early enough to make a play on the ball. It’s very encouraging to see Desir continue his strong play for a third straight week.
Through the end of the first quarter, the Colts defense had done everything right. Bell was limited on the ground, Brown was limited, and man coverage created a turnover. The Steelers best offense relied on check downs and attacking the middle of the field. The only downside is that the Colts offense struggled as well, with Gore doing well on the ground but the lone deep shot to Hilton missed and short pass to Chester Rogers was called back due to a holding call on Jack Doyle.
Jacoby Brissett changed all of that quickly in the second quarter with a bomb to Donte Moncrief for a touchdown. Colts took the lead 0-7.
Another player who played a big role in helping the defense limit the Steelers is Jabaal Sheard. He continued to do a great job of collapsing the pocket. He also played an important role in setting the edge and limiting Le’Veon Bell. He picked up where he left off against the Texans in the first half.
Brissett and the Colts offense were able to put together another scoring drive in the second quarter that featured a lot of different players. Marlon Mack picked up a first down on the sideline. Jack Doyle had an important catch to keep the ball moving. T.Y. Hilton made a catch to put Adam Vinatieri into better position for a field goal. Colts added to their lead 0-10.
The biggest story of the first half has to be a Colts defense that no one would have been able to predict. There were important first half contributions from Pierre Desir, Jabaal Sheard, Antonio Morrison, and Jon Bostic. Two of those four players were maligned by much of the fan base coming into the game, one is starting his third game at cornerback, and Sheard has really started to come into his own — which has been important without John Simon.
Indianapolis closed out an impressive first half of defense by forcing the Steelers into a third and long. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for only his second catch of the day. Pittsburgh hit a field goal to cut the lead to 3-10 going into the half.