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Colts Take Strides, Fail to Finish in Week 10 Loss to Steelers

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While the Colts did a large part of what they needed to in order to win in Week 10, they continue to fall to pieces in the second half on multiple levels

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Saturday I put together a few ‘lofty predictions’ for the Indianapolis Colts matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While meeting the entire threshold of the article’s projections was more than just a long shot, it appeared that those predictions may not have been so lofty after all.

However, we know what we know now, and while the Colts looked to be well on their way to putting together the perfect game, it fell way short in the second half despite holding another two-score lead in the third quarter. Jacoby Brissett looked great early, the Colts defense was impressive in holding Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell to modest outputs in the first half and the running game seemed to be working out pretty well.

But, let’s take a look back at Saturday’s predictions to see just how close the Colts were in hanging a ‘W’ on one of the best rosters in the league Sunday.

Prediction Achieved

Donte Moncrief hauls in first touchdown since Week 4

Moncrief had been nearly invisible over the past several weeks for the Colts, yet I felt it was high time that he put something of substance on the field of play. Moncrief did just that following a somewhat stagnant first quarter — for both offenses — which only offered viewers 4 punts and a Pierre Desir interception of Ben Roethlisberger.

Moncrief was able to work over Artie Burns with a stop-and-go in which Burns bit hard on the initial move on the route. Brissett saw it immediately and hit Moncrief in stride down the boundary to put the Colts up 7-0 very early on in the second quarter.

Though this wasn’t the most unforeseen possibility, it was extremely nice to not only see Moncrief break through for the first time in a good while, but nice to see his first touchdown outside of the 25-yard line since September of 2015, and first of more than 30 yards since his rookie season.

In the end it didn’t yield a win, but as the game wore on it certainly looked to be part of a great start to a possible upset in the making.

Failures

Brissett Earns First 3-Touchdown Passing Game

First the 60-yard touchdown pass to Moncrief in the second quarter, then the great 61-yard catch and run from Brissett to Chester Rogers on the Colts opening drive of the second half — this one looked have a real chance to come to light.

However, it was not meant to be — which should surprise no one at this point — as Brissett and the Colts offense couldn’t muster together more than 6 plays on any drive throughout the rest of the game falling back into the terrible reality that is the Colts this season in second halves of games.

After that touchdown pass to Rogers, Brissett proceeded to go 3 of 9 for 20 yards and an interception for the rest of the game. Despite not getting the third prediction correct either, one more passing score likely would have been enough to send the Steelers home with the ‘L’.

Colts Tally First 5-Sack Performance of Season

Well, this one didn’t exactly work out either, but that’s not for a lack of effort. In fact, you could argue that for a large portion of this game, the Colts looked about as good as they have through their 9 previous games. Jabaal Sheard has continued to look great, Hasaan Ridgeway offered the team’s only sack and had two QB hits, but the Colts defense had Roethlisberger off his spot for the majority of the evening.

Barkevious Mingo assisted in adding pressure, cornerback Nate Hairston nearly got home with his blitz off of the edge and Johnathan Hankins and Al Woods added some interior push forcing Roethlisberger to manipulate, and leave the pocket more often than he would have liked.

Granted, a 5-sack performance against that offensive line would have been a fantastic feat, but just a second sack on Ben’s touchdown throw to Vance McDonald in which he was able to wait more than 5 seconds to throw as the Colts only rushed 3 in attempt to force a highly contested pass into the end zone. In reality it worked almost completely backwards.

Or maybe that elusive second sack coming from Sheard as he forced Ben to climb the pocket and or one of the other two Colts defenders who were within arm’s reach at the time. Plain and simple, two or three sacks could have won this game for the Colts, they didn’t need all 5, but it sure would have been nice to see the Colts get home on their pass rush just one more time. This game was the Colts to lose — it’s a shame they had to prove that they were capable of doing just that.