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What We Learned: Colts vs. Steelers

What did we learn from the Colts’ Week 12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts have now lost two consecutive games after falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-17 on Monday Night Football. If the Colts wanted to avoid missing the playoffs for a second straight season, they likely needed to come away with a win Monday.

Now, Indy finds themselves at 4-7-1 with five games to go in the 2022 season, and any hope of making the postseason was almost certainly squandered after Monday’s loss to the Steelers.

Here’s what stood out most from the Colts’ loss to Pittsburgh in primetime.

  • Colts’ offense has their worst half of football this season, can’t get out of its own way — again

They’ve made a change at head coach, a change at quarterback and a change at offensive coordinator, and none of that matters because the Colts’ offense still is one of the worst in the league. Monday night might’ve just been the offense’s worst half of football this season.

Quarterback Matt Ryan and Co. didn’t gain a single yard through the entire first quarter, which is the second time Indy’s offense has been held to no yardage in the first quarter this season, according to ESPN Stats and Info. As a matter of fact, Indy’s offense was so atrocious that it didn’t even complete a single pass until the 7:05 mark in the second quarter.

The last time that happened was in 2020 when the Denver Broncos had to turn to wide receiver Kendall Hinton to play quarterback due to COVID, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Surprising? Sure. But then again, these are the sorts of struggles that have hindered the Colts’ offense all season long.

Despite finding some rhythm in the second half, Indy’s offense is far beyond fixing this season, and their inconsistencies and self-inflicting errors are one of the main reasons they’ll likely be watching the playoffs from home for a second year in a row.

  • Colts’ defense takes step back after struggling against average Steelers offense

As horrendous as Indy’s offense was, their defense wasn’t much better either. A unit that has helped keep the Colts in games for much of this season struggled mightily against an average Steelers offense. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett went 14-for-18 and rushed for 34 yards in the first half. The Steelers also scored 16 first-half points and picked apart the Colts’ secondary, which has been a strong point all season.

The Colts also struggled to stop the run, even with Steelers running back Najee Harris out of the entire second half. In total, Indy’s rush defense, which has been one of the league’s best in total yards allowed and yards per rush allowed, gave up 172 yards and nearly five yards per carry (4.8).

The defense also surrendered 24 points, which is the most they’ve allowed since Week 6 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ultimately, Indy’s defense has kept the team afloat in several games this season. But you can’t win consistently in the NFL by relying solely on the defense to make play after play, which is what Indy has done for most of this season and it’s hurt them.