Clinging onto the final AFC playoff spot, the Indianapolis Colts desperately needed a win on Saturday evening to keep their serious postseason hopes alive against another wild card hopeful, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After falling into an early 13-0 hole to begin the 2nd quarter, the Colts simply responded, scoring 30 unanswered points en route to a convincing 30-13 victory.
The Colts lost leading receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and running back Zack Moss in this one, in addition to key players like Anthony Richardson, Jonathan Taylor, and Braden Smith who were already declared out well in advance.
However, it didn’t exactly matter to gut out a big victory.
Rookie Colts head coach Shane Steichen continues to make a compelling case that he should be this year’s NFL Coach of the Year—as Indianapolis is now 8-6, despite largely playing the majority of their season with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew starting.
However, more on the game.
The Colts didn’t just preach the mantra, “Run the damn ball.” They lived it. The big boys in Horseshoe speed blue dominated the Steelers front seven in the trenches offensively.
It wasn’t Jonathan Taylor.
Heck, it wasn’t Zack Moss either.
It was backup running backs such as Trey Sermon and recent practice squad promotee Tyler Goodson gashing the Steelers defense for consistent chunk plays.
The Colts backfield carried the football 34 times for 170 total rushing yards (5.0 ypc. avg.).
Meanwhile, the Colts defense has continued to catch fire as of late, taking advantage of facing a slew of backup quarterbacks as newfound starters. The Colts defense tied the prior franchise sack record with 4.0 sacks on the afternoon, with three games still left.
Their increasingly opportunistic defense also had two interceptions on starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky and forced a fumble on running back Najee Harris that the Indy unit recovered (and the Colts offense turned into another touchdown).
The Colts now have a 63% chance of making the playoffs and continue to control their own destiny, hoping for a strong finish to the regular season.