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Grading Steichen: Week 15 vs. Steelers

COTY anyone?

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

Consider this the beginning of the #SteichenForCOTY campaign, as I had my doubts, especially after the Bengals’ loss, but a win like this one makes him the favourite for the award in my biased opinion. There has not been another COTY candidate that has dealt with as many injuries as Steichen, one could make the argument perhaps for Stefanski and the Cleveland Browns, but that roster is more talented than the Colts. Another candidate is DeMeco Ryans, as his Houston Texans’ are surpassing expectations, so it will probably go down to the wire between the rookie head-coaches. A Steichen win in the final week would make it hard for the award to go to Ryans, but lets not get too ahead of ourselves.

Offense

As if losing the starting quarterback, running back, tight end, and right tackle was not enough, the Colts lost #1 wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and backup running back Zack Moss before halftime. How did Steichen do after that? How about a career game from Trey Sermon and a touchdown by D.J. Montgomery, who had dropped an easy touchdown earlier.

A week after putting up their worst performance of the season, the running game flourished, and against a much tougher opponent. At one point the Colts ran the ball 13 (thirteen!) consecutive times. Because the running game worked, the offense was able to employ the play-action game much more effectively. I mean Gardner Minshew looked like an above-average NFL quarterback, going against a tough defense, without several key starters, and the credit for that has to go in part to Steichen.

The one knock I have on the offense is how once again they failed to contain the opposing team’s elite pass-rusher. I say contain because it is impossible to stop players like T.J. Watt, but Steichen seems a bit stubborn at times refusing to give star players (like Trey Hendrickson and Myles Garrett earlier this year), special treatment.

Defense / Special Teams

The defense had just one bad drive in the entire game, and it has to be taken with a grain of salt as it came on a short field after the Colts missed a long field goal attempt. Other than that, the Steelers only other points came after the blocked punt resulting in them gaining possesion in the Colts’ one-yard line, cannot blame the defense for that. Three turnovers forced, four sacks, and just 216 total yards allowed, it was a dominant outing for the defense that certainly enjoyed having E.J. Speed and Julius Brents back.

The special teams’ unit struggled once again missing two field goals, getting a punt blocked resulting in a touchdown for the Steelers, and allowing big yardage on kickoff returns. Brian Mason needs to rally his troops again, because after putting up a game winning performance against the Titans, they have been terrible against the Bengals and against the Steelers.

Overall: A

This team just find ways to keep on winning. With the amount of injuries suffered I dont think anyone here would have expected the Colts being 8-6 and in the playoff race, and most of the credit for that has to go to Steichen. This season has been absolutely amazing and refreshing after such a down last year, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.