Steelers rally past Colts in second half, clinch AFC North
Ben Roethlisberger led a second-half comeback Sunday as the Pittsburgh Steelers broke a three-game losing streak and clinched the AFC North title with a 28-24 win over the visiting Indianapolis Colts.
After the Steelers (12-3) trailed by 17 points in the third quarter, Roethlisberger’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Juju Smith-Shuster put the Steelers ahead for the first time and for the final score with 7:38 left in the fourth quarter.
The Colts (10-5) had won three straight.
Roethlisberger was 34 of 49 passing for 342 yards. Diontae Johnson and Eric Ebron also had scoring catches. James Conner ran for a touchdown.
Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers was 22 of 35 passing for 270 yards and a touchdown to Zach Pascal. Rookie Jonathan Taylor rushed for two touchdowns.
The first possession for each team was a microcosm of the first half.
Pittsburgh, after three straight incompletions, punted.
Indianapolis drove 70 yards in nine plays, with Taylor’s 6-yard run up the middle giving the Colts a 7-0 lead.
Pittsburgh failed to score in the first quarter for the sixth straight game.
In the second quarter, Rivers coughed up the ball when he was sacked by NFL sack leader T.J. Watt, and Mike Hilton recovered the ball at the Colts 3. That set up Conner’s 1-yard scoring run for a 7-7 tie.
Taylor bulled his way into the end zone from 1 yard to give Indianapolis a 14-7 lead, and Rivers shrugged off a blitz to hit Pascal in the end zone from 42 yards to push it to 21-7, the halftime score.
Rodrigo Blankenship’s 28-yard field goal pushed the Colts’ lead to 24-7 with 9:23 left in the third quarter.
The Steelers got to the Indianapolis 1 later in the third quarter, but Indianapolis held strong and got the ball back on downs when Pittsburgh opted against a field goal.
When the Colts stalled, the Steelers got favorable field position. On first down, Johnson made a leaping catch from Roethlisberger for a 39-yard touchdown to close it to 24-14.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger threw 5 yards to Ebron for a touchdown, slicing it to 24-21.
–Field Level Media