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The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts had the good courtesy to entertain people in what was supposed to be a below average edition of Sunday Night Football, but the entertainment value had a lot more to do with schadenfreude than quality football. All three quarterbacks that threw passes during the game - Ben Roethlisberger, Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter - had poor games.
Collins managed just 93 passing yards on 29 attempts (seriously), Roethlisberger turned the ball over three times and Painter's accuracy was below average by the standard of NFL quarterbacks. However, Painter did start to look decent on his final drive, completing a couple of nice passes to set up the Colts for a game-tying touchdown.
Pittsburgh Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain had a bit of an understandably negative reaction to Roethlisberger's play, tough they did just as much complimenting of pass rushing defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
The three turnovers came in the form of two sack-fumbles by Ben Roethlisberger and an interception. All came in the second quarter and allowed Indianapolis to make things interesting when it appeared as if they might get run out of the building. The first of the three fumbles was forced by Robert Mathis on a sacks where he had been pushed outside by Marcus Gilbert but kept tracking Roethlisberger from the backside. Big Ben unsurprisingly was holding onto the ball for longer than he probably should have there. Gilbert perhaps could have stayed with the play a bit longer, but he did his job forcing him way outside. A relentless, fast, pass rusher like Mathis is going to track down QBs if the ball's not out by the 3.5-4.0 second mark. The second strip sack came compliments of Dwight Freeney on a play where Jonathan Scott just totally whiffed.
Perhaps the biggest criticism of Roethlisberger throughout his career has been that he holds onto the ball too long. This was absolutely the case against the Colts, and it's probably the biggest reason that the Steelers weren't able to put away the game much earlier than they did.
Indianapolis Colts blog Stampede Blue didn't have many kind words to say about Collins, but had some praise for Painter.
This game also saw the Colts lose another quarterback. A hit from James Farrior knocked Colts quarterback Kerry Collins out of the game in the third quarter, giving way to Curtis Painter. Much to the surprise of everyone, Painter looked good.
Well, somewhat good.
Sure, during his first series, Painter got sacked by James Harrison, fumbled, and Troy Polamalu recovered it for a TD to give Pittsburgh a 20-13 lead. But, Painter did come back on his next drive and took the Colts right down the field. The drive culminated in a six-yard TD by Joseph Addai, tying the game at 20-20.
Prior to Collins going down with an apparent concussion, he was pretty much ineffective. He couldn't convert on third down. He couldn't put the ball in the endzone both times the Colts offense got in the redzone.
At 0-3, the Colts are very much out of the playoff race in a very tough AFC and are very much in the race for Andrew Luck. Meanwhile, the Steelers are 2-1 with a bad loss and a win in which they didn't look very good. It's possible that they could hit their stride in the coming weeks, but they don't currently look like the team that made it to the Super Bowl last season.
Curtis Painter certainly wasn't amazing during his relief appearance as quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football as his team narrowly allowed to Pittsburgh Steelers to avoid the upset. That didn't stop former Colts' head coach Tony Dungy from telling Bob Costas that the veteran bench warmer should replace Kerry Collins as the team's starting quarterback next weekend, however.
Dungy said in the NBC post-game breakdown that he was impressed with Painter's performance on Sunday night (though Colts' fans didn't necessarily agree), leading Costas to fire a quick follow-up that basically amounted to "uh, what?" as he cited Painter's numerous over and underthrows along with the fumble that allowed Troy Polamalu to tie the game with his 16-yard return. Dungy stuck by his opinion, however, saying that Painter would be worthy of the starting job once he's able to get more practice repetitions during the week.
The fact that Painter is even an option as the starting quarterback wouldn't even be brought up if it wasn't for the Kerry Collins injury that caused the starting quarterback to leave prior to the Colts' fourth quarter (attempted) comeback. And even then, if Peyton Manning was healthy, Painter would still be holding the clipboard as well.
Painter finished the game with a pretty modest stat line as he completed five of his 11 passes for 60 yards and coughed up the football for what amounted to be a touchdown going the other direction, but he also led the Indianapolis offense to its only touchdown of the game after Collins' couldn't do it despite 29 passing attempts.
The Colts certainly won't announce Painter as the team's new starting quarterback on Monday morning following the team's loss on Sunday night, but if Collins is out for any amount of time, the Indianapolis faithful probably shouldn't be all that concerned if Painter needs to fill in for a spot-start or two.
After all, Tony Dungy has led the Colts down the right path before, right?
The Indianapolis Colts have evened the score on Sunday Night Football, using the questionable combination of third-string quarterback Curtis Painter and oft-injured running back Joseph Addai to drive 80 yards and tie the game at 20 points apiece. Addai capped the long drive with a six-yard run.
Painter had issues on his first few possessions after entering the game in place of Kerry Collins, who is currently undergoing tests related to a concussion, but he looked like a bona fide starting quarterback as he led the Colts on the game-tying drive.
Painter has completed five of his 10 passing attempts for 60 yards while Addai has rushed 17 times for 86 yards and the game-tying touchdown. It's now up to the Colts' defense, who've already caused two turnovers resulting in 10 points, if Painter's going to have a chance to lead a game-winning drive before the weekly Sunday Night game on NBC is complete.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense finally did what the Indianapolis Colts defense has been doing all night on Sunday Night Football as Troy Polamalu took a Curtis Painter fumble to the opposite end zone to give the visiting team a 20-13 lead. The fumble was created when James Harrison worked his way into the backfield, sacking Painter and forcing him to put the ball on the field.
Painter was never even expected to appear in a game this year as he began the regular season as the team's third-string quarterback behind the injured Peyton Manning and the newly-signed Kerry Collins. Unfortunately Manning is still out with a neck injury and Collins is being evaluated on the sidelines for symptons related to a concussion.
It was Painter's third drive of the game, but also the worst of his career as he coughed up the ball to give the Steelers the lead as Polamalu took his fumble 16 yards into the end zone.
Curtis Painter's day got off to a rough start, but it wasn't because he overthrew a wide-open receiver for what would've been a touchdown. No, it was because he was hit by an NBC camera.
Not the right arm! That's the money-maker!
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts were unable to put any points on the board during the third quarter, partially thanks to a botched field goal from Shaun Suisham that caromed off the goal post. The visiting team was able to tie the game at 13 apiece on their first drive of the final quarter when Suisham redeemed himself with a 44-yard field goal.
Suisham is now 2-of-3 on field goal attempts, but he almost didn't get a third attempt -- at least not on this drive. The Steelers got lucky a couple of times to keep the scoring drive alive as a pass interference call on Pat Angerer and then the ability to convert on third and a mile put the team within Suisham's striking distance.
The Kerry Collins experiment is over for now. Collins is on the sideline after reportedly suffering a concussion, giving way to backup quarterback Curtis Painter in the fourth quarter. Collins was brought in to be the Indianapolis Colts' veteran presence with Peyton Manning on the shelf, but has struggled throughout the first two-plus games of the season.
The Colts have hung with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, thanks in large part to a Jamaal Anderson touchdown off a Ben Roethlisberger fumble in the first half. On the offensive side of the ball, things haven't gone so well, with Indianapolis settling for two field goals. Collins had completed 13 of 29 passes for just 73 yards in three quarters of play.
Get ready for the Painter experiment, Indianapolis!
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts were not expected to play a close game when the prognosticators looked at the schedule for this week's Sunday Night Football on NBC. Ben Roethlisberger has kept the home team in the game, however, as the Steelers' quarterback has fumbled twice, leading to 10 points for the Colts as they take a 13-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Steelers led 10-0 after the first quarter after Roethlisberger was able to connect with Mike Wallace on a long bomb stemming from a play-action pass. That drive took just two plays, culminating in the 81-yard touchdown pass, but that was about the end of the good times for Roethlisberger in the first half.
The Steelers' signal caller coughed up two fumbles resulting in turnovers, allowing the Colts to score a field goal and touchdown off of Roethlisberger's mishaps. Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney each picked up a forced fumble-sack combination in the second quarter, the latter resulting in a 47-yard fumble return for a touchdown from defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson.
Roethlisberger's first-half throwing line -- 14-of-20, 231 yards, a touchdown and an interception -- doesn't look too bad, but the fumbles hurt that stat line. Kerry Collins has completed an underwhelming 10 of his 20 passes for 78 yards, but his defense has put the Colts on top through the first half.
The Indianapolis Colts have decided to make the Sunday Night Football game a football game worth watching. The defense forced Ben Roethlisberger to fumble on a second consecutive drive, allowing free agent pickup Jamaal Anderson to recover it this time as he took it to the house and tied the game at 10 apiece.
Roethlisberger dropped back to pass, and with pressure coming from both sides, he decided to get the ball off as soon as humanly possible. Unfortunately for the Steelers, it wasn't soon enough as Dwight Freeney was able to grab his arm and cause the fumble as he threw. Fellow lineman Jamaal Anderson recovered the fumble and ran 47 yards in front of a convoy to even the score at 10-10.
The Colts' defense didn't get much of a break, however, as Kerry Collins threw an interception just a couple of plays into the following possession.
The Indianapolis Colts were able to get themselves on the scoreboard before the second half of Sunday Night Football began, capitalizing on a fumble by Ben Roethlisberger and cutting the Pittsburgh Steelers lead to seven. The Colts had a first and goal, but were unable to throw it into the endzone, eventually sending Adam Vinatieri out for a chip-shot field goal.
The Colts took over at midfield when Robert Mathis sacked Roethlisberger, forcing the fumble -- that he recovered -- in the process. The Colts offense then was able to move the ball down to the Steelers' three-yard line, but after a holding penalty, a Joseph Addai run and two passing completions to Dallas Clark that didn't end up in the end zone, the Colts were forced to settle for the Vinatieri field goal.
Kerry Collins is now 9-of-18 for 80 yards, though the inability to score a touchdown so close to the end zone has to be discouraging.
Just gonna leave this here to haunt you forever.
Though, I'm not sure I can blame NBC for this. The matchup plastered on the website would probably be a better one than Steelers-Colts (click to enlarge).
H/T Jimmy Traina
The Pittsburgh Steelers took the early lead on Sunday Night Football as Ben Roethlisberger hooked up with Mike Wallace on an 81-yard pass play to put the Indianapolis Colts into a 10-0 hole before the first quarter was even finished. Unfortunately for the home team, the early deficit make it look as though the Colts are going to start the season with an 0-3 record without Peyton Manning calling the shots -- from the field, anyway.
Roethlisberger made a brilliant read on a second-and-five play from his own 19-yard line. He saw Wallace with one-on-one coverage, switched his receiver's route to a fly and flung the ball nearly 60 yards through the air to his streaking wide out. Sean Suisham then kicked in the extra point, after earlier connecting on a 48-yard field goal, to give the visitors the 10-0 lead on the scoreboard.
Wallace ended the first quarter with three receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown, catching three of Roethlisberger's six passing attempts. The Colts haven't been able to get anything going as Kerry Collins is just 5-of-11 for 43 yards in place of regular starting quarterback Manning.
Peyton Manning is still out indefinitely after undergoing a neck procedure, but that doesn't mean he won't be invovlved as the Indianapolis Colts take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Manning will still be on the sidelines, but he may take on a coaching role during Sunday night's game.
How involved will Manning be? Tony Dungy had a few thoughts during the pregame show.
Tony Dungy just said that "I think Peyton will be calling a lot of plays tonight."
It wouldn't at all be surprising to see Manning acting as a coach for the Colts. After all, he basically runs the show when he's on the field, flapping his arms around and calling his own plays at the line of scrimmage. With Manning on the field, it's as though the Colts are running out a separate offensive coordinator, so perhaps having him help run the show on Sunday might turn Indianapolis' luck around.
Then again, Kerry Collins still has to execute, and he hasn't been able to get anything going this season. And the task doesn't get any easier this week as Collins and the Colts face a difficult Steelers defense.
The Steelers are widely expected to win their second straight game on Sunday Night Football against a struggling Colts team
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