news steelers blow early lead then rally to defeat colts 24 17 on monday night football

Steelers blow early lead, then rally to defeat Colts, 24-17, on Monday Night Football

Pittsburgh Steelers
(© dean bertoncelj – Shutterstock)

After blowing a comfortable early lead, Pittsburgh rallied against Indianapolis in the fourth quarter and held on late for a 24-17 Monday-night win on the road.

The Steelers (4-7) let a 13-point halftime lead slip away, as the Colts (4-7-1) went ahead 17-16 on a Michael Pittman Jr. touchdown catch with 16 seconds left in the third quarter.

But Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett engineered an 11-play, 75-yard drive for the go-ahead score in the fourth, which included three successful third-down conversions, en route to the Steelers’ eighth-straight win over the Colts.

Pickett led the offense on four first-half scoring drives — a Najee Harris touchdown run and three Matt Wright field goals — to take a 16-3 halftime advantage, as the Steeler defense limited the Colts to 71 total yards (42 rushing, 29 passing) across the opening 30 minutes.

Pickett completed 14 of his 18 pass attempts in the first half for 133 yards, spreading it out to seven different receivers. The Steelers dominated the time of possession in the first half, controlling the ball for 21 minutes and 58 seconds compared to just 8 minutes and 2 seconds for Indy.

Everything changed after halftime, as Pittsburgh managed just 18 yards on 8 offensive snaps the entire 15 minutes.

Indy finally got things going with the help of an 89-yard Dallas Flowers kickoff return on the opening play of the second half, and Jonathan Taylor was in the end zone just a few plays later to trim the Steelers’ lead to six early in the third quarter.

After a Pittsburgh three-and-out, Matt Ryan led a lengthy 16-play drive that spanned 7:26 and got the Colts on the doorstep, but Ryan fumbled his handoff exchange with Taylor on a first-and-goal opportunity from the 1-yard line and Steelers defensive tackle Chris Wormley was able to wrestle the loose ball away from Ryan and prevent a score.

The Steelers gave it right back after another three-and-out, and this time, the Colts capitalized on the Pittman touchdown reception from six yards out.

That’s when the Pittsburgh offense seemed to wake up, with the help of a diving grab by rookie wideout George Pickens and a 15-yard personal foul tacked on at the end.

From there, Pickett dissected the Indianapolis defense, completing a huge third-down try to Pat Freiermuth for 17 yards down the sideline to keep the chains moving and set up a first-and-goal from the Colts’ 3-yard line.

Three plays later, reserve running back Benny Snell Jr. — filling in for Harris, who didn’t play in the second half after suffering an injury late in the first — ran it in from 2 yards out to put the Steelers in front to stay. Pickett found Pickens for a two-point conversion, and Pittsburgh was up by a touchdown with 9:55 remaining.

Indy had one last crack at it, getting the ball at its own 7 with 3:52 to play. The Colts moved into Pittsburgh territory with time winding down, but Alex Highsmith came away with a crucial sack, and a Ryan pass on fourth-and-3 from the 26 fell incomplete, as the Steelers went into victory formation with 24 seconds on the clock.

Despite not throwing a touchdown pass, Pickett was a solid 20-for-28 on the night for 174 yards, and didn’t throw an interception for a third-consecutive week. He also rushed 6 times for 32 yards. The Steelers racked up 172 rushing yards and 323 total yards.

Pittsburgh will try to put together its first winning streak of the season on Sunday afternoon at Atlanta.

Scott Ratcliffe

Scott Ratcliffe has worked as a freelance writer for several publications over the past decade-plus, with a concentration on local and college sports. He is also a writer and editor for his father’s website,, dedicated to the coverage of University of Virginia athletics.