Steelers’ defense takes shape again as offense against Colts awakens

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A sputtering offense yielded the most blame for the collapse of the Pittsburgh Steelers in December, and it deservedly. But a once dominant defense was not without fault during an 11-0 fall to three consecutive defeats.

Eight games into the second half of Sunday’s game against Indianapolis, the Colts already had a 288-yard offense against the Steelers and were seconds away from a fourth-time lead.

But a Stephon Tuitt bag made a field goal instead of an attack, and if that was not the turning point for the Steelers defense in a 28-24 victory, it came minutes later when the unit ‘ a three-and-out after the Colts took over at their own 2 yard line.

Either way, after the Colts had nearly 300 yards, 24 points and 15 first-touchdowns over the first 36 minutes, they scored just 77 yards, five first-touchdowns and no points over the last 24 minutes of the game.

“We had a slow start,” Tuitt said, “but we came back in the second half and made the plays we had to make. And I think we played good team football in the second half. ”

The offense did its part with four long rides and three touchdowns after halftime. But the efforts of the defense should not be overlooked.

Although that allowed Indianapolis to drive to the Steelers 3-yard line in the first possession of the second half, the Tuitt bag limited the Colts to a field goal. Three consecutive short slides – two three-and-out and one that was one first down – followed, while the Steelers attack bounced back from a 24-7 deficit.

The first time was after coach Mike Tomlin decided in the third quarter to pick a fourth goal for it. The play was unsuccessful, but the message was sent.

“We had a lot of confidence in our defense’s ability to leave them behind,” Tomlin said. “It’s easier said than done.”

A jammed run, forced incompleteness and harmless download later, but it was a mission.

“I appreciate the efforts to make it real,” Tomlin said.

The Steelers offense, which was drafted after a point at Indianapolis 39, immediately struck at a reception from Diontae Johnson. It gave them enough momentum to never look back.

“The defense is coming off the field, the attack is getting a quick attack,” defense captain Cameron Heyward said. “You can just feel like, ‘OK, let’s ride this wave a little bit. “And we just kept fighting back. ”

The offense passed. The defense cracked Philip Rivers and fired him on consecutive shots. It also closed out the Colts ’running game, limiting star rookie Jonathan Taylor to 25 rushing yards in the second half.

“We did not have enough answers to combat what they did,” Colts coach Frank Reich said.

Although the biggest defensive game for the Steelers came on a strip bag from Rivers in the first quarter, a three-year Steelers ride caused an offense, the biggest splash of the second half was an interception by Mike Hilton with 6 minutes, 5 seconds left.

In total, the defense had two takeaways, five sacks, seven QB hits and two tackles for loss of running plays.

“I just can not say enough about our defense in the second half,” fullback Ben Roethlisberger said. ‘It shuts them down, we get the ball, guys play offense. It was a lot of fun. ”

Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Sport | Steelers / NFL