Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 3 vs. Colts
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GAME BALL goes to: JAMES HARRISON
Just when the defense needed it most, the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker came up with the biggest play of the game -- a sack and forced fumble on backup QB Curtis Painter that was returned 16 yards for a touchdown by S Troy Polamalu to give the Steelers a 20-13 lead with 5:13 remaining. Until then, the defense had sacked neither Painter nor Kerry Collins, and, more surprisingly, had not generated a takeaway in three games. Harrison finished with a team-high seven tackles, including two for losses.
X's AND O's
For the sixth game in a row, WR Mike Wallace went over 100 yards receiving, and he didn't waste any time doing it. Wallace had three catches for 129 yards in the first quarter, the big play coming on an 81-yard touchdown from Ben Roethlisberger when he got behind S David Caldwell in the middle of the field. That gave the Steelers a quick 10-0 lead. For Wallace, who led the NFL with 10 catches of 40 yards or more in 2010, it was the longest reception of his three-year career.THE COUNTDOWN
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. CHANGE OF MOMENTUM: DE Dwight Freeney spent most of the night torturing LT Jonathan Scott, registering two sacks and drawing a holding penalty. But the most damaging and game-changing sack came late in the first half when he easily beat Scott, hit Roethlisberger from behind and forced a fumble -- the 43rd of his career. The ball was returned 47 yards for a TD by DE Jamaal Anderson, allowing the Colts, who had been dominated in the first half, to tie the score at 10-10.
2. SWEET SUISHAM: Despite missing a 36-yard field goal when the ball hit the left upright in the third quarter, K Shaun Suisham delivered when it mattered most, hitting a 44-yarder to tie the score at 13-all and the winning 38-yarder with :04 remaining.
3. ANOTHER TURNOVER: On the first play after Anderson's fumble return, Roethlisberger committed his third turnover of the second quarter when he was intercepted by safety Joe Lefeged, leading to a field goal that gave the Colts a 13-10 halftime lead.
4. LATE REDEMPTION: After dropping a big third-down pass on the opening series, WR Emmanuel Sanders caught an 18-yard pass on third-and-18 to keep alive a drive that ended with Suisham's 44-yard FG that tied the score at 13-13.
5. NEAR MISS: On the series after his TD fumble return, S Troy Polamalu nearly made another highlight-reel play similar to last year in Baltimore. But he arrived a millisecond too late to disrupt a handoff, and Joseph Addai scored on a 6-yard run to tie the score at 20-20.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
That's the number of runs by Rashard Mendenhall in which he gained zero or minus yards against a Colts defense that was allowing an average of 136.5 yards rushing per game. Mendenhall finished with 37 yards on 18 carries after gaining 11 yards on nine carries in the first half.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
When WR Emmanuel Sanders dropped a perfect third-down pass down the middle from Roethlisberger on the opening series, forcing the Steelers to settle for a field goal, it was an execution mistake. But when he carelessly jumped over safety Joe Lefeged after a second-quarter interception and failed to touch him down, that was an inexcusable mental mistake. And offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was not very happy. Lefeged got up and ran 25 yards to the Steelers 25, setting up a field goal that gave the Colts a 13-10 lead with 15 seconds remaining.
"We had three turnovers, and you can't do that, especially on the road. I like the resilience of the guys coming back at the end. A win is a win. That's all that's going to show up in the record book."
-- Hines Ward, Steelers receiver
NEXT SUNDAY'S OPPONENT
@ HOUSTON TEXANS, 1 P.M. SUNDAY: The Steelers (2-1) play their third road game in four weeks when they face the Texans (2-1) at Reliant Stadium. The Steelers are 2-1 lifetime against the Texans and 1-0 in Houston.
First Published September 26, 2011 1:59 am