Skeptics of head coach Jeff Saturday certainly have fodder after last night’s performance. The 3-7 Steelers headed to Indianapolis to visit the 4-6-1 Colts for the Week 12 Monday Night Football matchup. Expectations were low, and the Colts certainly delivered on those low expectations. NFL MNF Week 12 NFL MNF Week 12 NFL MNF Week 12.
So, what happened in last night’s game? Let’s break it down to see which team took the W.
Monday Night Football Week 12 Game Recap
Passing was not the name of the game for the Steelers in the first half. However, running proved to be their bread and butter.
With Najee Harris going out with an abdominal injury early in the game, it was “lights, camera, action” for Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland. Harris went out in the second quarter and was ruled out after halftime.
The game was essentially a back-and-forth while both quarterbacks attempted passes and runs while trying to avoid being sacked.
Indy’s star running back, Jonathan Taylor, was a ghost on the field. He was underutilized, and when he did get the ball, he couldn’t seem to run a route to save his life. He posted a total of 86 yards for the entire game with one touchdown. It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of trying.
He’s an elite RB1, but with Matt Ryan behind center, Taylor just can’t perform as explosively as we’d all like to see. For fantasy football purposes in a PPR league, you got points from him last night, but his season overall has mostly been lackluster.
Steelers Steel First Half
Being unable to put the ball in the end zone, the Steelers ended the first quarter with a field goal. The second quarter started in a similar fashion, with another field goal less than a minute in. Najee put up his only touchdown of the game after a 6-yard run, then left the game with an abdominal injury.
The first half saw George Pickens make a helluva catch with the deepest completion of the night so far for the Steelers. He looked like a twirling angel as he dragged his toes across the sideline.
Indy settled for a field goal to put their first points of the game on the board with four minutes left in the half.
Diontae Johnson also made an appearance late in the second with a nice catch that propelled the Steelers closer to the red zone.
On a throw from Pickett, Pickens tried to land in the coveted one-handed club for the week, but he bobbled the ball, to everyone’s disappointment. With a successful field goal attempt and less than a minute left in the half, the Steelers went up 16-3 to end the half.
Second Half Blues
The third quarter was all blue. It was clear that Jeff Saturday (or someone) was able to rally the Colts and give them the energy they lacked in the first half. Matt Ryan looked good. Jonathan Taylor was running the ball. Jelani Woods was on fire. Mo Alie-Cox got in the game. Indy was spreading the ball around, and they were able to rally a comeback with a Taylor two-yard touchdown and a six-yard passing touchdown by Michael Pittman.
Impressive gameplay from a team that looked absolutely decimated in the first half. The Colts had their first lead of the game ending the third quarter 17-16.
Unfortunately, that momentum died. After a 45-yard return by Isaiah Rodgers, it seemed like the Colts might actually put something together in the fourth. However, an ineligible receiver downfield caused a completion to be called back, resulting in a loss of time and a loss of yards.
The Steelers ended the game with a two-yard rushing touchdown by Benny Snell and a successful two-point attempt caught by George Pickens.
- Kenny Pickett: 20-28 for 174 yards
- Benny Snell: 12 rushes for 62 yards and 1 touchdown
- George Pickens: 3 receptions for 57 yards
- Matt Ryan: 22-34 for 199 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception
- Jonathan Taylor: 20 rushes for 86 yards and 1 touchdown
- Jelani Woods: 8 receptions for 98 yards
The most perplexing part of the game was in the final seconds. The Colts had all three of their timeouts left, and they were scrambling toward the end zone in an attempt to win the game. Matt Ryan could have called a timeout. Jeff Saturday most certainly should have called a timeout. Everyone was yelling at their television screens as they watched the Colts lose the game on downs with 40 seconds and three timeouts left.
What were they thinking? Perhaps they were trying to gas the Steelers’ defense. Perhaps this shows how inexperienced Jeff Saturday is. After his freshman outing in Week 10 with a win, the skeptics were silenced. No more silence. Saturday will be roasted for his decision (indecision?) to leave the game with all three timeouts on the board and another loss in his pocket. As Jamie Erdahl put it on this morning’s edition of Good Morning Football, “you can’t take them with you when you die, Saturday!” Exactly. He should have spent them while he had them.
Kenny Pickett continues to improve each week, and as a rookie quarterback, he’ll only improve as time goes on. The Steelers are going to have to grind if they want to continue head coach Mike Tomlin’s .500+ run.
That’s it for me this week! I’ll be back next week to give you all the highlights when the New Orleans Saints go marching in to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers.
For more from me, you can find all of my work on Twitter @JenPolvogt.