Dale Lolley Gamebook
INDIANAPOLIS -- Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is marking off a lot of firsts in his young career this season.
He's gotten his first career start, touchdown pass and run, loss and everything in between.
What he hadn't had yet was a fourth-quarter comeback.
Monday night here in Indianapolis, he crossed that one off his list.
The Steelers jumped out to a 16-3 halftime lead only to see the Colts mount a third-quarter comeback and take a 17-16 lead into the fourth quarter. But Pickett directed a 75-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 2-yard run by Benny Snell, as the Steelers edged the Colts, 24-17, here at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"We've got a lot to work on, but we were good enough tonight to secure victory, and for that we are thankful," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Pickett completed 5 of 7 passes for 35 yards during the go-ahead drive, finishing the game 20 of 28 for 174 yards. He also rushed five times for 32 yards as the Steelers gained 172 yards on the ground despite losing Najee Harris to an abdominal injury in the second quarter.
"There are a lot of positives to take from it," said Pickett, who did not turn the ball over for the third consecutive game. "It's hard to win in this league. We're a 4-win team right now. We've got to own it and keep chipping away. This was a good start."
With Harris sidelined, Snell ran for a season-high 62 yards on 12 carries as the Steelers (4-7) improved to 19-3 on Monday Night Football under head coach Mike Tomlin.
The Colts drove to the 26 with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, but Minkah Fitzpatrick broke up a fourth down pass to end the threat.
The Steelers dominated play early, but only had a 6-0 lead to show for it on a pair of Matthew Wright field goals, the second of which was a 52-yarder on the second play of the second quarter.
The Colts (4-7-1) ran five plays in the first quarter, with Matt Ryan getting intercepted by Steelers cornerback James Pierre on Indianapolis' second play from scrimmage, and safety Terrell Edmunds recording his fourth career sack to end the Colts' second possession.
It marked the first time since Week 17 of the 2017 season against Cleveland that the Steelers held an opponent without a yard gained in a quarter.
But Pickett connected with rookie wide receiver George Pickens for a 35-yard gain down the sideline in front of the Steelers' bench to spark a 79-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 6-yard run by Najee Harris that put the Steelers ahead 13-0 midway through the second quarter.
"Low and away is usually a safe bet with him," said Pickett of Pickens, who made the reception while falling out of bounds and somehow managed to tap both his feet. "He's an unbelievable player. There are going to be ups and downs, but if we stick with it, we'll be OK."
At that point, the Steelers had outgained the Colts, 164-6 in total yards.
The Colts finally got something going on their next possession, going 42 yards on 10 plays to get a 51-yard field goal from Chase McLaughlin to cut the Steelers' lead to 13-3.
The Steelers went on another long drive in the closing moments of the first half, driving to the Indianapolis 7, but Pickett missed Pickens in the back corner of the end zone and the Steelers settled for another field goal from Wright and a 16-3 lead.
The Colts moved into position to attempt a 59-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, but Isaiahh Loudermilk deflected the kick, securing a 16-3 lead after two quarters for the Steelers.
Pickett was 14 of 18 for 133 yards in the first half, while the Steelers also rushed for 116 yards in the first two quarters. Ryan was just 5 of 13 for 36 yards at that point.
The Colts got an 89-yard kickoff return from Dallis Flowers to the Pittsburgh 19, with Connor Heyward tripping him up to save a touchdown, but Taylor scored on a 2-yard run to cut the Steelers' lead to 16-10.
"They got momentum with that kickoff," said Tomlin. "They were able to put that ball in the end zone, and so you've got to turn that tide. That's professional football. That's just part of it."
The Steelers then failed to pick up a first down on their next possession, punting the ball back to the Colts.
Indianapolis drove to the Pittsburgh 1, aided by Cam Sutton jumping offside on a field goal attempt and then Minkah Fitzpatrick being called for pass interference in the end zone. But Taylor mishandled a handoff from Ryan, and Chris Wormley wrestled the ball away from Ryan in the backfield to turn the Colts away.
"I've got to get that ball when it's me and a quarterback," said Wormley. "I don't get that ball, I might have to retire. That was a big play."
The Steelers, however, were unable to pick up a first down once again, punting the ball back to the Colts again. And this time, the Colts took advantage, going 55 yards in six plays to score on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Michael Pittman to take a 17-16 lead with 16 seconds remaining in the third quarter, setting the stage for the comeback.
Taylor finished with 86 yards on 20 carries, while Ryan was 22 of 34 for 199 yards.