You are here

Links

Updated 2023 NFL Draft order after Week 12

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 10:30am
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Some are looking at the playoff picture, while others are looking at the 2023 NFL Draft order.

After Week 12 of NFL action, there are some teams who are enamored with the Playoff Picture. Regardless of conference, trying to figure out the jockeying for playoff positioning is always an enjoyable time for everyone involved.

Then there are the teams who find themselves on the outside looking in, and the only thing they are waiting for is the news they are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. For those teams, it is never too late to start looking ahead. Not to the playoffs, but to the upcoming draft.

Where will their favorite team draft? Will they have a Top 10 pick?

Well, for those teams wondering, here is an updated Top 10 for the 2023 NFL Draft:

1. Houston Texans
2. Chicago Bears
3. Detroit Lions (from the Los Angeles Rams)
4. Seattle Seahawks (from the Denver Broncos)
5. Carolina Panthers
6. Philadelphia Eagles (from the New Orleans Saints)
7. Arizona Cardinals
8. Green Bay Packers
9. Las Vegas Raiders
10. Houston Texans (from the Cleveland Browns)
11. Jacksonville Jaguars
12. Pittsburgh Steelers

For the Pittsburgh Steelers faithful, it is depressing having to look at the NFL Draft order with a 4-7 record, but this is where the team finds itself after a very underwhelming first half of the season. After the Week 12 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football, many fans are bemoaning the win as the Steelers now find themselves on the outside of the Top 10 heading into Week 13.

Some find solace of a bad season in the team’s potential draft positioning, considering where they could potentially end up, and when you throw in the 2nd Round pick the Steelers received from the Chicago Bears for Chase Claypool, it makes this draft order sweeter. Three potential picks in the Top 50 could be what the team needs to turn their fortunes around.

Picks are nice, but the organization has to hit on those draft picks to truly turn things around. Nonetheless, we’ll keep you updated on the draft order as the season progresses, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13.

9 Winners and 5 Losers after the Steelers win over the Colts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 9:30am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Time to take a look at who would be considered a ‘Winner’ and a ‘Loser’ after the Steelers latest action on the gridiron.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Monday when they played the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12 of regular season action. The Steelers were winners in the contest, but that doesn’t mean every player had a good or bad performance.

Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left a lot to be desired can be called ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.

Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after the latest game...

Winners

Takeaways
Stat Line: 2 (1 INT, 1 FR)

The Steelers continue to take the ball away, and while they don’t always lead to points (more on that in a bit), they change the game. Whether it was James Pierre’s interception on Matt Ryan’s second pass of the game, or Chris Wormley ripping the ball away from Ryan after Jonathan Taylor’s costly fumble. The fumble certainly changed the dynamic of the second half, and took at least 3 points off the scoreboard.

Benny Snell/Anthony McFarland
Stat Line: Combined 18 carries, 92 yards, 1 TD

Is there anything better than fill-ins stepping in and stepping up? When Najee Harris left the game with an abdominal injury, and the team was already without Jaylen Warren, the team turned to a practice squad call up, McFarland, and a special teams specialist, Snell, to get the job done. And they got the job done, to the tune of 92 total yards and a touchdown. A great performance by the Steelers’ depth at running back.

Running Game
Stat Line: 36 carries, 172 yards, 4.8 average, 2 TDs, 16-yard long

Speaking of the running game, it’s worth talking about how the Steelers ran the ball as a team. 4.8 yards per rush, 172 total yards and 2 touchdowns is more than enough, and the Steelers are starting to find an identity on the offensive side of the ball. Balance, and a hard-nosed running game.

Offense in 1st/2nd/4th Quarters
Stat Line: All points scored in those quarters

The Steelers offense did well in the aforementioned quarters. The one left will remain for another area of this article, but the Steelers did plenty to win the game on Monday night. Sure, the 4th quarter wasn’t the prettiest drive ever, but they got the job done. More on that a little later.

Alex Highsmith
Stat Line: 6 tackles, 4 solo, 1 sack, 2 QB Hits, 1 FF

The Steelers’ defense didn’t have many standout players in Week 12, but one who stood tall when they needed it the most was Highsmith. In the Colts’ final drive he had a strip sack of Matt Ryan and a tough 3rd down run stop to set up a 4th down which wasn’t converted. Highsmith is blossoming into a very good, borderline, great outside linebacker. Enjoy it while you can.

Kenny Pickett
Stat Line: 20/28, 174 yards, 6.2 average, 0 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks 23 yards, 87.5 rating

I’m sure I’ll catch flack for putting Pickett on the Winners list, but he was efficient, smart with the football and didn’t get a lot of help. No, not every pass was perfect, but at some point when will receivers help out the rookie quarterback? George Pickens had two uncharacteristic drops, potentially a third if you count the play he bobbled the ball near the sideline, and Diontae Johnson, who hasn’t scored a touchdown yet, also was unable to haul in a touchdown pass. A little help for the rookie quarterback will go a long way.

4th Quarter Offense
Stat Line: Got the job done

In the 4th quarter there were still plenty of punts, but when the offense got the football down 17-16, they gave the team the drive they had yet to produce this season. The defense surrendered the lead, and the offense essentially said, “Don’t worry, we got you.” The drive which was capped off by Snell’s touchdown run might have been one of the better drives of the year, and a beautiful sight to see.

3rd Down Offense
Stat Line: 7-for-14

I realize the going rate for successful 3rd down offense is 40%, but I like 50%. The Steelers got the job done in this area on Monday night.

Time of Possession
Stat Line: PIT - 34:22 / IND - 25:38

The Steelers dominated the game in time of possession, mainly in the first half, but it was huge when it came to helping keep the defense fresh and watching from the sideline in the first half.

Losers

Dan Moore Jr.
Stat Line: Penalties and Beaten

Maybe pointing out Moore individually is harsh, but his play hasn’t been the best the past few weeks. More penalties and sacks surrendered has been the going trend for Moore recently. Many consider Moore to be trying out to save his job in 2023 and beyond, and if that’s the case he better start righting the ship soon.

Kickoff Coverage Team
Stat Line: 89-yard return to start the 2nd half

How do you let a team right back into a game? How about letting the return man field the opening kickoff of the second half 8 yards deep and return it 89 yards?! Yep, that will do it. Mike Tomlin acknowledged the poor kickoff coverage in his post-game press conference, and I hope this is just a one week thing.

P.O.T. (Points Off Turnovers)
Stat Line: 0 points scored

As stated in the winners column, the Steelers had two takeaways in the game. Unfortunately, neither equated in points. The biggest problem was the Steelers offense unable to even put up a point after Pierre’s interception. Just not good enough.

3rd Quarter Offense
Stat Line: 0 points

Another 3rd quarter, and another poor offensive showing. Statistically, the third quarter is the Steelers weakest, and that rang true on Monday night in Indianapolis.

3rd Quarter Defense
Stat Line: 14 points surrendered

While the offense went ice cold, so did the defense. They surrendered 14 points in the 3rd quarter, and didn’t put up much of a fight vs. Matt Ryan and company. The key now is to avoid these lulls in seemingly every game.

If you want a more detailed look at the above list, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast where I outline each Winner and Loser, and MORE!

Report Card: Grading the Steelers Week 12 win over the Colts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 8:30am
IndyStar Staff-USA TODAY Sports

How did the Steelers play against the Colts?

The Steelers may not have much of a shot at a playoff berth or AFC North title, but they are still fighting and improving each week. They played an all-around good game and are now 4-7, only three games below .500.

Let’s look at how they got there.

Offense

The Steelers ran for 172 yards in Week 12 against the Colts, who before this game allowed the second lowest yards per rush in the NFL. What is most impressive though, is they did it without Jaylen Warren or Najee Harris after he left the game with an abdominal injury. Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland Jr. ran a combined 18 times for 92 yards, just over 5 yards a carry, and scored a touchdown. In 2020 and 2021 McFarland and Snell both averaged 3.2 yards per carry.

While both looked to be running better than in the past, a lot of credit has to be given to the offensive line that was opening holes for them. The Steelers offensive line still has a decent amount of miscommunication and mental mistakes each game, but they are much better than what the Steelers have had the last few seasons.

Kenny Pickett also stood out in this game. He was efficient and didn’t commit any turnovers, and he unleashed more of his playmaking ability in this game, throwing downfield and evading the pass rush while avoiding costly mistakes. He found George Pickens for a few key catches and one big downfield throw and was more efficient throwing to Pat Freiermuth and Diontae Johnson.

There were mistakes all around too. Some big dropped passes ended drives, Kenny Pickett still was jittery in the pocket at times, and the offensive line made their usual number of mistakes, particularly in pass protection. But even with those mistakes the offense was pretty darn good, scoring on five of their nine drives for 2.67 points per drive, a big increase from the Colts 1.65 points per drive the rest of this season.

Honor Roll: Run Blocking, Kenny Pickett’s playmaking, George Pickens big catches, Next RB up!

Demerits: A few big drops, Dan Moore Jr. in pass protection, continued miscommunication.

Final Grade: B Defense

The Colts haven’t been a good offense this season, and the Steelers defense allowed them to move the ball well. A fumble and a blocked field goal kept the score lower than it should have been. The Colts got into scoring range on six of their ten drives, and that isn’t good.

On the good side, the Steelers held Jonathan Taylor to under 4 yards per carry and Matt Ryan to under 6 yards per pass attempt while forcing two turnovers. On the bad side, the Steelers allowed a good number of longer drives and really struggled to cover the Colts tight ends, who combined for 112 yards on 12 targets. The Colts did a good job of doubling T.J. Watt consistently, and while the Steelers did record three sacks, two of them were from defensive backs. T.J. Watt looked better than last week, but he’s clearly not 100% yet.

Both James Pierre and Arthur Maulet played serious amounts of time in this game, and played pretty well. Terrell Edmunds was all over the place, and blitzed a few times, recording a sack, in what looked like more Brian Flores influence on the defense.

Finding a good balance between the very different styles of defense Teryl Austin and Brian Flores are known for is not an easy challenge, but it looks like the Steelers are doing better at navigating that balance. Hopefully it leads to better results in the future.

Honor Roll: James Pierre’s incredible interception, Chris Wormley, Terrell Edmunds

Demerits: Covering tight ends, giving up long drives, allowing Matt Ryan to escape the pocket and run multiple times

Final Grade: C Special Teams

It’s rare you can point to non-returners on special teams and show a clear impact on the game each week, but the loss of Myles Boykin and Robert Spillane were obvious all game. The stat sheet showed 225 yards of kick returns, and it was on film with how long it took replacements to get to the punt returners, even if the Colts didn’t actually return any punts. If the Steelers had lost this game, the kick return unit would have been one of the main reasons.

Pressley Harvin III punted well again. He’s not spectacular, but with his best gunner inactive, the Colts still didn’t return a punt, and Harvin III was the main reason for that. He had three punts inside the 20 and his only touchback Cody White had a good chance to save it but couldn’t. On the other hand, Matthew Wright kicked off 6 times and despite the Colts returning them well, only pulled off one touchback. Wright was perfect on field goals, but Chris Boswell was missed on kickoffs this week.

Honor Roll: Isaiahh Loudermilk FG block, Pressley Harvin III, James Pierre

Demerits: Kickoff team.

Final Grade: D Overall

The defense looked like it was throwing out some new wrinkles in this game, and Steeler fans got their wish with no Robert Spillane in coverage, and yet the Steelers suddenly couldn’t cover tight ends at all. On offense you have to give credit for Anthony McFarland and Benny Snell seeing rare success, and the play of Kenny Pickett, but that was offset a bit by more predictability in the play calling. The Colts were a team built to win this year but have had some injuries derail that. It was good to see the Steelers win this game as a far younger team that is learning how to win.

Final Grade: B

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think. Give us your grade for the Steelers overall performance and let us know your thoughts in the comments below

Analyzing the Steelers Week 12 win over the Colts, by the numbers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 7:15am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was a good enough performance for the Steelers to get the victory.

The Pittsburgh Steelers came out strong again in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts, but once again had a big letdown in the third quarter. After surrendering their lead, the Steelers finished strong in the fourth quarter to take the lead back and keep the Colts off the scoreboard to leave Indianapolis with a 24-17 win.

So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers win over the Colts.

+2

Once again the Steelers came out on the right end of the turnover margin. With two takeaways, the Steelers played a clean game and have not had a turnover since their Week 9 bye week. While the Steelers not having any turnovers was a huge advantage, they didn’t score any points off of the turnovers they forced in the game. Even after James Pierre’s interception on the Colts second offensive play set the Steelers up at Indy’s 38-yard line, the Steelers moved the ball down to the 24 before two Kenny Pickett sacks forced them to punt. And even though the Steelers did not score any points off the Chris Wormley fumble recovery, it was the fact the Colts were preparing to push the ball in for another touchdown and the points the defense did not surrender because they were able to get the ball back to the offense.

0

The Steelers defense did almost everything they could in the first quarter of the game. Not only did they give up no yards, they had an interception and a sack. The Colts had two rushes for 7 yards, but were 0 for 2 in passing with a sack for a 7-yard loss. Because they did not allow a first down, it added to the Colts only possessing the ball for 2:16 in the opening quarter.

0

For the second-straight game, the Steelers’ offense came out of halftime and did absolutely nothing. With no first downs in the third quarter, the Steelers had two three and outs where they failed to convert a third and one (a rush out of shotgun for no gain) and third and two (a drop by George Pickens). On the final two plays of the half, the Steelers had an incompletion and a one-yard run to finish the quarter with 18 yards of offense and facing a third and nine to start the fourth quarter. After a terrible offensive quarter, they did open the fourth with a completion for a first down plus a roughing the passer penalty.

172

Even with Najee Harris missing over half the game and Jaylen Warren inactive due to a hamstring injury, the Steelers were able to run the ball effectively against the Colts. With 172 total rushing yards on 36 attempts for a 4.8 yards per carry average, it was Benny Snell leading the way with 62 yards on 12 carries along with a touchdown. Before leaving with his injury, Najee Harris added 35 yards on 10 carries along with the touchdown. In his first game elevated from the practice squad this season, Anthony McFarland had 30 rushing yards on six carries. With Kenny Pickett adding 32 yards on six carries as well, the final yardage came as 4 yards from Derrick Watt and nine from Gunner Olszewski as they each had a rushing attempt. What was even more impressive was both Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland had their first rushing attempts of the 2022 season.

71%

Although Steelers did not put up a bunch of yards through the air, Kenny Pickett was very efficient with his passing. Completing 20 of 28 passing attempts, Pickett had a 71% completion percentage for the night.

199

With the Steelers averaging 272.1 passing yards surrendered per game, which comes in last in the NFL, they managed to keep the Colts under 200 yards through the air on the night as their net passing yards were 199. It was only the second game of the season the Steelers have held an opponent to under 200 yards passing with the other being their Week 10 win over the New Orleans saints with 157 passing yards.

225

What really changed the Steelers fortunes in the second half was the Colt’s 89-yard kick off return to start the third quarter and put the Colts in the red zone for their first offensive play. In all, the Steelers surrendered 225 kick return yards on 15 returns for a 45-yard average.

25% vs. 50%

When it came to third down conversions, the Steelers held a decisive advantage on the night. Converting 7 of 14 third-down attempts, the Steelers held a 50% conversion rate while the defense held the Colts to only 3 third down conversions on 12 attempts for a 25% conversion rate. It should be noted that the Colts also were two for three on fourth down conversions with the only missed conversion being the one to potentially win the game.

1st

There were a number of firsts for Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett in Monday night’s game. Just to list a few, it was his first victory on the road as an NFL starting quarterback. Pickett also got his first prime time victory in the NFL, which also was his first Monday Night Football victory. Additionally, it was the first game where Kenny Pickett led the Steelers back from trailing in the fourth quarter to win the game.

1

This is the big one. This is the number we’re looking for each week, except for those who are only worried about the Steelers getting a higher draft pick. After their performance on Monday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to put another tally in their win column increasing the number by one up to four victories on the season.

So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 12 win in perspective. The Steelers did some nice things, particularly in the first half, they also came through on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter.

So what numbers from Monday night’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Who gets the BTSC game ball in the Steelers win over the Colts?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 6:30am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

There were a number of players who had a good game, but which one gets the coveted game ball?

The Pittsburgh Steelers got their fourth win of the 2022 season with a comeback victory over the Colts in Indianapolis on Monday Night Football. The Steelers offense once again got things going with the ground game even with their first two options unavailable for most of the game while the defense finished the game off with a late stop.

But who gets the game ball?

Each win for the Steelers this season, I will set forth nominations to receive the BTSC game ball. It does not necessarily have to be the best player on the field, but who really stepped up their game this particular week. After the case has been made, you all decide which player takes home the honor.

There have now been three game balls given out this season with the most recent being in Week 10. The winner for that game was Najee Harris. Having a breakout performance for this year, Najee Harris rushed for 99 yards on 20 attempts against the Saints. With a long rush of 36 yards, Harris also missed some time as he was evaluated for a concussion but was able to return. While he did have one fumble in the game, the Steelers did not lose the ball and Harris was still on the field to close things out at the end.

I will remind everyone of the rules that it is individual players who will be in the running. Although it could be applicable, it will not be either position groups or coaches who are eligible for this designation as they are more in line for Jeff Hartman’s Winners and Losers article.

So here are the nominations in no particular order:

Benny Snell Jr.

With Najee Harris in and out of the lineup in the first half and ruled out for the second half with an abdominal injury, it was Benny Snell who stepped up and carried the biggest portion of the load when it came to the Steelers running attack. With 12 carries in the game, Snell led the way for the Steelers with 62 rushing yards with a 5.2 yards per carry average along with the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. All this on Snell’s first rushing attempts of the 2022 season.

Kenny Pickett

Commanding the Steelers offense, Kenny Pickett continues to make strides in his rookie season. Not only did he get his first road victory of his NFL career, it was his first win in prime time. In the game, Pickett completed 20 passes on 28 attempts for 174 passing yards as well as throwing a two-point conversion. Most importantly, he had no interceptions as this is the third-straight game the Steelers offense has not turned the ball over. Pickett also added 32 yards on the ground on six carries.

Alex Highsmith

Getting his 10th sack of the season, Alex Highsmith had six tackles and two quarterback hits along with a forced fumble on his fourth quarter sack. Most importantly, Highsmith came through more than once on the Colts final drive. After Indianapolis converted a fourth and three, Highsmith sacked Matt Ryan and stripped the ball on first down. Even though the Colts recovered and Matt Ryan scrambled for 14 yards on the next play, it was the third and three at the Steelers 26-yard line with 0:34 left when Alex Highsmith stopped Jonathan Taylor for no gain which may have been the biggest play of the game for him. With the Steelers getting the stop on the next down, it helped get the black and gold into victory formation.

George Pickens

Much like quarterback Kenny Pickett, George Pickens had a rough third quarter where he was unable to bring in either one of his targets. Otherwise, Pickens had another stellar game with a fantastic 35-yard catch in the second quarter. After his rough start to the second half, Pickens came through big in the fourth quarter with a 13-yard catch on third and 9 on the first play. Pickens also had the important two-point conversion catch to help give the Steelers a seven-point lead which they never surrendered.

Matthew Wright

This is a little bit out of the box, but the Steelers fill-in kicker was perfect on the game with one extra point and was three for three on field goal attempts. Wright was good on his kicks from 45 yards, 52 yards, and 25 yards. Additionally, even though the Steelers were giving up chunk yardage on kick returns, Wright was putting the ball deep into the end zone even though the Colt’s returner continued to come out with the ball.

So what do you think? Who deserves the game ball for the Steelers this week? Make sure you vote in the poll as this is how the winner will be determined. And of course, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Post-Game Sound: Hear from Steelers coaches and players after the win over the Colts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 6:00am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field in Week 5 of the regular season. Take a look and listen to what was said after the game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners for the fourth time this regular season with their win over the Indianapolis Colts Monday.

After the game, there was plenty of video/audio to take in from the locker room and down at field level. Here at BTSC we try to gather as much information as possible for those fans who might not be on social media and see this on a weekly basis.

Therefore, in the post-game sound article you will hear from head coach Mike Tomlin, and a myriad of other players as the Steelers official Twitter account goes around the room to hear from all who participated on Sunday.

Enjoy the content and be sure to stay with BTSC for all things black-and-gold as they prepare for the next game of the regular season. The next game on the docket is the Week 13 game vs. the Atlanta Falcons on the road, but first, the post-game sound:

Mike Tomlin Post-Game Press Conference

Coach Tomlin on the win over the Colts ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/zbsaGbEulK

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 29, 2022

Kenny Pickett Post-Game Press Conference

Kenny Pickett on the win over Indianapolis ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/VdJGjTcckG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 29, 2022

Alex Highsmith Post-Game Press Conference

Alex Highsmith on tonight's win ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/EiSRIEU03K

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 29, 2022

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 4:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

Steelers 2022 is ongoing and we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the BTSC website, but we’ve decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest three podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said or typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

The BTSC Mike Tomlin Postgame Press Conference Recap: Steelers 24, Colts 17

The Steelers triumphed with an uneasy 24-17 win in Indy on Monday Night Football. Of course, Mike Tomlin had a lot to say to the media afterwards. Join BTSC podcast producer Bryan Anthony Davis as he recaps the post-game presser.

The BTSC Steelers Postgame Show: Intrigue in Indy leads to a worrisome win for the Steelers

The Steelers had, for the second week in a row, a lead at halftime. Again, the black and gold lost a running back and were fairly anemic in the second half. However, Mike Tomlin’s team had enough to take a lead. In the end, the Steelers found a way to win by the score of 24-17. Join Daniel Jay and BTSC editor Dave Schofield as they break down the win on the BTSC Steelers Postgame Show.

Let’s Ride Special Edition: Winners and Losers from Steelers 24-17 victory over the Colts

The Pittsburgh Steelers were 24-17 winners in Week 12 of the NFL season and there was a mix of good, bad, ugly, and lucky. BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman diagnoses all, and gives his thoughts on the game, on the latest episode of “Let’s Ride”.

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Steelers injuries in win over the Colts highlighted by Najee Harris

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 10:50pm
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers could be without their starting running back as they prepare on a short week for Week 13.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners in Week 12, beating the Indianapolis Colts 24-17 on Monday Night Football, but that doesn’t mean everything went their way on their way to victory.

One area the Steelers certainly lost was on the injury front. No, no one was lost for the season with an injury, but anytime you lose a starter it can hurt the team during their absence. Throw in the fact the Steelers now have to prepare for the Atlanta Falcons on a short week, and it makes things every more daunting.

While there Steelers injury list was not long, according to Mike Tomlin after his post-game press conference, they were significant. None more so than to starting running back Najee Harris.

Harris was having a solid day on the ground, amassing 35 yards on 10 carries for a 3.5 yard average before leaving the game. Harris was visibly “off” as he returned to the game, before being removed for the duration of the contest. The team is calling the injury an abdominal injury, and Tomlin said after the game they don’t know the extent of the injury. Nonetheless, Harris’ injury is being evaluated. The Steelers head coach said he’ll have more information on the injury during his usual Tuesday press conference.

The only other injury of note, and it wasn’t noted by Tomlin, was when NFL officials forced cornerback Levi Wallace to leave the game. This is a precautionary tactic to help players who might have suffered a head injury from returning to action. In other words, it helps protect players from themselves. Tomlin was asked about the process after the game, and he said while he doesn’t know who called for Wallace to be removed, he respects it.

The injury to Harris could be a tough pill to swallow for a team which seems to have found their identity in the ground game. Nonetheless, Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland filled in admirably in Harris’ stead.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Atlanta Falcons on the road in Week 13.

Knee Jerk Reaction to the Steelers 24-17 win over the Colts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 10:30pm
Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Steelers surrendered the lead in the second half, but responded to get the win.

Knee-jerk reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer. As is the custom, I compile my knee-jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game (my son Kyle might have a few things to say as well). It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later (or not). So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during Week 12 of the NFL Regular Season.

1st Quarter

  • All my rowdy friends are here on Monday Night! And by that I mean I am sitting here by myself on the couch watching the game.
  • Steelers to start on offense. That kickoff almost went out of bounds.
  • Well it is nice to say that the Steelers are not going three and out on their first possession.
  • Steelers driving the ball nicely right now.
  • And as soon as I say that Dan Moore gets flagged for holding.
  • Muuuutthh!
  • Unfortunately the Steelers can't convert the 3rd and 2. Wright on to attempt to field goal. It's good. Steelers 3, Colt 0.
  • The first play for the Colts was almost intercepted, and the Colt's second play James Pierre does intercept it!
  • The offense quickly gets to a 3rd down play. Kenny uses his feet and gets it done.
  • The Steelers give up two sacks after the first down and will now end up having to punt. This is quite a disappointment after the turnover.
  • Sack by Edmunds on 3rd down! Colts to punt.
  • Ant Mac with a nice run for a 1st down.
  • Now a run for nothing and a pass to lose two, so it is now 3rd and long.
  • End of the first quarter. Steelers 3, Colts 0.

2nd Quarter

  • Steelers don't convert and will try a field goal. Wright hits from 52 yds. Steelers 6, Colts 0.
  • Three and out for the defense.
  • George Pickens is just a freak of nature.
  • Snell has been carrying the football.....Najee limped off earlier so I am a bit worried.
  • Najee back in and dropped for a loss.
  • Nice job by Ant Mac between the tackles. Steelers with a first and goal.
  • Give the rock to the Naj and he finds his way to the touchdown zone. Steelers 13, Colts 0.
  • They should have had Taylor bottled up on that screen pass but let him get nine.
  • Not sure how that wasn't a flag on the Colts against Reed, but at least the pass was incomplete.
  • Colts try a field goal. Steelers 13, Colts 3.
  • What? The Steelers ran a screen to the running back?
  • Benny Snell football with a really nice run.
  • Najee a bit hobbled again.
  • Steelers are back in the red zone.
  • 3rd and goal. Pickens was open and Pickett over threw him by just a tad.
  • Wright knocks through the short field goal. Steelers 16, Colts 3.
  • I saw at least two holds on that kickoff return, but no flags were thrown.
  • Colts sneak forward enough to be able to try a long field goal to end the half.
  • Loudermilk gets a piece of the kick, and that ends the half. Steelers 16, Colts 3.

3rd Quarter

  • The Colts returner brings it out from 7 yards deep and almost breaks it all the way for a touchdown. It does start the Colts at around the Steelers 20.
  • Colts get set up with a first and goal. Not the start to the second half the Steelers were looking for.
  • Taylor gets in for the touchdown and the Colts are right back in this game. Steeler 16, Colts 10.
  • Najee out with an abdominal injury, so the offense down a weapon.
  • On third and one the Steelers go quick, so I knew it would be a run, but they run it out of a shotgun snap and are hit behind the line and end up going three and out.
  • Colts are moving the ball again and this is feeling like deja vu of last week's game.
  • No real pass rush by the Steelers and the zone is getting picked apart.
  • The defense plays bend the but don't break to force the field goal try, but then Cam Sutton jumps off sides and the Colts get another chance and are set up at a first and goal situation.
  • Minkah now gets called for pass interference and the Colts will be first and goal with the one.
  • FUMBLE! Steelers recover and avoid losing the lead in what has been an awful half so far.
  • Quit handing the ball off out of shotgun.
  • Pickens didn't come up with the third down throw and the Steelers offense goes three and out for the second straight possession in the second half.
  • The Steelers pass rush is getting nowhere near the quarterback. The Colts are back into a first and goal situation.
  • The Colts score touchdown and are about to take the lead in this game. Colts 17, Steelers 16.
  • The third quarter comes to an end as the Steelers are getting predictable in going pass, run, pass. Colts 17, Steelers 16.

4th Quarter

  • They convert 3rd and 9. Tack on 15 for a roughing the passer and the Steelers are in business.
  • There is Diontae Johnson making a nice catch, but again gives up ground instead of getting what he can get.
  • Muuuutthh!
  • DJ dropped a touchdown.
  • Benny Snell finds the end zone! Two-point conversion is complete to Pickens. Steelers 24, Colts 17.
  • Maulet with the sack!
  • Defense holds to a three and out.
  • The offense picks up one first down but the drive stalls and they will punt it back.
  • A long past play on the first play for the Colts. Not the start the defense was looking for.
  • We've reached the 2-minute warning and the Colts face a 4th and 3. If there was a time for the defense to step up and make a play it would be right here.
  • The Colts convert... this game isn't over yet.
  • Highsmith with a sack.
  • The defense gets them to a 4th and 3 again. Minkah and Sutton break up the play lucky there wasn't a flag there, but a great play. Steelers take over.
  • 3-2-1 WIN! I was very nervous here in the second half. It was nice to see the offense wake up in the 4th quarter to secure the victory.
  • Steelers 24, Colts 17.

There you have it, my knee jerks. so I will sit on this for a day or two, analyze it and then talk about it on The Scho Bro Show Tuesday night. CAN’T WAIT!!!

FINAL: Steelers overcome second half issues, beat Colts 24-17

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 10:17pm
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Indianapolis Colts to advance their record to 4-7 on the season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts squared off in what many thought was a less-than-fortunate Monday Night Football matchup between two middle-of-the-road teams. The Steelers entered the game with a 3-7 record, and the Colts with a 4-6-1 record. Less than ideal for the NFL, but if there was any chance of either team resurrecting their season, this was a must-win game.

The Steelers have won seven in a row against the Colts, and it was Kenny Pickett’s turn to try and keep the streak going against Matt Ryan and company in Indianapolis in prime time. After the Colts won the opening coin toss and deferred their possession to the second half, the Steelers’ offense was called to duty first.

Pickett’s first drive of the game had a promising start, where the Steelers didn’t face a third down until they were nearing Matthew Wright’s field goal range. On that 3rd and 2, a pass to Steven Sims fell incomplete, and Wright was called on for a 45-yard field goal. The kick was good, giving the Steelers an early 3-0 lead.

Indianapolis’ first possession was brief, considering the second play, and Matt Ryan’s second pass, was intercepted by James Pierre. This gave the Steelers’ offense the ball at the 38-yard line, but the drive resulted in zero points considering the Steelers moved the wrong way after Pickett was sacked twice, the latter moving them out of field goal range.

After a Pressley Harvin touchback, the Steelers’ defense got a three-and-out thanks to a Terrell Edmunds sack, giving the ball right back to the Colts. Pickett and the Steelers offense took over, and continued to drive down the field at the end of the first quarter. The drive went into the second quarter, but ended in another Wright field goal, this from 52-yards, to give the Steelers a 6-0 lead with 14:08 left in the first half.

Another Colts drive ended in a three-and-out, the Steelers’ offense continued to do damage against a very stout Colts defense. The first play from the drive was the team’s first deep shot, and it was completed to George Pickens.

GEORGE PICKENS

Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/E0NYNUAdNa pic.twitter.com/IKM7jMBkQI

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 29, 2022

The pass to Pickens set up the offense in Indianapolis territory, and when runs by Pickett, Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland moved the ball inside the 10-yard line, it was Najee Harris who plunged into the end-zone for the first touchdown of the game.

.@ohthatsNajee22 in for 6️⃣

Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/E0NYNUAdNa pic.twitter.com/WhDVBtTnRF

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 29, 2022

Wright’s extra point was good, giving the Steelers a 13-0 lead with 7:46 left in the half.

Desperately needing anything positive, Matt Ryan, and more Jonathan Taylor, were able to move the Colts’ offense into field goal range. The drive stalled, but resulted in a 51-yard field goal to make the score 13-3 with 3:48 left in the second quarter.

The Steelers offense remained hot, and were in Indianapolis territory at the 2-minute warning. The unit moved the ball into a first-and-goal situation, but were unable to punch it into the end-zone, instead settling for another Wright field goal to make the score 16-3 with 56 seconds left in the half.

That 16-3 score would hold heading into halftime, and the Colts received the football to start the second half. Luckily for Indianapolis, they started the half with a bang as Dallis Flowers returned the opening kickoff 8-yards deep, and returned it 89-yards. Three plays later it was Jonathan Taylor plunging into the end-zone for the touchdown. After the extra point, the Steelers’ lead was cut to 16-10 with 13:04 remaining in the third quarter.

A Pittsburgh 3-and-out gave the ball right back to Indianapolis’ offense, and the Indianapolis Colts used their hurry up offense to not allow Pittsburgh to substitute, and to tire out the Steelers pass rush. The plan worked as the Colts moved the ball into field goal range. However, every time it looked the Steelers’ defense did the job, a penalty continued the Indianapolis drive.

Cam Sutton was flagged for a false start on a 32-yard field goal attempt, giving the Colts a new set of downs. Minkah Fitzpatrick was flagged for defensive pass interference, giving the Colts the first down and the ball at the one-yard line. On the next play a botched handoff to Jonathan Taylor was fumbled and recovered by the Steelers.

The Steelers were unable to even get a first down off the fumble recovery before the Colts’ offense was back on the field. It didn’t take long for the Colts to get right back into the red-zone, and this time they finished off the drive with a Ryan pass to Michael Pittman for the touchdown. The extra point was good, giving the Colts their first lead of the night 17-16 with 16 seconds left in the quarter.

While it took several key third down conversions, Kenny Pickett led the Steelers down the field and into the red-zone. As always, when the field shortened, things got incredibly difficult for the Pittsburgh offense. Facing a 2nd-and-goal, Diontae Johnson dropped a would-be touchdown pass. The third down attempt was a Benny Snell run into the end-zone for the lead.

Needed it. Got it. @benny_snell

Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/E0NYNURgPa pic.twitter.com/B08I5mO41G

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 29, 2022

The Steelers went for the two-point conversion, and it was successful as Pickett hit George Pickens to make the score 24-17 with 9:55 left in regulation.

Following an Indianapolis three-and-out, all the Steelers could do was kill some clock. By the time the Steelers punted the ball back to Indianapolis, the drive would start at their own 7-yard line with 3:52 left in the quarter.

Matt Ryan, and the suddenly hot Colts offense, moved the ball quickly into Pittsburgh territory. Facing a key 4th and 6 coming out of the two-minute warning, the play was completed to Michael Pittman continuing the drive. An Alex Highsmith strip sack pushed the Colts back, but the drive was aided by a Matt Ryan scramble to set up a 3rd and 3. A failed running play set up a 4th and 3, and the pass fell incomplete.

It resulted in Pickett coming onto the field for the victory formation, and to give the Steelers the win. The win moves Pittsburgh’s record to 4-7 on the season as they now prepare for the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the regular season.

Steelers vs. Colts, Week 12: 3rd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 9:34pm
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the gridiron! See what is happening during the team’s latest game.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

That 16-3 score would hold heading into halftime, and the Colts received the football to start the second half. Luckily for Indianapolis, they started the half with a bang as Dallis Flowers returned the opening kickoff 8-yards deep, and returned it 89-yards. Three plays later it was Jonathan Taylor plunging into the end-zone for the touchdown. After the extra point, the Steelers’ lead was cut to 16-10 with 13:04 remaining in the third quarter.

A Pittsburgh 3-and-out gave the ball right back to Indianapolis’ offense, and the Indianapolis Colts used their hurry up offense to not allow Pittsburgh to substitute, and to tire out the Steelers pass rush. The plan worked as the Colts moved the ball into field goal range. However, every time it looked the Steelers’ defense did the job, a penalty continued the Indianapolis drive.

Cam Sutton was flagged for a false start on a 32-yard field goal attempt, giving the Colts a new set of downs. Minkah Fitzpatrick was flagged for defensive pass interference, giving the Colts the first down and the ball at the one-yard line. On the next play a botched handoff to Jonathan Taylor was fumbled and recovered by the Steelers.

The Steelers were unable to even get a first down off the fumble recovery before the Colts’ offense was back on the field. It didn’t take long for the Colts to get right back into the red-zone, and this time they finished off the drive with a Ryan pass to Michael Pittman for the touchdown. The extra point was good, giving the Colts their first lead of the night 17-16 with 16 seconds left in the quarter.

The score would hold into the 4th quarter...

Najee Harris ruled OUT for the remainder of Monday Night’s game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 9:00pm
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Harris was in and out of the lineup during the first half.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are leading the Indianapolis Colts just ahead of the halfway mark of their Week 12 matchup on Monday night. While most things have been positive for the Steelers offense as they have moved the ball on every drive, one potential significant negative is running back Najee Harris went to the locker room during the Steelers offensive drive inside of two minutes remaining in the half.

Steelers RB Najee Harris is heading for the locker room.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 29, 2022

During the first half, Harris has been in and out of the lineup for the Steelers as he is dealing with an apparent injury which is undisclosed at this time. In the game, Harris has 35 rushing yards 110 carries and the Steelers only touchdown.

As Harris has been off the field, both Anthony McFarland and Benny Snell Jr. have stepped up to carry the load out of the backfield. Each player has rushed four times with McFarland rushing for 21 yards and Snell for 26 yards. McFarland has also added 11 yards on two receptions in the passing game. In all, the Steelers had 116 yards on 23 carries on the ground in the first half.

UPDATE: Najee Harris has been ruled out for the remainder of Monday night’s game with an abdominal injury. This per Steelers Senior Director of Communications Burt Lauten.

#Steelers RB Najee Harris has been declared OUT for the rest of tonight's game with an abdominal injury.

— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) November 29, 2022

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Steelers take on the Colts in Indianapolis.

Steelers vs. Colts: Second-half updates, news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 8:47pm
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2022 season continues with the Steelers and Colts locking horns in Week 12. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the eleventh time in the 2022 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Indianapolis Colts.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

Steelers vs. Colts, Week 12: 2nd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 8:40pm
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the gridiron! See what is happening during the team’s latest game.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

The Pittsburgh Steelers drive which went into the second quarter ended in another Wright field goal, this from 52-yards, to give the Steelers a 6-0 lead with 14:08 left in the first half.

Another Colts drive ended in a three-and-out, the Steelers’ offense continued to do damage against a very stout Colts defense. The first play from the drive was the team’s first deep shot, and it was completed to George Pickens.

GEORGE PICKENS

Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/E0NYNUAdNa pic.twitter.com/IKM7jMBkQI

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 29, 2022

The pass to Pickens set up the offense in Indianapolis territory, and when runs by Pickett, Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland moved the ball inside the 10-yard line, it was Najee Harris who plunged into the end-zone for the first touchdown of the game.

.@ohthatsNajee22 in for 6️⃣

Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/E0NYNUAdNa pic.twitter.com/WhDVBtTnRF

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 29, 2022

Wright’s extra point was good, giving the Steelers a 13-0 lead with 7:46 left in the half.

Desperately needing anything positive, Matt Ryan, and more Jonathan Taylor, were able to move the Colts’ offense into field goal range. The drive stalled, but resulted in a 51-yard field goal to make the score 13-3 with 3:48 left in the second quarter.

The Steelers offense remained hot, and were in Indianapolis territory at the 2-minute warning. The unit moved the ball into a first-and-goal situation, but were unable to punch it into the end-zone, instead settling for another Wright field goal to make the score 16-3 with 56 seconds left in the half.

That score would hold, with the Colts getting the football to start the second half.

Steelers vs. Colts, Week 12: 1st quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 7:46pm
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the gridiron! See what is happening during the team’s latest game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts squared off in what many thought was a less-than-fortunate Monday Night Football matchup between two middle-of-the-road teams. The Steelers entered the game with a 3-7 record, and the Colts with a 4-6-1 record. Less than ideal for the NFL, but if there was any chance of either team resurrecting their season, this was a must-win game.

The Steelers have won seven in a row against the Colts, and it was Kenny Pickett’s turn to try and keep the streak going against Matt Ryan and company in Indianapolis in prime time. After the Colts won the opening coin toss and deferred their possession to the second half, the Steelers’ offense was called to duty first.

Pickett’s first drive of the game had a promising start, where the Steelers didn’t face a third down until they were nearing Matthew Wright’s field goal range. On that 3rd and 2, a pass to Steven Sims fell incomplete, and Wright was called on for a 45-yard field goal. The kick was good, giving the Steelers an early 3-0 lead.

Indianapolis’ first possession was brief, considering the second play, and Matt Ryan’s second pass, was intercepted by James Pierre. This gave the Steelers’ offense the ball at the 38-yard line, but the drive resulted in zero points considering the Steelers moved the wrong way after Pickett was sacked twice, the latter moving them out of field goal range.

After a Pressley Harvin touchback, the Steelers’ defense got a three-and-out thanks to a Terrell Edmunds sack, giving the ball right back to the Colts. Pickett and the Steelers offense took over, and continued to drive down the field at the end of the first quarter.

Steelers vs. Colts, Week 12: First-half updates, odds, news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 6:15pm
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2022 season continues with the Steelers and Colts locking horns in Week 12. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the eleventh time in the 2022 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Indianapolis Colts.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

How to Watch:

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Date: Monday, Nov. 28
Venue: Indianapolis, Indiana
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN
Streaming: ESPN App, ESPN+

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

PIT: +2.5
O/U: 39.5
Moneyline:
PIT: +125
IND: -145

Staff Picks:

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts head into Week 12 with plenty of uncertainty surrounding their respective teams. The Colts, now led by former center Jeff Saturday, are looking to reverse the trends set forth by former coach Frank Reich and return to a run-first team. They’ve seen success with this theory, and look to continue that trend vs. Pittsburgh’s run defense.

As for the Steelers, they continue to try and work on an identity on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football. Are they a run-first, and run to set up the past type team, or are they a team who is looking to remain balanced, sometimes using the pass to set up the run? When it comes to the defense, the question is whether they are dominant in any particular area? The pass rush? Taking the ball away? Making a team one-dimensional?

The Steelers have plenty of work to do, and the Colts will be a good test for them in Week 12. Sure, they are still road underdogs, but that is not just familiar, but also expected. A 3-7 team isn’t going to be favored too much during the season, especially on the road.

Will the Colts inch closer to the .500 mark, or will the Steelers avoid losing back-to-back games with a win in prime time? The table is set for a Monday night game to remember.

Who is the Steelers’ X-Factor vs. the Colts?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 6:00pm
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Who is the X-Factor for the Steelers in their Week 12 game vs. the Colts?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12. It is the Steelers’ latest road game, and, hopefully their fourth victory.

When looking at the matchup between AFC foes, there are players who can be viewed as ‘X-Factors’.

What is an ‘X-Factor’?

I would describe an ‘X-Factor’ as a player who can truly alter the outcome of the game, single-handedly. Not just a plug and play type player, but a player who always has to be accounted for, no matter what.

As a clear-cut example of what an ‘X-Factor’ player would look like, think Troy Polamalu. Polamalu’s skill set made him a force to be reckoned with on every play. So, who are the ‘X-Factors’ for the Steelers Week 12 game vs. the Colts?

Let’s take a look...

Jeff Hartman

X-Factor: Najee Harris

Why: There won’t be Jaylen Warren in the Week 12 Monday Night Football game, and this means it will be a 2021 type of workload for Najee Harris. This could be a good thing, but it could also be a bad thing. It all depends on how Harris is running Monday night.

The good news is Mason Cole doesn’t have an injury designation, which means his foot injury is well enough for him to play. Having all five of the Steelers offensive line ready and available is huge, and opening holes for Harris will be a must if the Steelers want to escape Indianapolis with a win.

Balance will be key for the Steelers, and their ability to get Harris going early and often will lighten the load on rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett. If they can do that, the offense will have everything available to them.

Dave Schofield

X-Factor: Minkah Fitzpatrick

Why: Although the “strength on strength” matchup is the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor versus the Steelers defensive front, it might be the “weak on weak” matchup that is a bigger factor in the game. The Colts passing attack has struggled this season, and the Steelers pass defense is currently ranked the last in the NFL. For that reason, if Minkah Fitzpatrick, now a game removed from his return from his appendectomy, can come up with a big splash play for the Steelers, it very well could be the difference in the game.

Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 12 game Monday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Robert Spillane inactive for the Steelers in Week 12 vs. the Colts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 5:54pm
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers linebacker was questionable for Monday’s game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released their inactives for their Week 12 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. With two players previously being ruled out due to injury and two more players being questionable, the list is made up of three healthy scratches. With new roster rules which began in 2020, teams will only need to have five players inactive each game unless they elevate any players from the practice squad. This week, the Steelers called up running back Anthony McFarland and wide receiver Cody White from the practice squad. For this reason, the inactive list is seven players and comes courtesy of Steelers.com.

Steelers Inactives

No. 2 QB Mason Rudolph
No. 13 WR Miles Boykin
No. 16 CB Josh Jackson
No. 25 CB Ahkello Witherspoon
No. 30 RB Jaylen Warren
No. 41 LB Robert Spillane
No. 53 G Kendrick Green

For Week 12, the players who were already known to be out were Ahkello Witherspoon and Jaylen Warren both with hamstring injuries. After missing four games earlier this season, Witherspoon returned only for a half just before the bye week. Witherspoon has now started a new streak of games missed which is now at three. As for Warren, he only played three offensive snaps in Week 11 before leaving the game. This is the first game the undrafted rookie has missed this season.

When it comes to the healthy scratches, quarterback Mason Rudolph and guard/center Kendrick Green are both inactive for the eleventh-straight game to start the 2022 season. Another player usually on the list, Mark Robinson, was active in Week 6 due to so many injuries to players who missed the game where he received a helmet and played five special teams snaps. With Spillane questionable for the game with a back injury, he is inactive and Robinson is once again active for the second time this season.

Another player who was questionable for Monday night’s game was wide receiver Miles Boykin with an oblique injury. With the Steelers adding wide receiver Cody White from the practice squad earlier today, it was the writing on the wall that Boykin would not be able to go this week.

With one more player needing to go on the inactive list, it is cornerback Josh Jackson for the second-straight week. Originally on the Steelers practice squad, Jackson was elevated in Week 4 and Week 5 before being signed to the active roster and starting the game in Week 6 against the Buccaneers. Jackson missed the Steelers Week 8 game due to injury but returned following the bye week. Despite being active, Jackson did not see the field in Week 10 and was inactive in Week 11. By having Jackson inactive, the Steelers only have four cornerbacks available but do have five safeties active.

As for the Colts inactives, they can be seen below courtesy of Steelers.com. Both Yannick Ngakoue and DeForest Buckner, who were both questionable, are both active.

Colts Inactives

No. 9 QB Nick Foles
No. 15 WR Keke Coutee
No. 51 DE Kwity Paye
No. 55 DE Khalid Kareem
No. 59 DE Ifeadi Odenigbo
No. 62 C Wesley French
No. 83 TE Kylen Granson

Steelers elevate 2 players from the practice squad for Monday night’s game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 3:10pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

With Jaylen Warren ruled out, the Steelers needed another running back from the practice squad.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have announced two practice squad elevations for their Monday night matchup with the Indianapolis Colts in week 12. The Steelers have elevated running back Anthony McFarland and wide receiver Cody White.

We have elevated RB Anthony McFarland Jr. and WR Cody White from the practice squad to the Active/Inactive roster. @BordasLaw

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 28, 2022

With Jaylen Warren being declared out on Saturday, the Steelers only had two available running backs on the 53-man roster did Najee Harris and Benny Snell. The elevation of McFarland, who spent the last two seasons on the Steelers roster, was the logical choice.

In Anthony McFarland‘s rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being selected in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL draft, he appeared in 11 games were he had 33 rushing attempts for 113 yards. MacFarland also had six receptions on nine targets for 54 yards receiving his rookie year. Missing most of 2021 with a knee injury or being a healthy scratch, McFarland only appeared in two games for the Steelers in 2021 were he had three rushing attempts for three yards and one reception on one target for 11 yards. During the 2022 preseason, McFarland had 11 rushing attempts for 63 yards over the Steelers three games. McFarland also added two receptions on two targets for 14 yards.

With wide receiver Miles Boykin questionable with an oblique injury, the Steelers have elevated wide receiver Cody White from the practice squad. Appearing in 15 games for the Steelers in 2021, White had five receptions on six targets for 33 yards while playing 77 offensive snaps. White also added 105 special teams are snaps where he had four tackles.

With the addition of White, it is likely Boykin will be unavailable for the Steelers against the Colts.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Pittsburgh Steelers are set to face the Colts in Indianapolis on Monday Night Football.

Steelers vs. Colts Preview: BTSC’s Q&A with Stampede Blue

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 1:00pm
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Preparing for the Steelers and Colts Week 12 showdown, I asked Stampede Blue some burning questions leading up to the AFC showdown.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for their 2022 regular season Week 12 game with a trip to Indianapolis to play the Colts. A tough task for the Steelers who have yet to show any level of success on a consistent basis.

With this being a big game, not like every game isn’t a big game, I was able to ask Chris Shepherd of Stampede Blue, SB Nation’s Indianapolis Colts website, five questions leading up to the game.

Check out the Q&A below, and be sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook for all your betting needs this season.

The hiring of Jeff Saturday sent shockwaves throughout the NFL community. How have Colts fans taken to the former center? Are they on board, or weary of what might come of such a strange personnel decision?

Colts fans, in general, are on board. Really, what choice do they have? Most of them misattribute the offensive issues the Colts have had this season to Frank Reich so most weren’t sad to see him go. Then the owner hires a former player with no experience. Most fans of the team seem to have accepted it and are cautiously hopeful if not totally sold on Jeff Saturday as a coach. I’ve seen a lot (and I mean A LOT) of mental gymnastics defending the hire as a smart move. Comparisons to things people have seen at their own workplace have been common. Despite how anyone feels, hiring a guy with no experience to manage the paint department at your local hardware store isn’t even remotely similar to what’s happened here but people have talked themselves into it.

Few of them seem to have considered the more long term implications of this disaster. For a long time the Colts seemed like a good place for front office people and coaches to grow. Chuck Pagano got two full seasons more than he probably should have, GM Ryan Grigson got an extra year as well. The Colts built a highly regarded scouting staff led by Chris Ballard and year after year members of that staff were interviewed and made short lists for open GM positions. The coaching staff they built was very good as evidenced by the fact it was decimated by promotions in other cities.

Jim Irsay’s franchise was a great place to go to further your career. But what about now? Frank Reich’s .547 winning percentage is just a few points off from legendary coaches like Chuck Noll ,566. And I’m not comparing the two at all, you can’t because the 70’s happened but my point is, Frank Reich had a winning coaching record in spite of the fact that he was given seven (7) different starting quarterbacks in five (5) years and he was unceremoniously fired in season, over the phone no less, only to be replaced by a friend of the owner. If a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers offers you a job, you take it. The stability and opportunity is unmatched. If a team like the Indianapolis Colts offers you a job, if you have another offer on the table that isn’t the Lions, Jags or Browns, you probably take that other offer. I fear there are going to be some rough times ahead for the Indianapolis Colts and their fans.

The Colts running game seems to be rounding into form. What was the issue earlier in the season, and what has gotten them turned around?

The biggest difference has been the health of Jonathan Taylor’s ankles. Early in the season he suffered a high ankle sprain and even when he was playing, he was nowhere near the same guy he’s always been. Outside of that I think believing it has been better is a bit of fools gold. They rushed for 135 against the Commanders in week 8 but without backup QB Sam Ehlinger escaping the pocket and scrambling and a long gainer on a jet sweep from Parris Campbell they don’t break the century mark. They rushed for 78 yards against the Patriots in week 9 and half of those yards came from Ehlinger running for his life. Week 10 saw an explosion of 207 rushing yards and it looked like the 2021 Colts rushing attack and then you realize it happened against the Raiders. During Thanksgiving with my family I beat my 11 year old nephew, without mercy, in a game of one on one. It goes down as a Thanksgiving day win for me, but that’s kind of how the Colts were able to rush that well too. The Raiders are terrible. Week 11 against the Eagles things were back to what I expect from this Colts rushing attack. Jonathan Taylor showed off his good vision and incredible ability to make the first defender miss- he looked really, really good and also he finished with 84 yards on 22 carries.

The Indianapolis Colts offensive line is made up of LG Quenton Nelson, RT Braden Smith and the thoughts and prayers of general manager Chris Ballard. It’s bad. The insertion of Will Fries at right guard has been a positive just because it has gotten Matt Pryor off the field but Fries is only a slight improvement from the embarrassment that is Matt Pryor’s 2022 season. At left tackle the Colts originally started Pryor, but he wouldn’t start at left tackle for the Pitt Panthers and the only other viable option the Colts had was a third round developmental prospect out of Central Michigan, Bernhard Raimann. Raimann is a great athlete but he’s only played offensive line for two years so starting him against NFL edge defenders was never going to go super well.

I’ve told you all of this to tell you that the Colts offensive line is really bad and the only reasons they will have any success rushing the ball at all this season are 1. the opponent is terrible or 2. Jonathan Taylor is special and now that he’s healthy he will occasionally do special things.

Indianapolis’ defense is a very underrated defense, in my opinion. However, what is one, or some weaknesses within the defense? How should the Steelers attack the Indy defense?

This might be the best Indianapolis Colts defense I’ve ever seen. That’s not hyperbole, I mean it. From top to bottom, every level of this defense is good. Fans of both the Chiefs and Eagles have had slight panics after watching their teams offense struggle against this Colts defense but most everyone has. You see the record, you see the Colts fire their coach and replace him with Jeff Saturday and your first thought is “oh this is an easy win” but the problem is general manager Chris Ballard is a really good scout, he’s proven to be bad at building a team, but he invested a lot of resources on the defensive side of the ball and the players he’s brought in have almost all been really good.

The weakest link so far has been CB Brandon Facyson, but even he was solid against the Eagles last week. I won’t tell you that the Steelers won’t put together a couple 10-12 play, 70-80 yard touchdown drives on Monday night, it could absolutely happen, but most of the touchdowns that have been scored against this defense seem to have come when the Colts offense turns the ball over and the opponent has a short field and at the end of games when the Colts offense needs the defense to bail them out once again but the defense is absolutely exhausted from spending most of the day on the field.

I do wonder how long the defense is going to play at a high level. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be a part of such a good unit only to have your teammates let you down in such an obvious way. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of those defenders start to check out mentally and start to think about being healthy for 2023. So anything could happen, but with it being on Monday night, Steelers fans shouldn’t panic if their offense looks bad- this Colts defense does that to their opponents. You may want to panic if the Colts rush for 150 yards, but I really don’t see that happening.

Matt Ryan was brought in to help transform the Colts into a Super Bowl contender. This year has been odd with how the team has handled the quarterback position. What are your thoughts on Ryan, how the job was handled and who might be the answer moving forward?

Matt Ryan was never supposed to have to elevate anyone. The Colts built a very, very good defense and they expected to once again have one of the top offensive lines and top rushing attacks in football. Ryan’s job was to keep the offense running efficiently, making smart plays by taking the easy stuff that the defense gave him, handing the ball off to Jonathan Taylor and being a good leader for a unit that needed leadership. Instead Chris Ballard did nothing to improve the offensive line and watched as their starting right guard left to sign with the New York Giants. I’ve already addressed the disaster at left tackle but I’ve never seen a team struggle so much to fill the right guard position with a player that wasn’t at least below average. Below average would be quite the improvement there. Then at center, career above-average-to-good Ryan Kelly seems to have aged 10 years in the past 10 months.

So instead of Matt Ryan coming in and managing an offense ready built for an experienced veteran to take the reins and lead it to success, the 2022 Indianapolis Colts have asked Matt Ryan to elevate everyone around him and I can’t put into words just how unfair that is. He’s old. He can’t do it. This isn’t what he was promised.

The answer moving forward? Who knows. The guy isn’t on the roster. Owner Jim Irsay forced Carson Wentz out of town (a lot to unpack on that move) then told Frank Reich to bench Matt Ryan, then fired Reich two games later, then he let his buddy Saturday name his own starter and Saturday did what anyone with eyes would do and started the obviously better player. So a well run organization would probably take this season as a way to either 1- draft their QB of the future or 2- acquire future draft capital to move around the 2024 draft and take their QB of the future after a bad 2023 campaign. So those would be reasonable courses of action. With Jim Irsay meddling more and more, it’s impossible to say what will happen but either way the headlines will probably write themselves.

DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the Colts as 2.5 point favorites in prime time. What do you think of the spread, and how do you see this game shaking out between two middle-of-the-road football teams?

First, I take great offense to the Colts being called middle-of-the-road, they’re bad and don’t you forget it. The problem with the Colts is their defense. The Steelers offense is going to struggle. It’s going to come down to the Steelers ability to create turnovers, specifically in scoring position and their ability to rush the passer. Jonathan Taylor might pop off on a long run at some point, but I doubt it. The Steelers rush defense has been too good. If the Steelers can’t hit Matt Ryan and force a couple of turnovers the Colts offense could get some things going through the air as Ryan has been fine this season when he has time to throw. One thing you don’t want to do if you’re the Steelers is give Matt Ryan the ball back late in the fourth quarter in a one score game, the lights still come on for Matty Ice in those situations, so if the game comes down to the final drive the Steelers pass rush needs to be what wins them the game.

2.5 points is probably about right but the only bet I would take in this game is the under. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll take it. Ultimately I see this being an ugly slog of a game, the kind you expect from two teams with bad offenses. I’ll pick it 17-16 in favor of the Colts but this is absolutely a game the Steelers can win. The only thing that would surprise me is if this one is exciting to watch.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for their Week 12 game vs. the Colts Monday night in Indianapolis.

Pages

Subscribe to Steelers Fans of Minnesota aggregator