PITTSBURGH — The Indianapolis Colts were outscored 21-3 in the second half to give up a demoralizing 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road on Sunday.
The Colts had a 21-7 lead at the half off of two rushing touchdowns from Jonathan Taylor and a touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Zach Pascal.
Out of the half, the Colts had the ball and were able to drive to set up a field goal from kicker Rodrigo Blankenship to make it a 24-7 deficit for the Steelers.
But, the Steelers were able to overcome a Colts goal-line stand early in the 3rd quarter and score three consecutive touchdowns.
“The second half we just didn’t have any answers,” said head coach Frank Reich. “On offense, we got backed up one time on our one-yard line and couldn’t do anything with it. We’ve been especially good in that area of the field all year and failed when we needed it most.”
Taylor had carried a good chunk of the Colts offensive attack in the first half, but only saw a handful of touches in the second half. He finished the game with 18 carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
“It’s always going to be a question when you only score three points in the half when we’ve been very efficient and scoring a bunch lately,” said Rivers. “So I don’t know that that was the reason or that’s the thing to point to. We just didn’t get it done in the second half.”
The Colts offense was unable to put together a late-game rally inside two minutes remaining, solidifying a win for the Steelers that snapped their three-game losing streak.
Rivers finished the game with 270 yards passing and a touchdown, tying him for fifth in all-time NFL passing touchdowns with Dan Marino.
The loss is a crucial blow to the Colts’ campaign to make the NFL Playoffs, however, the Colts were helped with a loss by the Cleveland Browns to the New York Jets.
The Colts are in the eighth spot in the AFC, on the outside looking in as Cleveland currently holds the seventh spot, which is the last Wild Card spot in the playoffs.
Indianapolis is one of five AFC teams that are 10-5. The Colts currently sit on the outside looking in behind Tennessee, Cleveland, Miami, and Baltimore.
They need to win their final regular-season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at home next Sunday, and they need just one of those four teams to lose that same day in order to secure a playoff spot.
If Tennessee loses against Houston, the Colts will win the AFC South.