The Colts were apparently calling out all of Pittsburgh’s plays in the first half.
Given what was on the line, it wasn’t surprising that the Indianapolis Colts came out firing on all cylinders against Pittsburgh this past Sunday. However, we’re not so sure anybody anticipated them to outplay them as drastically as they did in the first half, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
To put their dominance into perspective, Indy limited them to just 171 total yards on 37 snaps, which equates to an average of just 4.6 yards per play. Not only that, but the Steelers’ only points (a one-yard touchdown run) came on the heels of a forced fumble that set them up with first and goal inside the five-yard line.
If not for that turnover, you really can’t help but assume that the Colts would’ve pitched a first half shutout, which is pretty remarkable when you consider all the star-power on that offense, regardless of how stagnant it looked in previous weeks.
However, it’s just been disclosed why Indianapolis’ defense had the upper hand in the opening two quarters vs Pittsburgh. Check out this telling clip that seems to reveal the Colts were calling out their opponent’s plays at the line of scrimmage…before Ben Roethlisberger adjusted and starting calling his own plays.
Watching countless hours of film allows teams to pick up on upcoming audibles and other offensive signals, and that normally results in a handful of plays getting blown up at the point of attack. We see that scenario transpire in some capacity every week throughout the NFL.
What’s an extreme rarity, however, is the extent to which Indianapolis had the Steelers’ seemingly scripted first-half playbook memorized. Given that they couldn’t get anything going on offense, it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the Colts got complacent coming out of halftime, assuming they would be able to do the same thing and close out the game.
It was admittedly puzzling to see them back off the aggressive approach they executed to perfection over the first 30 minutes and drop back into soft coverage for the remaining two quarters. A little bit of improv from Big Ben, a six-time Pro Bowler with vast playoff experience, was really all it took to flip this game upside down.
The Colts’ offensive struggles obviously played a role in the defense falling apart, but it was still shocking to watch them surrender 261 yards over the final two quarters, which included drives of 74 and 84 yards that ended in touchdowns to put the cherry on top of the comeback.
We suppose that’s as much as an indictment on Indy’s coaching staff as it is a testament to the greatness of a two-time champion in Roethlisberger.