Oh so close.
The Indianapolis Colts came within a whisker of registering their first National Football League victory of the season in front of a national television audience Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Shaun Suisham’s 38-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the game proved to be the difference in a 23-20 Pittsburgh Steelers victory.
Indianapolis dropped to 0-3 for the season for the first time since 1998. The Colts will try to get a win Oct. 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in another nationally televised game.
Suisham’s field goal, his third of the night, wrapped up a frenetic fourth quarter for both teams. Pittsburgh had taken a 20-13 lead after safety Troy Polamau scooped up a fumble by backup quarterback Curtis Painter and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown.
Painter was in the game after starter Kerry Collins was sidelined earlier in the quarter with an apparent concussion. The third-year signal caller from Purdue was hit from behind by Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison, who got past rookie left offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo on the play. It was the first turnover forced by Pittsburgh this year.
Indianapolis rallied on his next possession, however, marching 80 yards in 10 plays and scoring on a 6-yard run by running back Joseph Addai.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger engineered the eventual winning scoring drive, directing the Steelers 60 yards in 10 plays to set up Suisham’s kick.
Indianapolis had rallied from an early 10-0 deficit in the second quarter thanks in large part to some stellar defensive play. Defensive end Jamaal Anderson returned a Roethlisberger fumble 47 yards for the Colts’ first touchdown of the game.
The turnover was created after a sack by defensive end Dwight Freeney — Freeney’s 96th career sack and the 43rd forced fumble of his career. It was Anderson’s first NFL touchdown.
Undrafted rookie safety Joe Lefeged came up with an interception, the first of his NFL career, on Pittsburgh’s next offensive series and returned it 25 yards. The Colts received further help from the Steelers when wide receiver Antonio Brown was called for a personal foul during Lefeged’s return.
Adam Vinatieri hit the second of his two first-half field goals (21 and 25 yards) as the Indianapolis offense continued to struggle in the red zone.
The Steelers made things look easy early on as Suisham hit a 48-yard field goal on his team’s first offensive possession of the game.
Roethlisberger later fired an 81-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Wallace with 3:29 left in the first quarter. He hit on 14 of 20 passes for 231 yards before the halftime break. Wallace had three receptions for 129 yards and the TD in the first half.
Suisham missed a 36-yard attempt in the third quarter when the ball hit the left upright and bounced away, allowing the Colts to hold onto their three-point lead. He did knock through a 44-yard effort with 12:10 remaining in the game to tie the score at 13-13.
Steelers 23, Colts 20
At Lucas Oil Stadium
Pittsburgh 10 0 0 13 — 23
Indianapolis 0 13 0 7 — 20
Pit—FG Suisham 48
Pit—Wallace 81 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick)
Ind—FG Vinatieri 21
Ind—Anderson 47 fumble return (Vinatieri kick)
Ind—FG Vinatieri 25
Pit—FG Suisham 44
Pit—Polamalu 16 fumble return (Suisham kick)
Ind—Addai 6 run (Vinatieri kick)
Pit—FG Suisham 38
First downs 19 14
Total Net Yards 408 241
Rushes-yards 28-67 21-97
Passing 341 144
Punt Returns 4-65 1-2
Kickoff Returns 0-0 3-75
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 1-25
Comp-Att-Int 25-37-1 18-40-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 3-23 1-9
Punts 3-37.3 7-44.4
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-38 3-21
Time of Possession 33:58 26:02
RUSHING—Pittsburgh, Mendenhall 18-37, Roethlisberger 5-15, Moore 2-9, Redman 3-6. Indianapolis, Addai 17-86, Carter 4-11.
PASSING—Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger 25-37-1-364. Indianapolis, Collins 13-29-0-93, Painter 5-11-0-60.
RECEIVING—Pittsburgh, Wallace 5-144, Miller 5-71, A.Brown 4-75, Ward 3-17, Mendenhall 3-9, Sanders 2-21, Moore 1-22, Johnson 1-3, Saunders 1-2. Indianapolis, Garcon 6-82, Collie 5-29, Wayne 3-24, Clark 2-12, Eldridge 1-4, Addai 1-2.
Oh so close.
- Pro Sports
Seeking elite status
Many stages are set in the long-running drama that is the Indianapolis 500.
The 97th running on the famed oval today has the potential to provide a new four-time champion in Helio Castroneves or Dario Franchitti.
A win for either driver would tie them for the all-time lead in the Indy 500 as A.J. Foyt (1961, ’64, ’67, ’77), Al Unser 1970-71, ’78, ’87) and Rick Mears (1979, ’84, 88, ’91) are atop that mountain with four wins a piece.
While Castroveneves starts in the middle of row three, he and his team won the pit stop competition on Carb Day. The last time Castroneves won the pit stop competition, he won his third Indy 500.
“The field is so close and we have at least 20 cars that are capable to win this race,” Castroneves said. “My previous win, it was actually won on that as well. We were able to execute in the right time and they were able to put me in a very good opportunity to execute.”
Luck having fun with his first OTAs
A year ago, quarterback Andrew Luck was unable to attend the Indianapolis Colts’ organized team activity practices due to school commitments at Stanford.
Luck, though, went on to have a stellar year for the Colts despite the lack of summer work with the team. Still, in a sense, he is a rookie during this year’s OTA workouts.
“These are my first OTAs. I missed these last year, so I think it’s great. It’s great to get on the field with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff. Obviously, some of us ran some of this stuff [offense] at Stanford [under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton]. But to get out there with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff is good,” Luck said Wednesday as the team wrapped up its first week of on-field voluntary practice sessions.
Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Harbaugh brothers — Jim and John — to face off in Super Bowl
Get ready for the Brother Bowl.
Pagano prepares Colts for tough crowd in Baltimore
As a former resident of Baltimore, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows all about the hard feelings that still run strong about the move of the Colts franchise to Indianapolis in 1984.
It's a job, not a reunion, Luck says
Andrew Luck made one thing clear this week.
He doesn’t regard Sunday’s game at Reliant Stadium with the Houston Texans as a chance to go back to his home town and talk about old times.
Colts’ meeting comes on heels of Texans’ big loss
The Indianapolis Colts are quite aware of who, and what, they’re going to be facing Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
Former Illinois star Meyers Leonard living the NBA dream
One thing is for certain. Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers doesn’t need 40 minutes to incite a crowd with a posterizing slam dunk or a big shot block.
At just 20 years of age, the former Robinson, Ill., standout who took his talents to Champaign for two years is getting his feet wet at the highest level of basketball.
Close to 300 fans, many of whom watched Leonard take the Maroons to the 2010 IHSA Class 2A state championship, rode on charter buses to watch him battle the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis last week.
Update: Ravens dismiss former South standout Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator
Former Terre Haute South High School football and basketball standout Cam Cameron was fired Monday as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, who have lost two straight and are still striving for consistency in the running and passing game.
Leonard has moment for highlight reel, but Pacers come away with victory
One night after pulling even with the Chicago Bulls for first place in the NBA’s Central Division, the Indiana Pacers at least maintained that advantage thanks to another big game from Paul George.
Titans to sport new look vs. Colts
Even though the Indianapolis Colts won the first meeting with the Tennessee Titans, interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians doesn’t think it will help his team Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Lions present many challenges for Colts
Finding a way to stop, or at least slow down, the Detroit Lions’ fast-paced offense is the primary goal of Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Wild card looking mighty doable right now: Colts improve to 7-4 with win
Don't look now, but the upstart Indianapolis Colts have jumped to the front
of class when it comes to securing one of the two available wild-card berths
in the upcoming AFC playoffs.
‘Resilient’ label fits Colts
If there is a word that best describes the 2012 Indianapolis Colts, it just might be “resilient.”
Do-or-die Bills next for Colts
Indianapolis Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is quite aware that the Buffalo Bills are coming into Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff, CBS Sports) facing a do-or-die situation in regard to the postseason.
How will the Colts rebound vs. the Bills?
The big question for the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare for Sunday's home game with Buffalo is a pretty simple one.
Colts healthy entering key road game
If all goes well during today’s short walk-through practice, it appears the Indianapolis Colts will be in pretty good health heading into Sunday’s nationally televised (4:25 p.m., CBS Sports) road game with the New England Patriots.
Colts, Patriots renew rivalry for 10th straight year
Once again, Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., it’s the Indianapolis Colts playing the New England Patriots.
Times have changed
A lot has changed for the Indianapolis Colts since a 22-17 home loss to Jacksonville on Sept. 23.
For starters, that’s the only game the 1-7 Jaguars have won this season. Indianapolis, meanwhile, has posted wins in four of its last five games and is rolling along with a 5-3 record.
Many Colts point to that loss in the third week of the season. Indianapolis led 14-3 at the half and were ahead 14-13 after three quarters of play.
In fact, the Colts led 17-16 with 0:45 remaining in the game. That’s when Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert connected with speedy wide receiver Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard pass play that resulted in the final margin of victory.
Colts not carried away with success
The Indianapolis Colts have surprised many fans and media around the NFL by getting off to a 4-3 start this season.
Not pretty, but Colts take win
Strictly from an aesthetic point of view, the Indianapolis Colts’ 17-13 National Football League win over the Cleveland Browns wasn’t very attractive.
Browns rusher has taken criticism from Hall of Famer to heart
Trent Richardson has a point to prove.
Colts wish linebackers could play more at same time
If the Indianapolis Colts could get both of their starting outside linebackers — Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis — on the field together for more than four quarters this season, it would be interesting to see how quickly the team’s defensive unit could continue its development.
Pagano gives Colts 4 days off
With a bye this weekend, the Indianapolis Colts went through a short week of practice before taking a long four-day weekend.
Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano put the Colts through workouts Tuesday and Wednesday before allowing the team to scatter across the country.
Players are due back Sunday evening as Pagano and his coaching staff hope to hit the ground running heading into Indianapolis’ Oct. 7 home game with Green Bay.
Tentative agreement reached on NFL referees' contract
The NFL and the referees’ union reached a tentative contract agreement at midnight today, ending an impasse that began in June when the league locked out the officials and used replacements instead.
“Our officials will be back on the field starting tomorrow night” for the Cleveland-Baltimore game, Commissioner Roger Goodell said after a day of marathon negotiations.
With Goodell at the table, the sides concluded two days of talks with the announcement of a tentative eight-year deal, which must be ratified by 51 percent of the union’s 121 members. They plan to vote Friday.
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