That tie was short lived as quarterback Drew Stanton drove the Colts down field for a Red Zone touchdown, putting the Colts back in front 24-17. After exchanging punts, the Steelers drove down field and closed the gap to 24-20 after kicker Danny Hrapmann’s second field goal from 39-yards. That drive was the last for Charlie Batch, who went 7-of-10 for 84 yards in a little over a quarter.
Batch was replaced by quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who went 3-for-3 for 59 yards on a drive that was capped by another Hrapmann field goal (43-yards) bring the Steelers to within one at 24-23. Hrapmann put the Steelers in front with an ugly 22-yard field goal with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter, capping off a 5:17 15-play drive.
In the first half, the Steelers jumped out to an early 14-0 lead behind a 57-yard touchdown pass and run between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown and a pick-six from cornerback Ike Taylor. Roethlisberger was solid going 5-of-9 passing for 81 yards one touchdown and one interception. The Colts, behind rookie Andrew Luck, crept back into the game, eventually drawing even on a controversial rushing touchdown, before taking the lead on the final snap of the first half on a 53-yard field goal.
On offense, the Steelers got a solid second half performance from Batch and wide receiver David Gilreath. Gilreath is an interesting player, who may be moving into the final wide receiver roster spot. A smallish player (5-11, 170-pounds) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he has 4.42 speed and some ability as a return specialist. In all, he finished the game with four receptions for 78 yards (19.5 YPC).
Johnson had another solid outing in the second half, showing a strong arm, good agility and some good pocket presence. He finished the game by going 4-of-5 passing for 65 yards, but more importantly opened some eyes as a potential long-term back up to Roethlisberger. In the rushing game, Jonathan Dwyer had a solid game with eight carries for 43 yards (5.4 YPC). Newly signed undrafted rookie free agent Jason Ford also looked good late in the game with eight carries for 42 yards (5.25 YPC).
On the downside, rookie offensive linemen Mike Adams and Beachum had another rough outing, with a mix of holding penalties and missed blocks that cause Steelers drives to stall.
On defense, the Steelers got some solid play from linebackers Chris Carter and Adrian Robinson, who stood out both rushing the passer and against the run. With the injuries mounting in the linebacking corps, both players look like they could not only make the roster, but also play larger roles in 2012.
Defensive backs Cortez Allen and Keenan Lewis continue to have one of the better training camp battles carry over onto the field on game day. Both cornerbacks had impressive moments during the game and look to have solidified the secondary opposite Taylor.
The defensive line also looked stout, with Steve McClendon again showing up big. If he continues this pace, the Steelers will not have to rush Casey Hampton back into action.
The story of the game has to be the officiating, which seems to have gone from bad to worse. Between poor spots, missed penalties and just a lack of awareness, it made the game tough to watch.
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