Steelers 21

(11-5, 6-2 away)

Colts 18

(14-2, 7-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, January 15, 2006


1 2 3 4 T
PIT 14 0 7 021
IND 0 3 0 1518

Top Performers

Passing: P. Manning (IND) - 290 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: W. Parker (PIT) - 17 CAR, 59 YDS

Receiving: R. Wayne (IND) - 7 REC, 97 YDS

Pittsburgh (12-5) at Indianapolis (14-2)

Pittsburgh (12-5) at Indianapolis (14-2), Sunday 1:00 pm EST AFC divisional playoff

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison struck quickly against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the Monday night stage in November. Coach Bill Cowher can't let that happen again if he hopes to make another trip to the AFC championship game.

The Indianapolis Colts, who won their first 13 games of the season and finished with the NFL's best record, host the Steelers Sunday afternoon in the divisional playoffs.

Coach Tony Dungy has guided the Colts to the postseason in each of his four seasons at the helm. This time, they have the homefield advantage throughout the playoffs for the first time under Dungy. The Colts reached the AFC championship game two years ago.

Pittsburgh has reached the AFC championship game six times in the last 11 years under Cowher.

The Steelers were 0-3 on the road in the playoffs under Cowher before winning at Cincinnati, 31-17, last week in the wild-card round. Ben Roethlisberger completed 14-of-19 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns and Pittsburgh rushed for 144 yards in the win.

But not having to contend with Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer made last week's challenge easier for the Steelers. On Cincinnati's second play from scrimmage, Palmer connected with rookie Chris Henry on a 66-yard pass down the right sideline. However, that was the first and last pass of the game for Palmer, who was hit in the left knee by defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen and suffered a torn ACL and MCL.

The Steelers now must face Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning, the league leader in passer rating this season, for the second time here in less than two months.

Manning passed for 245 yards and two touchdowns and Edgerrin James rushed for 124 yards in the Colts' 26-7 win over Pittsburgh on November 28.

"They're a good football team that's built for their fast surface," Cowher said. "Offensively, they have a lot of weapons and defensively they tackle well."

Manning got it started with an 80-yard touchdown pass to Harrison down the right sideline on Indianapolis' first play from scrimmage 1:44 into the game.

Harrison finished with four catches for 128 yards. James was a consistent force throughout, rushing for 53 yards on 13 carries in the first half and 71 yards on 16 carries in the second half.

Manning also hit tight end Bryan Fletcher with a 12-yard scoring pass and Mike Vanderjagt kicked four field goals for the Colts.

The physical Steelers managed just 29 yards on 17 carries through three quarters. They added 57 yards on eight carries in the fourth quarter with most of that coming on a 24-yard run by Willie Parker and a 13-yard scramble by Roethlisberger.

"Our front seven did a great job on their running attack in the Monday night game," Dungy said. "I know they're physical, but we used our quickness on the fast surface to penetrate the backfield.

Roethlisberger was intercepted twice and threw for just 133 yards. But he appeared to be rusty after missing the previous three games following knee surgery.

The lone Steelers' touchdown came after Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu picked off a pass intended for Harrison and returned it 36 yards to the Indianapolis 7. Three plays later, Roethlisberger fired a 12-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward.

Matchup to watch: Tight end Dallas Clark will go over the middle against Polamalu.

Series: The Steelers lead, 17-5, and had won nine straight in the series before the November 28 loss. However, the Colts' only loss in that streak with Manning at quarterback was in 2002 at Pittsburgh.

Next week: The winner will play the New England-Denver winner in the AFC championship game on January 22.


Passing Leaders

B. Roethlisberger68.33270246
R. Golden100.02500
A. Luck63.436412910
M. Hasselbeck50.02000

Rushing Leaders

L. Bell1959514.92
L. Blount652664.12
T. Richardson1274333.43
A. Bradshaw904254.72

Receiving Leaders

A. Brown88116113.29
H. Miller4350111.72
T. Hilton63108317.24
R. Wayne5060512.12

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

Total YardsPIT
Yards PassingPIT
Yards RushingPIT
Yards AllowedPIT
Pass Yds AllowedPIT
Rush Yds AllowedPIT

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

Pittsburgh leads 2-1
Nov 28, 2005PIT 7, @IND 26
Oct 21, 2002PIT 28, IND 10