Final

Steelers 7

(7-4, 4-2 away)

Colts 26

(11-0, 5-0 home)

9:00 PM ET, November 28, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 7 0 0 07
IND 10 6 7 326

Top Performers

Passing: P. Manning (IND) - 245 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: E. James (IND) - 29 CAR, 124 YDS

Receiving: M. Harrison (IND) - 4 REC, 128 YDS, 1 TD

Manning throws two TDs as Colts stay perfect

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indianapolis Colts' unbeaten ride is picking up so much steam that even their opponents see the possibility of perfection.

The Colts shoved aside another formidable challenger Monday night, handling the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 26-7 victory. From their first offensive play, when Peyton Manning hit a streaking Marvin Harrison in stride for an 80-yard score, the Colts dominated another good team.

It's getting to be a habit for Indianapolis, the 11th team ever to go 11-0 and the first since Denver in 1998. The Colts have beaten three of their main AFC competitors -- the Patriots, Bengals and Steelers (7-4) -- in a span of four weeks.

"It's tough to go undefeated, but they have the potential," Steelers receiver Hines Ward said.

"Time will tell," added Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher. "They're a good football team, they play well on this turf, it's made for them.

"There's not a lot of holes, they force you to play a 60-minute game and they can hit you at any time."

Such as immediately, which Manning did as Harrison blew past Ike Taylor, and the Colts never looked back.

Now they can look forward to the final month of what is becoming an extraordinary season.

"Is it a burden being 11-0?" Manning said. "I never thought of it as that. It's an honor because of the respect I have for NFL teams. It's hard to win 11 games in a season, let alone the first 11."

While there are some significant obstacles ahead in their quest to match the 1972 Miami Dolphins' perfect regular season -- meetings with San Diego, Jacksonville and Seattle remain -- the Colts should be favored in all five remaining games.

In shutting down Pittsburgh with a staunch, aggressive defense that yielded only 197 yards, the Colts also ended a seven-game slide in this series dating to 1984. Manning hurdled his New England jinx on a Monday night at the beginning of November, and he got his first career victory over Pittsburgh to finish off the month.

They handed Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger his first road defeat; he was 9-0, but couldn't do much in his first game back after missing three weeks because of knee surgery.

The Colts also set a franchise record with a 10th straight home win in earning their 400th victory, combining the years in Baltimore and Indianapolis.

"We went to New England and beat the AFC East leaders, we beat Cincinnati and Pittsburgh," coach Tony Dungy said. "Knowing we can beat the good teams and defending our turf is a good feeling."

Edgerrin James became the first rusher to gain 100 yards against Pittsburgh in 23 games, running for 124 on 29 carries. By contrast, Roethlisberger led the Steelers in rushing with 21 yards until Willie Parker broke a 24-yard run in the final moments.

"I know when I get the ball I've got certain things I've got to do," James said. "It's just a matter of how many times I get the ball."

The only time Manning had faced the Steelers before in his eight-year career was a 28-10 loss at Pittsburgh in 2002. He passed for 304 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted three times.

After Manning hit Harrison just 1:44 into the game and Mike Vanderjagt's 29-yard field goal made it 10-0, the two-time MVP made his only big mistake. The Steelers sniffed out another deep pass to Harrison. Manning underthrew his star receiver and Troy Polamalu intercepted, slaloming through several weak tackle attempts in returning the ball 36 yards to the 7.

After penalties set back the Steelers, Roethlisberger hit Ward for a 12-yard score, making it 10-7. That was about it for Pittsburgh.

Indy's vastly upgraded defense, ranked eighth and hitting as hard as the Steel Curtain ever has, shut down the Steelers the rest of the way. If not for Polamalu's pick and four 15-yard penalties against the Colts, Pittsburgh wouldn't have been in the game at halftime.

"The only thing we focused on was going out and playing the way we play: physical, smart, fast," Colts safety Bob Sanders said. "And today I think we did that better than any game this year.

"I think we did make a statement, because we played one of the most physical teams in the league."

Cowher made a strange, seemingly desperate decision to open the second half with an onside kick. It backfired, and Manning concluded a 37-yard drive with a 12-yard TD pass to Bryan Fletcher.

"To try to create a spark," Cowher said of his decision, "try to get a possession."

Vanderjagt's 28-yarder, his fourth field goal of the night, ended the scoring.

Game notes


Manning finished 15-for-25 for 245 yards, and Harrison had his 51st 100-yard game (four catches for 128), second in NFL history behind Jerry Rice with 76. ... Steelers left tackle Marvel Smith injured his left ankle and left in the second quarter. He previously had hurt his right ankle. ... Colts WR-KR Troy Walters left early with a shoulder problem. ... Roethlisberger was 17-for-26 for 133 yards.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
IND
1st Downs1017
Passing 1st downs
612
Rushing 1st downs
34
1st downs from penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
4-135-13
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays5459
Total Yards197366
Yards per play3.66.2
Total Drives1314
Passing111239
Comp-Att
17-2615-25
Yards per pass
3.88.9
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-222-6
Rushing86127
Rushing Attempts
2532
Yards per rush
3.44.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-10-3
Penalties10-6212-106
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
21
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession29:1330:47

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethlisberger17/261335.1123-22
INDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Manning15/252459.8212-6

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Parker12433.6024
Roethlisberger3217.0013
INDCARYDSAVGTDLG
James291244.3010
Mungro221.002

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLG
Wilson34414.7035
Ward3289.3112
INDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Harrison412832.0180
Wayne56212.4019

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITIND
indTD13:26Marvin Harrison, 80 yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 80 yds, 0:00
07
indFG6:11Mike Vanderjagt 21 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 45 yds, 5:02
010
pitTD1:18Hines Ward, 12 yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 7 yds, 1:56
710
SECOND QUARTERPITIND
indFG5:27Mike Vanderjagt 40 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 6 yds, 0:44
713
indFG0:04Mike Vanderjagt 36 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 3 plays, 19 yds, 0:11
716
THIRD QUARTERPITIND
indTD11:51Bryan Fletcher, 12 yd pass from Peyton Manning (Mike Vanderjagt kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 37 yds, 3:08
723
FOURTH QUARTERPITIND
indFG1:41Mike Vanderjagt 20 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 26 yds, 3:50
726