There were several factors that played a role in the Steelers’ 24–17 victory over the Colts on Monday night. Poor time management in Indianapolis on the last transmission of the game was certainly one of them.
With 3:52 left, the Colts moved from their seven-yard line to the Steelers’ 37-yard line on a two-minute warning. Still armed with all of their timeouts, the Colts took the first down when Matt Ryan hit Michael Pittman for four yards in Game 1 after a two-minute warning.
Ryan was sacked in the next game by Alex Highsmith but refused to use the timeout, causing the time to expire by 36 seconds. The Colts again refused to call a time-out after Ryan ran for 14 yards on the next play, leaving 29 extra seconds on the clock before Indianapolis made the next snap.
With 30 seconds left, the Colts finally called a timeout after Jonathan Taylor was stopped for no win on the third down. The Colts walked off the field with two unused timeouts after Minka Fitzpatrick interrupted Ryan Parris Campbell’s fourth shot to secure the Steelers’ win.
“I thought we had a lot of time,” Colts acting head coach Jeff Saturday said of the Colts not taking a timeout after Ryan’s run. “We still had timeouts. It didn’t really bother me. When it fell, I couldn’t tell where they were going. [mark] Ryan from the fall. … I expected that we would get the ball and play a little faster.
“It wasn’t press for the time. We just haven’t made enough games.”
As on Saturday, Ryan thought ball space after his run played a role in the Colts’ clock mismanagement. The veteran quarterback thought his run was commendable.
If the officials gave Ryan a first down, he would have these four-down timeouts in his back pocket to work with. Unfortunately for him and the Colts, it didn’t work, as officials determined he was slipping a few yards short of the clubs.
“I thought maybe I was a little closer than where they spotted him,” Ryan said, “but it’s neither here nor there… I don’t mind calling.”
The Colts bounced back from a 16–3 deficit to take a 17–16 lead early in the fourth quarter. But, as with the loss to Philadelphia last Sunday, the Colts failed to hold the lead in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh, despite losing to running back Naji Harris due to injury in the first half, took the lead forever thanks to a two-yard touchdown from Benny Snell. The Steelers took inspiration from rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, who scored his first road win.
While it was a big win for Pickett and the Steelers, it was another tough loss for the Colts, who have fallen to 4-7-1 and 1-2 since Saturday took over as interim head coach.
“It’s disappointing,” Ryan said. “It really is. I think the effort is good, but our performance is not good enough.”