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Colts edge Steelers in third preseason game

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Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown made their preseason debuts, but the Steelers fell to the Colts in week three of the NFL preseason.

PITTSBURGH—Ben Roethlisberger got his feet wet in Saturday’s game by playing in the first quarter of the 19-15 loss to visiting Indianapolis. He completed six passes on nine attempts for 73 yards. His longest pass was for 15 yards.

“Obviously, we’re playing [the Colts on November 12], so we kept it basic,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m ready for the regular season. I wasn’t really worried about me and [Antonio Brown].”

Overall, the back-and-forth game was lackluster. Pittsburgh trailed 19-15 in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Landry Jones, who played most of the game, drove the Steelers to the one yard line five minutes into the fourth after Chris Culliver was called for pass interference in the end zone.

However, on first and goal from the one, Jones attempted to hit Juju Smith-Shuster on a crossing route in the end zone. Colts cornerback Chris Milton made the 

PLAY OF THE GAME

by stepping in front of the pass and coming down with the interception to snuff out the Steelers’ attempt to take the lead. Neither team would score again.

The Steelers were driving on their first possession but Ben Roethlisberger was sacked by John Simon, who also forced a fumble, which was recovered by the Colts (Hassan Ridgeway) at the Steelers’ 33-yard line.

Indianapolis took advantage of the gift and drove 63 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. The drive was capped by Frank Gore 1-yard touchdown. It was the only touchdown by either team in the first half.

The Steelers once again drove down the field on their ensuing possession but the drive stalled on the Colts’ 18 yard line, so they had to settle for a 36-yard Chris Boswell field goal to crack the scoreboard.

The Colts were driving on their second possession but Ryan Shazier picked off Scott Tolzien at the Pittsburgh 20 yard line to snuff out the drive.

“I felt like [the first team defense] did a good job but there’s some things we have to work on. We definitely want to do a better job in not letting teams score in the red zone,” Shazier said. “I saw the guy break open [on the interception] and I had to get in position to [make the play].”

Adam Vinatieri and Chris Boswell traded field goals throughout the game with Boswell converting from 36, 41, and 37; and Vinatieri making a 45 and a 31-yarder.

The Steelers only touchdown came early in the third quarter. James Conner helped power the drive by running for 26 yards on four carries.

“I’m taking it one day at a time and I’m getting real comfortable,” Conner said. “I knew I was getting in so my mind was right.”

Landry Jones hit Xavier Grimble on a 10 yard touchdown pass to cap the drive and the Steelers trailed only 13-12 midway through the third  quarter. (Boswell missed the extra point.)

Jones completed 21 passes on 31 attempts for 163 yards and a touchdown. His interception was a crucial mistake, however.

The Steelers gave dozens of players a chance to contribute as six running backs and had carries and 16 players caught passes.

NOTE: The Steelers have been experimenting this preseason with placing offensive coordinator Todd Haley in the press box rather than on the field. This was the first time Roethlisberger played under the new configuration since he has not seen action up to this point.

“We’ve been trying [Haley upstairs] out the first part of the preseason. This is the first time I’ve gotten to experience it. I thought it went really well,” Roethlisberger said. “Todd [Haley] can see the field being up [in the press box]. He can focus on that and [quarterbacks coach] Randy [Fichtner] is on the sidelines, my quarterback coach who I’ve been with for eight years.”

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