News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Colts

September 26, 2011

By a whisker: Colts denied 1st win

INDIANAPOLIS — Oh so close.

The Indianapolis Colts came within a whisker of registering their first National Football League victory of the season in front of a national television audience Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Shaun Suisham’s 38-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the game proved to be the difference in a 23-20 Pittsburgh Steelers victory.

Indianapolis dropped to 0-3 for the season for the first time since 1998. The Colts will try to get a win Oct. 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in another nationally televised game.

Suisham’s field goal, his third of the night, wrapped up a frenetic fourth quarter for both teams. Pittsburgh had taken a 20-13 lead after safety Troy Polamau scooped up a fumble by backup quarterback Curtis Painter and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown.

Painter was in the game after starter Kerry Collins was sidelined earlier in the quarter with an apparent concussion. The third-year signal caller from Purdue was hit from behind by Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison, who got past rookie left offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo on the play. It was the first turnover forced by Pittsburgh this year.

Indianapolis rallied on his next possession, however, marching 80 yards in 10 plays and scoring on a 6-yard run by running back Joseph Addai.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger engineered the eventual winning scoring drive, directing the Steelers 60 yards in 10 plays to set up Suisham’s kick.

Indianapolis had rallied from an early 10-0 deficit in the second quarter thanks in large part to some stellar defensive play. Defensive end Jamaal Anderson returned a Roethlisberger fumble 47 yards for the Colts’ first touchdown of the game.

The turnover was created after a sack by defensive end Dwight Freeney — Freeney’s 96th career sack and the 43rd forced fumble of his career. It was Anderson’s first NFL touchdown.

Undrafted rookie safety Joe Lefeged came up with an interception, the first of his NFL career, on Pittsburgh’s next offensive series and returned it 25 yards. The Colts received further help from the Steelers when wide receiver Antonio Brown was called for a personal foul during Lefeged’s return.

Adam Vinatieri hit the second of his two first-half field goals (21 and 25 yards) as the Indianapolis offense continued to struggle in the red zone.

The Steelers made things look easy early on as Suisham hit a 48-yard field goal on his team’s first offensive possession of the game.

Roethlisberger later fired an 81-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Wallace with 3:29 left in the first quarter. He hit on 14 of 20 passes for 231 yards before the halftime break. Wallace had three receptions for 129 yards and the TD in the first half.

Suisham missed a 36-yard attempt in the third quarter when the ball hit the left upright and bounced away, allowing the Colts to hold onto their three-point lead. He did knock through a 44-yard effort with 12:10 remaining in the game to tie the score at 13-13.

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