Undrafted free agent kicker Danny Hrapmann snuck through a blocked 22 yard field goal with 23 seconds left to go in the game to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 26-24 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night at Heinz Field.
The 7 play game winning drive was led by fourth string quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who was a perfect 3-for-3 passing on the drive for 59 yards, as he connected with David Gilreath, Justin Peelle and Toney Clemons. The drive also overcame 3 penalties. Johnson, who saw action only in the fourth quarter, finished the night 4-of-5 passing for 65 yards and 3 rushes for 11 yards.
The Steelers have been looking for a young receiver to emerge all training camp for a possible 5th and final spot on the 53 man roster and they may have found one in Gilreath, who caught 4 passes on the night for 78 yards. His first catch of the night, a 41-yarder from quarterback Charlie Batch on 3rd-and-11 from the Steelers own 14 yard-line, extended a drive that led to a Hrapmann 39 yard field goal. Gilreath would go on to register three more catches on the night.
The Steelers first team offense led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got off to a rocky start as the Roethlisberger was intercepted by Colts safety Antoine Bethea on the 6th play of the Steelers opening drive.
After the Colts offense led by rookie quarterback Andrew Luck went three and out after the turnover, Roethlisberger rebounded by leading a 6 play, 80 yard drive that culminated with a 57 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown on a bubble screen to the right side. Brown weaved through would-be tacklers and was aided by the nice downfield blocking of Baron Batch.
On the night, Roethlisberger finished 5-of-9 passing for 81 yards with the 1 touchdown and the 1 interception.
The Steelers defense that struggled last season at creating turnovers, made it 14-0 after cornerback Ike Taylor intercepted a Luck pass intended for Reggie Wayne and returned it 49 yards for the Steelers second touchdown of the night.
That was not it for the turnovers and splash plays for the Steelers as cornerbacks Cortez Allen and rookie free agent Josh Victorian also recorded interceptions in the game. Linebacker Mortty Ivy also chipped in with a punt block early in the second half that led to 3 more points for the Steelers.
The interception by Allen was a stroke of luck as a wide open T.Y. Hilton bobbled a pass up into the air from Luck and into the waiting arms of Allen. Hilton would have likely scored easily had he hauled in the pass as he had split Taylor and safety Troy Polamalu after an apparent miscommunication between the two Steelers defensive backs.
On a down note, the Steelers offense was 0 for 3 inside the red zone Sunday night. They did, however, rush for 146 yards on 36 carries as Jonathan Dwyer led the way with 43 yards on 8 carries. Dwyer started at running back for the Steelers Sunday night in place of the injured Isaac Redman, who sat out with an injured hip and groin. Running back Jason Ford, who was just signed to the roster this past week, chipped in another 42 yards on 8 carries late in the game.
The Steelers survived a scare early on in the game as running back Chris Rainey was injured after being hit on a run off left guard on the third play of the game. Rainey was taken to the locker-room and tested for a concussion, but was cleared to return for action. He finished the night with 6 carries for 20 yards and 2 receptions for 3 yards.
The win moves the Steelers to 1-1 on the preseason and they will now travel to Buffalo for their third preseason game this coming Saturday to take on the Buffalo Bills.