INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer’s rally fell short Sunday as Pittsburgh hung on for a 26-24 victory after Jacoby Brissett was knocked out of the game with a knee injury.
Adam Vinatieri missed a 43-yard field goal with 1:14 left to secure the victory for the Steelers.
It’s the Colts’ sixth straight loss to Pittsburgh. They haven’t beaten them since the 2008 season.
Hoyer finished 17 of 26 for 168 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He became the first Colts’ quarterback to come off the bench to throw three TDs since Earl Morrall relieved Johnny Unitas in a game in 1970.
Hoyer found Chester Rogers for a four-yard touchdown on fourth down midway through the fourth quarter to put the Colts on top 24-23. The play was set up by a Justin Houston fumble recovery and a slick 6-yard run by Hoyer to avoid a sack the play before the TD.
The Steelers regained the lead on a 26-yard Chris Boswell field goal.
Brissett left the game in the second quarter after guard Quenton Nelson fell on his leg. The quarterback jogged off the field. He spent time in the medical tent and then stood on the sideline but did not return to game action.
Hoyer replaced him and threw an 11-yard touchdown to Jack Doyle on his second play in the game and first-ever passing attempt with the team to put Indianapolis up 10-3.
The Colts were driving for a two-score lead before Minkah Fitzpatrick intercepted a Hoyer pass intended for Doyle and returned it 96 yards for a TD to tie the game at 10.
Hoyer responded with a six-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 14-yard touchdown to Zach Pascal. Vinatieri’s point after attempt was blocked. It’s the fifth extra point the team has missed this year.
Boswell made a 51-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to cut Indy’s lead to 16-13 heading into halftime. The Steelers got an untimed down after a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Darius Leonard on what should have been the last play of the half.
Houston, who the Colts signed as a free agent this off-season continued to make general manager Chris Ballard look good. The defensive end strip-sacked Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph in the end zone for a safety. It was Houston’s team-leading sixth sack of the season.
Ryan Kelly also did not finish the game with a stinger. The center left the game and returned briefly before giving way to backup Josh Andrews. It’s the first time all season an offensive line starter has missed any snaps.
The Colts are now 5-3 and return to Lucas Oil Stadium for two games. They’ll host the Dolphins next week, before resuming divisional play with a game against the Jaguars on Nov. 17.