INDIANAPOLIS – There won’t be any blast-from-the-past motivational speeches from Jeff Saturday or Reggie Wayne leading up to the Indianapolis Colts’ latest meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
None of those This is how we did it moments.
But it might not be a bad idea, since the last time the Colts whipped the Steelers, Saturday was their starting center and Wayne was one of their starting wideouts.
Saturday now is the Colts’ interim head coach and Wayne their receivers coach. Yes, it’s been that long ago.
It was 2008 and the Colts ventured Heinz Field and extracted a 24-20 victory. It was just their second win in Pittsburgh, and the franchise’s first since 1968. It snapped a 12-game road losing streak to the Steelers.
When the Colts overwhelmed Pittsburgh 26-7 in 2005 – Peyton Manning hit Marvin Harrison with an 80-yard touchdown on Indy’s first offensive play – it snapped the Steelers’ nine-game winning streak in the series. Saturday and Wayne were at their usual spots, and Cato June, now Indy’s linebackers coach, was the starting weakside ‘backer.
That’s how it’s been versus Pittsburgh, regardless the venue. The Steelers own the overall series 25-6, including 17-3 since the Colts’ relocation in 1984.
“Wow, I did not know that,’’ Saturday said. “So, 2008 is the last time we beat ‘em here?’’
No, beat them anywhere.
“Oh, wow,’’ he said. “I did not know what.’’
“We’ll give a little ‘Bring back the magic type thing?’ . . . I have no idea,’’ Saturday joked. “Listen, reality is we’ve got a Monday night game. It’s going to be huge. The Steelers are huge.
“I don’t think we need any extra motivation. But I had no idea about the dominance they’ve had over us here recently.’’
Despite Pittsburgh’s stranglehold on the series, the last three meetings have been decided by 4 points or fewer: 28-24 in 2020, 26-24 in ’19 and 20-17 in ’17.
JT: Security issues
Jonathan Taylor remains the Colts’ offensive catalyst, but he’s dealing with unusual ball-security issues. He has fumbled three times in eight games, losing each. And each has proven costly.
*at the Eagles’ 43-yard line in the fourth quarter last Sunday against Philadelphia and the Colts looking to expand a 13-10 lead. Philly won 17-16.
*at the Washington 20 in the third quarter and the Colts trailing 7-6. The Commanders won 17-16.
*at the Tennessee 23 in the fourth quarter and the Colts trailing 24-17.
Taylor noted each fumble is “unique,’’ but added “you never want to lose the ball. You have to do whatever it takes. No matter what happens, you’ve gotta hold onto it.’’
His three fumbles have come on 172 total touches (151 rushes, 21 receptions). He fumbled four times, losing two, last season on 372 touches and lost his only fumble as a rookie on 271 touches.
“We’ve made a point of emphasis for everybody in protecting the football and Scottie (Montgomery, position coach) does a great job every week of going through protecting the ball,’’ Saturday said.
The fumble against the Eagles was one of those unique situations. The Colts faced a third-and-1 at midfield. Taylor easily picked up the first down, but kept fighting for extra yardage, with the help of his offensive line. At some point he attempted to go down, but the Eagles were successful at holding him up and prying the football free.
“Shoot, if you can just get a knee down or something,’’ Taylor said.
“It’s one of those where offensive line is pushing, he’s getting in kind of a scrum and one guy gets in there and latches onto the ball and rips it out,’’ Saturday said. “So, just talking through when is enough, enough? When do you get down? How do you hold onto the ball when you’re in that type of environment?
“Probably the most difficult part of that is, it was a good play for us that was turning into a great play, and unfortunately (the Eagles) made an even better play.’’
The Colts ruled no one out of Monday night’s game. That includes Kwity Paye, who missed the Eagles game with an ankle injury. The second-year defensive end is questionable despite not practicing this week.
“Continuing to progress,’’ Saturday said, “and we’ll work him out again (Sunday) and he’s just kind of working through all of that.’’
Three other players are questionable: tight end Kylen Granson (illness), defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (back) and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (ribs/illness).
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.