INTERSTATE 70 – A quick morning post as esteemed colleagues Joe Rutter and Kevin Gorman and I make the trip to Indianapolis for the Thanksgiving Night game between the Steelers and Colts.
By now you’re surely aware that Scott Tolzien is starting for Indianapolis against the Steelers (if you’re a person checking out this blog on the holiday I assume you’re a big enough Steelers fan that you’d be keeping up on these kind of things).
The Steelers have had plenty of instances recently where they didn’t have their star quarterback available (they’ve lost three of the five in which Ben Roethlisberger was playing less than half the game these past two seasons), so believe me when I say they won’t be feeling any sympathy for the Andrew Luck-less Colts. They’ve had their meetings with less-than-heralded quarterbacks.
The Steelers, as you might recall, faced a backup the most recent time they faced the Colts. Last December, it was 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck under center at Heinz Field in what ended up an easy Steelers’ win.
Counting the playoffs (beating the A.J. McCarron-led Bengals in January), the Steelers have won five of their past six when facing a fill-in quarterback… but they’d lost three of four such instances prior to that run.
(Note: defining a “backup QB” isn’t as simple as you might think… Do benchings count? What about a late-season coach’s decision for a losing team to try out a youngster in lieu of a go-nowhere veteran? In short, for my purposes in this blog, I counted only games in which the Steelers were facing a team in which its starter was INJURED… and even at that, for example, I credit Dak Prescott as “starter” even though he gained his job because of injury because, well, he became the starter. It can be inexact, but bare with my subjective judgments here, ok?).
We’ll chat again tonight. Enjoy the game – and more importantly, enjoy Thanksgiving with your families.
Steelers against backup QBs the past four seasons
Date Opponent Quarterback Comp/Att/Yards/TD/INT Result
11/24/16 at Colts Scott Tolzien ??? ???
*-1/9/16 at Bengals A.J. McCarron 23/41/212/1/1 W 18-16
1/3/16 at Browns Austin Davis 24/46/240/0/2 W 28-12
12/27/15 at Ravens Ryan Mallett 28/41/274/1/0 L 20-17
12/20/15 Broncos Brock Osweiler 21/44/296/3/1 W 34-27
12/6/15 Colts Matt Hasselbeck 16/26/169/1/2 W 45-10
11/17/14 at Titans Zach Mettenberger 15/24/263/2/1 W 27-24
11/9/14 at Jets Mike Vick 10/18/132/2/0 L 20-13
9/28/14 Buccaneers Mike Glennon 21/42/2/1 L 27-24
12/23/13 at Packers Matt Flynn 21/39/1/1 W 38-31
9/29/13 Vikings Matt Cassel 16/25/248/2/0 L 34-27