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Tolzien effective as Colts edge Steelers 19-15

August 27, 2017
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien (16) looks to pass as Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Mike Hilton (40) moves in during the first half an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien (16) looks to pass as Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Mike Hilton (40) moves in during the first half an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Scott Tolzien led a pair of long scoring drives to inch closer to the Colts’ starting job for the season opener if Andrew Luck’s shoulder isn’t ready, and the Indianapolis defense kept Pittsburgh’s high-powered offense in check in a 19-15 victory Saturday night.

Tolzien completed 7 of 10 passes for 123 yards, including a 55-yard hookup with Donte Moncrief that set up a 1-yard Frank Gore touchdown run. Tolzien also threw an interception in three series of work.

Stephen Morris, who has given Tolzien a spirited run during camp, went 12 of 16 for 143 yards and guided a pair of scoring drive against Pittsburgh’s backups.

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown made their lone preseason appearance for the Steelers. Roethlisberger completed 6 of 9 passes for 73 yards. He connected twice with Brown for 28 yards.

The Steelers moved the ball on both possessions Roethlisberger was in the game. Roethlisberger fumbled after getting sacked by linebacker John Simon to end Pittsburgh’s first drive. The Steelers were settled for Chris Boswell’s 36-yard field goal on their second series when the offense bogged down inside the Indianapolis 20.

Roethlisberger and Brown’s roles are assured when the Steelers open the 2017 season in Cleveland in two weeks, a common thread for a team expected to challenge for a Super Bowl berth. The same can’t be said for Indianapolis, which could start the season in flux without Luck, whose right shoulder has been slow to mend from offseason surgery.

Tolzien has been pushed by Morris during the preseason, with Morris putting up significantly better numbers in the first two exhibition games. Tolzien played markedly better in the closest thing to a regular-season atmosphere football in August provides. He hit Moncrief over the middle on the Colts’ first snap. Moncrief bounced off a hit by safety Robert Golden and raced inside the Steelers 10. Gore bulled his way over from the 1 to give the Colts the lead.

Tolzien used a 32-yard rainbow to Phillip Dorsett in the second quarter to set up Adam Vinatieri’s field goal that put the Colts up 10-3.

Steelers backup Landry Jones completed 21 of31 passes for 163 yards after sitting out the first two games with an abdominal injury. Jones hit tight end Xavier Grimble for a 10-yard score in the third quarter, but was intercepted in the end zone with less than five minutes to go and Pittsburgh trailing.

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