Antonio Brown's hat-trick has led a dominant Pittsburgh Steelers to recover from a poor start and ease past an off-colour Indianapolis Colts to enhance their bid for a post-season spot with a 45-10 victory.
The home side came into the match second in AFC North but it was an error-strewn opening from both sides as possession was turned over three times inside the first three minutes, with the Colts wasting an opportunity when Matt Hasselbeck was picked off by Jarvis Jones.
Adam Vinatieri slotted over from 35 yards to hand Indianapolis a slim lead, but after Hasselbeck was intercepted for a second time in the first quarter, Chris Boswell converted two field goals to give the hosts a 6-3 advantage at the first break.
Guilty of sloppy offensive play, Colts were a touch fortunate to be within three, but after they forced Steelers into a three-and-out it was they who found the first score when Hasselbeck took advantage of strong protection to find Frank Gore.
Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had had a quiet start, but he began to exert his influence on the game in the second quarter and after he found both Martavis Bryant and Brown with fine passes, he played in Brown to restore Pittsburgh's advantage.
Roethlisberger allowed Will Johnson to add a two-point conversion, and from that moment the balance of the game shifted entirely as Markus Wheaton took advantage of a gain from to go down at the pylon with just seconds left in the first half.
Colts had no reply in the second half, and Roethlisberger recorded his third score when he threw Bryant open on the right and the wide receiver breezed past Greg Toler to collect and run in a 68-yard touchdown.
Boswell missed a field-goal attempt to extend the lead, but by this stage Roethlisberger and the Steelers were rampant, and the quarterback threw arguably his best pass of the day to split two Colts defenders and find Brown's fine catch to put breathing space between the sides.
Pittsburgh added gloss to the scoreline in the final quarter as Brown capped a fine performance by running in a 71-yard punt return to complete his hat-trick of touchdowns and move his side to 7-5, while the Colts remain joint top of AFC South despite slipping to 6-6.body check tags ::