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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Steelers LB Porter unimpressed with Colts offense

ESPN.com news services

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter would like to rewrite the Indianapolis Colts' playbook.

Linebacker
Pittsburgh Steelers

Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
57 39 18 4 11 2

The AFC divisional playoff game Sunday at the RCA Dome is a rematch of the Steelers' 26-7 Monday night loss on Nov. 28, but Porter was unimpressed by the Colts' play in that game.

"They don't want to just sit there, line up and play football," Porter told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "They want to try to catch you off guard. They don't want to play smash-mouth football, they want to trick you. ... They want to catch you substituting. Know what I mean? They don't want to just call a play, get up there and run a play. They want to make you think. They want it to be a thinking game instead of a football game."

He called Edgerrin James' 124 yards in the November matchup a "cheap 100," and said the Colts couldn't line up and run straight at the Steelers defense.

"I don't think they outhit us," Porter told the paper. "If they would have outhit us, they would have just lined up, and they wouldn't have done all the audibles every play. If you want to outhit us, line up and play football. That's when you outhit us. Line up, you get your people, we got our eight men in the box, run the ball."

By contrast, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger praised the Colts on Wednesday.

"This team is an unbelievable football team," Roethlisberger said of the Colts, who won their first 13 games before dropping two of their final three. "They're as good as it gets in the NFL. It's going to take our A-plus game to go out and beat their B-minus game."

This statistic might surprise those who consider the Steelers to be a slug-it-out-in-the-trenches team that bogs down when it can't run: Pittsburgh has averaged 29.5 points in its last six games, while the sleeker and supposedly faster Colts have averaged 22.3.

Also, the Steelers' defense has allowed only 13 points in the second half during their winning streak. To the Steelers, that means if they can hang around, keep the game close and start to frustrate Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James, they have a chance to steal the game.

"We're not going to be able to get behind by so many points and then try to fight back and play well after that," linebacker James Farrior said, referring to last Sunday's comeback from a 10-point deficit in a 31-17 win at Cincinnati. "We need to start off fast and keep it going. When you fall behind this team, it's going to be tough to come back."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.