INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 28, 2005) -- The Indianapolis Colts ' unbeaten ride is picking up so much steam even their opponents see the possibility of perfection.
"Time will tell," added Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher. "They're a good football team, they play well on this turf, it's made for them.
"There's not a lot of holes, they force you to play a 60-minute game and they can hit you at any time."
Now they can look forward to the final month of what is becoming an extraordinary season.
"Is it a burden being 11-0?" Manning said, repeating a question. "I never thought of it as that. It's an honor because of the respect I have for NFL teams. It's hard to win 11 games in a season, let alone the first 11."
In shutting down Pittsburgh with a staunch, aggressive defense that yielded only 197 yards, the Colts also ended a seven-game slide in this series dating to 1984. Manning hurdled his New England jinx on a Monday night at the beginning of November, and he got his first career victory over Pittsburgh to finish off the month
The Colts also set a franchise record with a 10th straight home win in earning their 400th victory, combining the years in Baltimore and Indianapolis.
"We went to New England and beat the AFC East leaders, we beat Cincinnati and Pittsburgh," coach Tony Dungy said. "Knowing we can beat the good teams and defending our turf is a good feeling."
Edgerrin James became the first rusher to gain 100 yards against Pittsburgh in 23 games, running for 124 on 29 carries. By contrast, Roethlisberger led the Steelers in rushing with 21 yards until Willie Parker broke a 24-yard run in the final moments.
"I know when I get the ball I've got certain things I've got to do," James said. "It's just a matter of how many times I get the ball."
The only time Manning had faced the Steelers before in his eight-year career was a 28-10 loss at Pittsburgh in 2002. He passed for 304 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted three times.
After Manning hit Harrison just 1:44 into the game and Mike Vanderjagt's 29-yard field goal made it 10-0, the two-time MVP made his only big mistake. The Steelers sniffed out another deep pass to Harrison. Manning underthrew his star receiver and Troy Polamalu intercepted, slaloming through several weak tackle attempts in returning the ball 36 yards to the 7.
After penalties set back the Steelers, Roethlisberger hit Ward for a 12-yard score, making it 10-7. That was about it for Pittsburgh.
"The only thing we focused on was going out and playing the way we play: physical, smart, fast," Colts safety Bob Sanders said. "And today I think we did that better than any game this year.
"I think we did make a statement, because we played one of the most physical teams in the league."
Jeff Reed missed a 41-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter, something teams can't do against the potent Colts. Vanderjagt made a 48-yarder later in the period, and hit a 44-yarder on the final play of the half after Mike Doss ' interception and a 15-yard personal foul on Pittsburgh's Jeff Hartings during the runback.
Cowher made a strange, seemingly desperate decision to open the second half with an onside kick. It backfired, and Manning concluded a 37-yard drive with a 12-yard TD pass to Bryan Fletcher.
"To try to create a spark," Cowher said of his decision, "try to get a possession."
Vanderjagt's 28-yarder, his fourth field goal of the night, ended the scoring.
Notes: Manning finished 15 for 25 for 245 yards, and Harrison had his 51st 100-yard game (four catches for 128), second in NFL history behind Jerry Rice with 76. ... Steelers left tackle Marvel Smith injured his left ankle and left in the second quarter. He previously had hurt his right ankle. ... Colts WR-KR Troy Walters left early with a shoulder problem. ... Roethlisberger was 17 for 26 for 133 yards.