It was a tale of two halves at Heinz Field on Sunday. In the first half Brock Osweiler and former Steeler Emmanuel Sanders was torching the Steeler defense and they scored touchdowns four consecutive drives. Then in the second half the Steelers clamped down on the Broncos offense and Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown came alive and scored 24 unanswered points as the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Denver Broncos 34-27 Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. Brown caught a 23 yard pass from Ben with 3:48 remaining to take the lead for good. The drive was preceded by an interception by Ryan Shazier at the Denver 37 with 4:20 left in the game.
Brown caught 16 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Roethlisberger went 30 for 45 for 380 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, the second gave the Broncos (10-4) a final opportunity to tie the score before the two minute warning but the Steelers (9-5) held on and stopped the Broncos on four plays to seal the win. Osweiler went 21 for 44 for 296 yards with three touchdowns and that critical interception to Shazier. Sanders caught ten passes for 181 yards and a touchdowns and Demaryius scored two touchdowns for the Broncos.
The Steelers won the time of possession 31:16-28:44 due to the fact that the Broncos went 1 for 9 on third down in the second half and controlled the clock with their precision passing game that eventually wore down the Denver defense. The Broncos did outgain the Steelers for the game 385-377 but only muster 72 yards in the second half. The Steelers adjusted by playing tighter on Denver receivers and eliminating the short to intermediate routes that they were feasting on in the first half and Denver’s running game was no real threat so that made it even easier to execute that game plan.
As for the future they have most likely played their final home game of the season on Sunday, but the good news that they are in a playoff spot right as we speak. The Steelers have the tiebreaker over the New York Jets because of record against common opponents. The Steelers beat the Oakland Raiders 38-35 in Week 9, while the Jets lost to the Raiders 34-20 in Week 8 and that what makes the difference. The Steelers have two winnable divisional road games left in the final two weeks of the season. The game against the Ravens next week will not be easy because the Ravens will not lay down for the Steelers and they have shown fight all season long even as an undermanned unit. As for the game on the road in Cleveland on Jan. 3rd it will be hard to tell they may have their vacation plans already set and they will lay down for the Steelers, or they play and act like professionals because they know there will be most likely a new staff there and they are being evaluated. Either way the Steelers are in good shape, but they can’t take anything for granted because this is the National Football League.
PIT: @BAL 1:00 Sun. 12/27 CBS
DEN: vs. CIN 8:30 Mon. 12/28 ESPN