Let’s be honest, Broncos Country. If all you looked at was Ben Roethlisberger’s 41-56 for 462 yards without seeing the score you would’ve thought the Pittsburgh Steelers got away with highway robbery in Denver, that Big Ben had four or five touchdowns, and the Steelers walked out of here unscathed.
If you looked at Case Keenum’s stats of 15-28 for 197 yards and two touchdowns, you would probably think the offense could never move the ball or get into any rhythm.Embed from Getty Images
“Everybody gets caught up in the yards because of the fantasy bullshit, but at the end of the day, it’s all about points.
Who cares about how many yards he had? As long as we won, that’s all that matters.”Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe after the 24-17 win over Pittsburgh
Hard to argue with that. Yes, the Broncos defense allowed a quarterback to throw for over 400 yards for the second week in a row. They bent too much at times on Sunday but never really broke in their 24-17 win at Mile High.
When a team has wide receiver talent like Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster it’s almost inevitable that one of those guys has a big game. This time it was Smith-Schuster, who went off for 189 yards and one touchdown on 13 receptions.
But breakout star running back James Conner was held to just 53 yards on 13 carries. The Broncos essentially made the Steelers one dimensional, which is as much as you can ask from a team with as many holes as they have.
But stopping the run wasn’t the only thing that allowed the Broncos to walk away with the W. They made the plays they needed to make that stole momentum — and the game — from the Steelers.
The defense forced two fumbles when the Steelers offense was moving the ball well and then took advantage of a poor throw from Roethlisberger to Brown — although Roethlisberger would claim Bradley Roby held Brown on the play — that allowed Chris Harris Jr to come up with an easy interception.Embed from Getty Images
On one play, safety Will Parks could have allowed Steelers tight end Xavier Grimble to run into the end zone for a touchdown after a long catch and run. Instead, he decided to lay into Grimble which caused a fumble through the end zone, resulting in the Broncos’ ball at the 20-yard line.
Late in the third quarter, running
The fumble was recovered by Darian Stewart and on the Broncos’ subsequent drive they would score what would end up being the game-winning touchdown.
After the game, Roby said he needed to do something to make up for getting burned by Smith-Schuster on a 97-yard touchdown pass. Consider yourself redeemed, Roby.Embed from Getty Images
However, the play that sealed the win came with just over a minute left with the Steelers knocking on the door to the endzone. Roethlisberger dropped back in play action to pass to Antonio Brown but didn’t see defensive lineman Shelby Harris backing up to interfere with the pass if it came over the middle.
The ball landed right in Harris’s arms for his first career interception. The pass probably would have been either picked off or deflected anyways because Roby had perfect position on Brown going across the end zone, but Harris eliminated the need for speculation.
In the end, the only stats that mattered were turnovers, points off turnovers, and the final score.Embed from Getty Images
The Broncos won the turnover battle and converted the turnovers into points that resulted in enough points to steal the win from the Steelers and snap their six-game win streak.
The Broncos are hitting their stride at the right time. Their last five games of the season come against four teams with losing records and one team, the Chargers, that the Broncos beat in LA just last week.
The Cleveland Browns are playing very good football right now but the Broncos get them and the Chargers at home in Denver.
If the Broncos can take care of business on the road in Cincinnati, San Francisco, and Oakland they will put themselves in prime position to finish the season with a winning record.