Game 14: Broncos vs Steelers

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Broncos are taking on the Steelers at Heinz Field. Photo from http://www.youtube.com

The Steelers got off to a fast start when Will Allen stripped Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman to force a turnover, which the Steelers turned into a Deangelo Williams touchdown for an early 7-0 lead. Since then, it’s been all Denver Broncos, who after the turnover on their first drive, scored a touchdown on each of their next four drives. The Broncos had failed to find the endzone on 23 consecutive before their four consecutive touchdown drives in the first half.

What has greatly helped the Broncos, is a Steelers defense that can’t get off the field on third downs. The Broncos have converted on eight straight third downs in the first half. The Steelers are once again making a backup quarterback look like Johnny Unitas, as Brock Osweiler has led the Broncos to a 27-13 lead at the half.

On the first drive of the second half, the Steelers finally got off the field on third down. The secondary coverage looked alot like tighter for the Steelers on that drive. It’s going to have to remain as such, along with better tackling, to allow Ben and the offense to get the Steelers back in the game. Ben needs to lead the offense to the endzone on thus drive to regain and semblance of needed momentum.

Steelers have had difficulty getting the running game going, as the first two runs of the second half have yielded five yards. On third and five Ben missed Wheaton on a quick slant, and the Steelers have to punt. They really need to go no-huddle to find some offensive rhythm. The defense though, looks to be fired up and shaking off a deplorable first half. They just had their second straight three and out. The offense Needs to capitalize on it and put a touchdown on the board.

Ben brings the offense out again and gets sacked, loses ten yards. The Steelers actually look scared on offense, but convert on third and eleven. The Steelers can’t get anything running the ball. Steelers convert another third down and keep the chains moving. The Broncos get called for pass interference at the seven, first and goal at the nine. Nice play, as Ben hits Antonio Brown for the touchdown. Chris Harris gives up his first touchdown pass in over two years. Steelers close the gap to 27-20.

It’s back to a one score game, the defense needs to come up with another score or even some sort of splash play to steal the momentum back. The Broncos will take over on their own 20. Osweiler immediately hits Sanders with a 29 yard pass out to the 49 on first down. Steelers avoided another big play as Thomas catches the pass out of bounds. Steelers need to get the stop on third and 10. Osweiler pass broken up by Mitchell, Broncos to punt.

Antonio Brown’s 20 yard punt return is coming back on a VERY late flag, and I mean a late flag. It wasn’t thrown until Brown was on the ground.

Steelers start this drive from their own 4. Williams gets it out to the 5 on first down, 2nd and 8. Steelers get 2 on 2nd down. Bryant gets the third down pass and gets the first down. Bryant drops an easy ball on first down, 2nd and 10. A pre snap penalty makes it 2nd and 15, But Antonio Brown comes through with a 20 yard catch and run. Once again, Williams gets nothing on the ground. Steelers need to go no-huddle. Brown gets another grab, and its 3rd and 5. Ben throws it way behind Brown and misses. Steelers have to punt.

Jordan Norwood returns the punt for a touchdown, and a flag is down. The Broncos are penalized for illegal substitution after the play looked to be dead, and the offense started to come on the field. Shamarko Thomas actually downed it.

Defense stops run play for two yard loss. Osweiler goes down on third and 12 after his pass was batted down on 2nd down. The sack of Osweiler ends the third quarter.

Steelers take over on their 40. If they can score a touchdown, the momentum is theirs. Ben hits Brown for 12 and a first down. Ben hits Brown for another 17 and another first down. It’s Ben to Wheaton for 13 and another first down. Broncos penalized 15 at the end of the play for roughing the passer. Nice grab by Wheaton even though it’s only for a yard.Ben to Wheaton for the touchdown after Wheaton breaks a tackle. 27-26. Boswell’s point after ties it up.

Steelers look like a whole different team this half and have clearly taken the moment back. The defense needs another quick stop to get the Denver defense back on the field, because they look like they are wearing down.

The towels are twirling now.

Time for a defensive splash play. Vernon Davis with a 5 yard catch, 2nd and 5. On 2nd and 5 Osweiler underthrows Thomas. Steelers need to hold them here. Golden almost had the interception, that wouldhave been huge. Broncos punt. Steelers take over on their 32 with the game tied at 27.

It’s been a tale of two halves for the Steelers. They looked completely helpless in the first half, and like the best team in the NFL here in the second. The offense needs to put more points on the board on this drive to really put the pressure on Denver.

Ben needs some more big plays, I’d go no-huddle here to keep the defense from getting their energy back. Holding by Cody Wallace, 2nd and 19. Deangelo Williams gets 7 on the reception, 3rd and 12. Ben to Brown for 8. Steelers gotta punt. Berry punts to the 15.

Defense needs to create a turnover, a strip sack would be great. Osweiler gets sacked, loses 4. 2nd and 14. 3rd and 6 after a short pass to Owen Daniels.  Broncos convert, but they are called for holding. 3rd and 16. Vernon Davis drops a perfect first down pass, fearing Mike Mitchell. Broncos punt.

Steelers take over at their own 48. They need to score on this drive. Ben hits Heath for 2, 2nd and 8. Bad pass to Williams for nothing, 3rd and 8. Ben to Brown for the first down. Wait it should have been a free play. Steelers have to punt. Berry punt goes out at the 11.

Defense needs to keep it together for another stop. They have done well this half, they need to finish strong. Osweiler to Jordan Norwood for 13 and the first down. Allen with the big stop, 2nd and 7. Shazier with a HUGE interception on 2nd down. Osweiler, under pressure makes his first mistake.

Ben to Bryant for 9 on first down, 2nd and 1. Williams gets 6 and a first down. Ben to Antonio Brown for the touchdown as the Steelers take a 33-27 lead. Ben threw an absolute laser to Brown. Boswell nails the extra point to give the Steelers a 34-27 lead with 3:24 left in the game.

Defense needs one last stop. The Broncos will take over on their 40. Big drop by Owen Daniels on first down, 2nd and 10. Steelers have forced 3rd and 4. Gotta get the stop. Heyward is shaken up and getting helped off the field. Looks like a contact lens issue. Come on defense, one more stop. Broncos convert. Another big drop on first down, this time by Demaryious Thomas. Osweiler runs for 5, 3rd and 5. Steelers call timeout. Come on defense, get it done. Pass incomplete, 4th and 5. Great coverage by Cockrell. One more time.

Steelers hold and take over with 2:11 left. Broncos have the 2 minute warning and three timeouts. Steelers have to get a first down. Ben throws a stupid interception at the very worst possible time.  Ben just might have given this one away. Unbelievable. Hopefully the defense has enough left to bail Ben out.

Incomplete on first down, 2nd and 10. We are at the 2 minute warning. That Ben int reminds me of the Bettis fumble in the 2005 playoff game against the Colts. Come on defense, just one more stop, one more stop.  Will Allen drops an interception. 3rd and 10. Osweiler misses deep. 4th and 10. O E more time, one more time. YEEEESSSS!!! The Steelers hold and bail Ben out.

Williams gets 2 on first down, 2nd and 8. Steelers need to run this clock out. Williams runs for 2, 3rd and 6. Brown gets the first down grab and closes this game out. Brown has 16 catches for 189 yards and 2 tds. Victory formation time. Steelers come back with a blistering 2nd half to win 34-27. They bump their record up to 9-5 and move into the 6th seed ahead of the Jets. What a finish to this game Steelernation.

 

 

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