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Insider Only In Game Buzz: Roethlisberger pick-6 halts comeback as Broncos lead 31-19

IN GAME BUZZ
Denver 31 – Pittsburgh 19
Training by six, Ben Roethlisberger threw a pick-6 near the left sideline on a pass that was intended for Emmanuel Sanders and the ball was returned for a touchdown by cornerback Tracy Porter as the Broncos have taken a 31-19 lead. The Broncos were unable to convert the two-point conversation.
Denver 22 – Pittsburgh 19: Manning heating up in no huddle
Since the Denver Broncos went no huddle on their fourth offensive possession of the game, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had no answers for them defensively. Peyton Manning moved the Broncos down the field with ease and Manning connected with Jacob Tamme for a 1 yard TD pass, capping off a 10 play, 80 yard scoring drive. Denver then converted the two point conversation with a pass to Willis McGahee, giving the Broncos a 22-19 lead. The drive started back at the 20 after a touchback. Manning is 18 of 23 for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Broncos in their last three possessions (excluding the 1 play knee down to end the half) have ran 24 plays for 240 yards, scoring 22 points.
PITTSBURGH 19 – DENVER 14: Steelers respond in back and forth game
Things are setting up for a great ending between Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning. Following Demaryius Thomas 71 yard catch and run touchdown, Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense responded with yet another long drive that was capped off with a two yard Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Mike Wallace to give the Steelers a 19-14 lead. Pittsburgh failed to convert the two point conversation. On the TD pass, Roethlisberger made a great back shoulder pass to Wallace. Roethlisberger is 20 of 34 for 214 yards and 2 touchdownd in the game.
The Broncos held the ball just 36 seconds in the third quarter. 14:11 left in the 4th quarter.
3rd Quarter: Denver 14 – Pittsburgh 13
Demaryius Thomas strikes again, connecting with Peyton Manning for a 71 yard touchdown on a catch and run as Thomas got blockers and went the distance giving the Broncos a quick response and 14-13 lead. Thomas remains a nightmare for the Steelers secondary. Thomas has 4 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown in the game. It was a two play – 80 yard scoring drive for the Broncos.
3rd Quarter: Pittsburgh 13 – Denver 7
A Shaun Suisham 35 yard field goal, capped off a 16 play, 79 yard drive for the Steelers to open the third quarter and taking a 13-7 lead. Pittsburgh had the ball for 8:51 on their opening third quarter drive.
PITTSBURGH 10 – DENVER 7 (1st Half)
It was a first half early on of missed opportunities for the Steelers that later had both teams getting hot near the end of the half.
Pittsburgh put up 10 first half points but likely went to the locker room a bit disappointed they didn’t put up more.
Larry Foote forced a fumble at the Denver 47 that was recovered by LaMarr Woodley on the Broncos second possession. Pittsburgh unable to take advantage of the field position, had to punt after six plays and the team opened up the game very conservative, running the ball six times and throwing just twice through two possessions.
A Drew Butler punt put the Broncos at the one yard line and the Steelers defense did not let Peyton Manning get into much of a grove after Manning found Brandon Stokley for a 17 yard gain on third down to move the ball to the Steelers 22 yard line. Jason Worilds then delivered a sack for an eight yard loss on the next play and Denver was forced to punt again three plays later and Antonio Brown returned the ball 23 yards to the Denver 37, setting the Steelers up with good field possession once again.
In great field position, Pittsburgh would stall near the goaline. After establishing the run in their first two series, Ben Roethlisberger threw three straight incompletions at the three yard line, missing a wide open Heath Miller on a ball that was deflected. Pittsburgh settled for a field goal.
It was a big missed opportunity for the Steelers not to get seven as Peyton Manning and the Broncos went no huddle and drove 80 yards, scoring on a Knowshon Moreno seven yard touchdown run to give the Broncos a 7-3 lead. Manning went six of seven on the drive for 54 yards and had a seven yard first down run on the drive. What going no huddle did was slow down the Steelers pass rush which was very effective prior to the Broncos going no huddle.
Pittsburgh though would respond with vintage Roethlisberger improvising and extending the play, leading the Steelers on a 14 play – 79 yard drive that was capped off by a Roethlisberger four yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller on third and goal to give the Steelers a 10-7 lead at the half. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders for big throws on the drive.
LEADERS
QB Ben Roethlisberger 9/16, 118 yards, 1 TD
QB Peyton Manning 10/14, 98 Yards
RB Isaac Redman 8 carries – 16 yards
RB Willis McGahee 9 carries – 26 Yards
WR Antonio Brown 3 Rec – 55 Yards
WR Demaryius Thomas 3 Rec – 31 Yards
TIDBITS
Pittsburgh won time of possession in the half, holding the ball for 16:29. Pittsburgh threw 16 times and ran 15 times in the half.
— Larry Foote had a monster first half with 7 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble
— Demaryius Thomas matched up against Ike Taylor led the Broncos with 3 receptions for 31 yards in the half.
— Antonio Brown who Mike Tomlin has said wouldn’t be returning punts on a regular basis, fielded all first half punt returns and Emmanuel Sanders returned the one kick return. It’s believed that Tomlin doesn’t trust Chris Rainey. Brown had two punt returns for 23 yards and Sanders had one kickoff return for 27 yards in the first half.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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