Post-Game Buzz & Reactions
In a back and forth game, the Pittsburgh Steelers were unable to slow down Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos offense in the no huddle and the Broncos played mistake free football in the second half, en route to a 31-19 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It was a tough defeat as they all are,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on the loss. “I thought they made significant plays in second half of football game in all three phases. We lacked the significant play.”
Manning appearing in his first meaningful game in 610 days, went 19 of 26 for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns. He didn’t turn the ball over which haunted Ben Roethlisberger late in the fourth quarter with the Steelers trailing 25-19 as Roethlisberger threw a pick-6 on a pass intended to Emmanuel Sanders and Tracy Porter returned the interception 43 yards for a touchdown to close out the game with 1:58 returning in the 4th quarter.
Roethlisberger was 22 of 40 for 243 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception in the loss. Roethlisberger had touchdown passes of four yards to Heath Miller and three yards to Mike Wallace.
STEELERS DEFENSE STRUGGLES TO SLOW DOWN MANNING IN NO HUDDLE
Manning and the Broncos hit their stride on their fourth offensive possession of the game when they went no huddle after being scoreless in their first three possessions. The Broncos drove 80 yards on 12 plays, scoring on a Knowshon Moreno seven yard touchdown run to take a 7-3 lead in the second quarter. 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 on that drive did was slow down the Steelers pass rush which was very effective in the first quarter as Larry Foote and Jason Worilds had first quarter sacks.
From there Manning went unscathed and moved the Broncos down the field at ease for rest of the game.
With Pittsburgh leading 13-7 after a 16 play drive to open the third quarter, Demaryius Thomas struck again, connecting with Peyton Manning for a 71 yard touchdown on a catch and run as Thomas got blockers and went the distance beating safeties Troy Polamalu and Ryan Mundy, giving the Broncos a quick response and 14-13 lead.
It was just a two-play, 80 yard drive and after the Steelers regained the lead, 19-14, on a Mike Wallace touchdown catch less than a minute into the 4th quarter, Manning would do what he wanted on the next drive, connecting 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 Manning pass to Willis McGahee, giving the Broncos a 22-19 lead.
The Broncos in their last four possessions (excluding the 1 play knee down to end the half) of the game ran 36 plays for 291 yards, scoring 25 points.
It was mastery by Manning who did a lot of his damage without a deep passing game but made the hard throws when he had to. Manning was sacked twice in the first quarter but didn’t get sacked for the final three quarters as he remains the best quarterback in NFL history at making adjustments. The Steelers defensively were not able to make any adjustments when the Broncos began to go no huddle in the second quarter. When at the line Manning dissected the Steelers defense so well and I’m sure the players will agree with that.
***The Steelers won the time of possession battle by a wide margin, holding the ball for 35:05 in the game……Demaryius Thomas led the Broncos with 5 receptions for 110 yards and 1 TD. In his last two games vs Steelers, Thomas has 9 receptions for 314 yards and 2 touchdowns……Antonio Brown led the Steelers with 4 receptions for 74 yards……Jonathan Dwyer saw a lot of time in the backfield and led the Steelers with 43 rushing yards on 9 carries, averaging 4.8 yards per carry…..Larry Foote led the Steelers with 8 tackles and had a sack and forced fumble. 7 of Foote’s 8 tackles came in first half…..Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 4 times in the loss…..The Steelers went 11-19 on third down….
Ramon Foster – eye injury
Marcus Gilbert – hyper extended knee, Tomlin not sure if injury is severe