It was a tale of two halves for the Steelers and the Broncos in Heinz Field.
For the first half of the game the Steelers defense looked lost and out of place. After recovering a fumble on the Broncos first drive the Steelers defense got burned and abused for the remainder of the first half.
Former Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders had a monster day for the Broncos against his former team with ten receptions for 181 yards and a touchdown. Brock Osweiler looked more like Peyton Manning than he had in any of his previous four starts.
The Steelers went into halftime down 17 points after scoring a field goal to end the first half.
A lot was made of this game being a matchup between the immovable object and the unstoppable force with Denver’s NFL-leading defense going up against the hot Steelers offense. The Broncos have the top rated pass rush along with the top rated corners including Cliff Harris Jr. who hadn’t allowed a touchdown in the previous two years.
Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown put on a show making Denver’s defense look like anything but an immovable object. Brown had 16 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns, both scored on Harris. Ben spread the ball around to Martavis Bryant, who had 10 receptions for 87 yards and Markus Wheaton with six receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown.
Unfortunately, for the Steelers Roethlisberger was a bit too generous with the football, throwing an interception with just over two minutes remaining and a seven point lead on a 2nd and 10 to Brandon Marshall, a horrible pass intended for DeAngelo Williams. It was a bad idea to throw it at that point and it was a bad idea to throw it where he threw it.
Roethlisberger may have given a gift to the Broncos with that late interception but the Broncos wasted it in four downs to give the Steelers the ball back. After giving up 27 points in the first half the Steelers defense stood strong against the Broncos time and time again in the second half, shutting them out.
The Steelers got the ball back and Roethlisberger connected with Antonio Brown for a game-sealing first down on an 8-yard pass.
That’s 10-straight wins in December for the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger became the first quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards against the Broncos “no fly zone” defense. He finishes with 380 yards going 40 of 55 with three touchdowns and two interceptions in a 34-27 victory.
Antonio Brown became the first player in Steelers history with back-to-back 1,500-yard receiving seasons.
The Steelers just smoked the league’s top defense. Game blouses. They improve to 9-5 and will travel to Baltimore next week.