A holding penalty on Heath sets things back, and Ben threads the needle between two defenders on 3rd and 15 but Wallace comes up just short of the sticks. Punt.
Denver tries to keep it on the ground, and Larry Foote blows up a play and knocks the ball out of McGahee's arm. The ball pops up in the air, off a Bronco helmet and right into LaMarr Woodley's hands.
Haley goes run-run-pass with the ball at the 50 and Ben zings one in to Manny Sanders to move the chains. A blown up stretch run puts us in another 3rd and long and Ben gets sacked, knocking us out of field goal range. Drew Butler sticks it right on the 1 yard line.
The Steelers go ground and pound and work it down to a 3rd and 2 in the red zone where Ben hits AB on a nice backside screen. An offside penalty moves us inside the 5. Champ Bailey breaks up a slant pass on first and goal. Heath can't quite keep his feet in bounds on second down, and Ben tries to go back to him on 3rd down but a defender gets their hand on the ball. Suisham puts the first points of the season on the board.
Three passes from the 3 yard line after grounding and pounding the whole drive. Heath was WIDE open on 3rd down though, really nice play design.
Manning comes out with the No Huddle and starts to go to work on Ike, hitting Thomas twice to move the Broncos out across the 50. Manning shows off some maneuverability and scrambles for a first down. Larry Foote almost comes up with another sack, but Manning is able to fling the ball out. By the book, that's an "in the grasp" call, but it's Peyton so he gets the benefit of the doubt. The Broncos grind out another first down and Moreno scampers in on a cut-back run.
Steelers defense struggled against the No Huddle on that drive.
Redman converts a 3rd and 3 with a RUN to the LEFT. If you've been reading, you know how rare that is. The last time a Steelers running back converted a 3rd and 3 or more for a first down was December 23, 2010 against Carolina. Yes, it had been that long. Also, Arians didn't run on anything over 3rd and 2.
Marcus Gilbert went down with an injury which meant Mike Adams had to come in at RT. Ben is able to convert a 3rd and long with a nice sideline pass to AB. Out of the two minute warning, Ben does his Ben thing and eludes some defenders and floats a ball out to Antonio Brown who scampers down into the red zone. A false start penalty sets things back, but on 3rd and long Ben does his Ben thing agains and slings one back across the field to Sanders on the far sideline to get us inside the 10. On 3rd and goal Ben hits Heath wide open over the middle for the score.
The Steelers lost two linemen in the first half - Gilbert (knee) and Foster (eye) were both questionable for return. Dire times on the line at the start of the second half. Another false start penalty puts us in 3rd and 12, but Ben stands in the pocket and zings one to Sanders over the middle to move the chains. Heath picks up another first down as Ben works the No Huddle. On 3rd and 3, Ben scrambles and dives towards the sticks and winds up just short. With the ball in No Man's Land inside the 40, Tomlin goes for it and Ben converts.
Colonoscopy city. Two more false starts. Ben hits Wallace on a slant to get us back into field goal range and set up a 3rd and 4 where Ben finds Wallace again to move the chains. Ben takes two shots for the end zone from just inside the red zone but neither are successful. Suisham connects.
HUGE 9 minute drive to keep Peyton off the field.
It takes Peyton only two plays to respond. On the second play from scrimmage, he hits Thomas on a WR screen with linemen in front and Thomas goes untouched for 71 yards for the touchdown. Ugh.
Ben throws two dangerous passes that almost get picked off then Sanders drops one on 3rd down and gets smacked with ah helmet-to-helmet hit. The refs throw the flag and the drive stays alive. Sanders hobbles off the field, obviously shaken up. Ben gets sacked on 2nd down, but converts a 3rd and 18 with a huge throw to Heath down the seam.
Another personal foul penalty, this one a facemask moves us to the fringe of field goal range. Dwyer plows some guys over on a check-down pass. JD running hard and keeping his legs moving. Gotta love the effort from him tonight. Ben hits Heath again to pick up another first down and get us down to the 11. Dwyer bounces one outside, fights off a Bronco with a stiff-arm and dives for the sticks.
The initial call is touchdown, but it goes up to the booth for review.
Upon review, Dwyer's knee hit at the 2. Second down.
Redman can't get there, then Ben hits Wallace on a back-shoulder slant route for the touchdown
Tomlin elects to go for 2, but the pass gets batted down at the line. Still a 5-point lead. Not a bad decision since a touchdown would win it either way.
Denver starts working on the ground and moves it out across the 40. Manning keeps working the short passing game and moves the Broncos into Steelers territory. Two passes to guys on the sideline get them inside the 20 then Manning hits Decker on a come-back route and Keenan keeps him out. The ball came out at the end and Tomlin throws the challenge flag in the hopes of getting the fumble, but Decker's knee was clearly down.
Manning comes out and hits Tamme on the next play for the touchdown.
Manning has all day on the 2-point conversion and hits McGahee.
Ben takes a shot for Wallace, but underthrows it by a hair and Wallace has to slow up enough for Porter to knock the ball away. Ben can't hit Heath on 3rd down and it's punt time.
NBC replay shows Mike Wallace WIDE open in the secondary. Yikes. Ben had some pressure on him, but that's 6 points if he sees it.
The Broncos start pounding it on the ground and pick up a few first downs then Manning hits Tamme down the sideline to get them inside the 20. A false start puts the Broncos in 3rd and 7, but they get a gift call from the refs when they flag Keenan Lewis for pass interference. Even Chris Collinsworth thought it was a shaky call. The defense locks it down and holds the Broncos to 3. HUGE. Huge. HUGE. stand by the defense there.
Ben has to deal with a low snap but picks it up and hits AB across the middle to get things rolling. Two plays later, Ben tries to hit Sanders on an out-route and Tracy Porter jumps the route and takes it back to the house.
The Steelers stop the two point conversion. So there's that.
The Steelers take over needing two scores with under two minutes to go. Not a good situation. Ben gets sacked three times and that ends it.
Peyton gets to kneel it out.
15 more games to go. Keep you head on straight, it's just one.
Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Heath Miller
Defensive Game Ball: Larry Foote
- All the talk is going to be about Peyton Manning, but Tracy Porter deserves the game ball from the Broncos. Hell of a game tonight.
- Aside from the last series, Mike Adams played pretty well at RT in replacement for Gilbert.
- Hyperextended knee for Gilbert, per Mike Tomlin.
- Peyton Manning is good. He's still got it.
- Demaryius Thomas scored another long touchdown on a play with the safety on that side playing close to the line.
- Having to settle for 3 on the first drive in the red zone hurt. Porter made a heck of a play to knock the 3rd down pass away, but Heath was wide open. Ben has to get more air under the ball.
- Mike Wallace will be just fine.
- We really abandoned the running game after two linemen went down to injury. Hopefully Kevin Colbert still has Trai Essex's phone number. I can't believe I just said that.
- Heath dominated the middle of the field.
- Steelers defense had no answer for the No Huddle.
- Regroup, learn from our mistakes, and go get the Jets next week. It's a long season. Can't let one game get you down.