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Denver Delight: Steelers Overcome Slow Start to Dominate Broncos 28-10

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I think it’s safe to say the Champs are officially back.

After a slow start to their Monday night matchup with the Broncos, the Steelers exploded in the second half, outscoring the Broncos 21-7 as they walked out of Invesco with their fifth straight win – 28-10. The win sets up a big North showdown with the fellow first place Bengals Sunday at Heinz Field. Both teams will enter the game at 6-2.

For the Steelers, the first half could not have been any uglier, except for the score. The team got a gift pick six from Kyle Orton that Tyrone Carter, replacing Ryan Clark who sat out the game, took back for a score to give the team a 7-3 lead.

Denver took their first possession of the game and used an 8-play drive to get to the Steelers 22 before Matt Prater kicked a 40-yard field goal to make it 3-0. The Steelers did nothing worth talking about in the first quarter, running 11 plays and gaining 20 yards while Ben Roethlisberger was sacked twice.

The second quarter as much of the same till Carter picked off Orton about three minutes into the second quarter, and took it back untouched for the defensive score that put the Steelers up. The offense was still in stuck mode, as the team had just one real offensive possession in the quarter, and punted after gaining just one first down.

It was after the half that the team started to finally assert itself. They started fast, going from their 17 to the Broncos 33, when the last negative play of the night happened for the Steelers. Roethlisberger was under pressure, and stripped by Kenny Peterson. The ball rolled around till Robert Ayers picked it up and went 54 yards for a score to make it 10-7 Denver.

The lead would be short lived for the Broncos.

The Steelers responded right away, as they needed just two minutes to go the distance. A pass to Mike Wallace went for 18 yards, then Rashard Mendenhall went 24 yards. A deep pass to Santonio Holmes went for 35 yards to the Broncos three. One play later the team took the lead for good, as Big Ben hit Hines Ward for a three-yard TD to make it 14-10.

The game stayed tight till midway through the fourth quarter. A huge Troy Polamalu pick of Orton set the Steelers up at the Broncos 25. On third down Roethlisberger extended the play, and threw deep to Wallace, who beat Brian Dawkins for a score to extend the lead to 21-10 with 7:03 left.

Then the defense started to pounce. Orton and the Broncos were unable to do much of anything, and quickly went three-and-out and were forced to punt. That’s when the offense put the finishing touches on the win. Led by Mendenhall, who had 155 yards on 22 carries, the team marched to the Denver three, when Roethlisberger hit Ward for a second score to close out the game at 28-10 with 1:22 left.

Roethlisberger was 21-for-29 for 233 yards with three scores and a pick. His QB rating was 116.0. Orton was under stress for most of the second half. He was just 23-for-38 for 221 yards with three picks. The Steelers amassed 375 yards of offense, holding Denver to 242 yards.

After a first half that was not so hot, the team held the ball total for 33:03 to 26:57 for the Denver. The defense also held Denver to zero first downs rushing, and just 27 yards on the ground while the Steelers put up 173 yards rushing.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. mark

    November 10, 2009 at 9:17 am

    After a shaky first quarter, the Steelers may have played their most impressive game of the year. That second half was just dominant! I like the way Kemoeatu responded from causing the sack-fumble-td, to paving the way for many of Mendy’s BIG runs. This team looks every bit a contender …right now. Sunday afternoon, In Pittsburgh, 1P.M. This is going to e one of the defining moments of the year. You have to like the Steelers at home in this situation. I certainly do.

  2. DrGeorge

    November 10, 2009 at 10:24 am

    This game was quintessential Steelers — playing on sheer guts when things look darkest and winning ugly. The defense in particular, given all the injuries, earned special commendation; they really stepped up in a very difficult environment.

    And on offense, it appears that Arians has finally gotten the message. Running is a very necessary part of winning in the NFL. The O-line has steadily improved in each game since the debacle in Chicago. Last night, the much improved blocking schemes — cross-blocks, pulling guards, unbalanced offensive line, and crushing double-teams at the point of attack –made Mendenhall’s 155 yards possible. However, Arians still has a tendency to abandon the run prematurely, as in the first half of the game. When you have one of th league’s premier QBs, that tendency is understandable, but strategically fatal. Ben’s interception on the doorstep of a TD (not the first time that’s happened) is not only Ben’s mistake, it is Arians’ mistake. Our O-line is good enough to run it in. Or it should be.

    We’re meeting the Bengals next. Their running game is exactly what the Steelers used to be. To beat them, our running game has to be what the Steelers used to be. The aerial circus won’t get it done by itself. We need a commitment to the run to control the clock and time of possession; to wear the opposing defense down; and to keep our aching defense rested. Mendy is not the power runner Benson is, but he is good enough if the O-line is allowed to develop a little rhythm. If we rush for 100+ against Cincy we win; if we don’t, we won’t.

  3. mark

    November 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Hey DrGeorge, I agree 100% on how to beat Cincy. I was just as upset in the 1st qrt. last night about how Mendy wasnt getting the ball enough. You could just see that the team was moving the line of scrimmage. Arians is doing the right thing, at least right now.The Steelers look a bit more balanced and its obvious that both the run and pass are becoming equally efficient. How good is Mike Wallace?? Ben is looking for this kid in big spots and he keeps delivering. What confidence the kid has and Ben is VERY comfortable with him! That balance last night in the second half was incredible. If they play like that Sunday, its not close. Steeler defense is going to be fired up. The offense looks impressive and its payback time. I know, payback is a childish assumption that players try not to use but this is 1st place we are talking about! LOL. People forget that if Farrior makes that tackle in the 1st game, the Steelers are 7-1.This will be one of those 3 or 4 defining games that every season has and I expect the Steelers to be on their “A” game.

  4. Order Meds

    November 10, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Good game. Never miss one of the Steelers.

  5. Brian

    November 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Any game that has the Steelers on top after the 4Q winds down is a beautiful game. And even with the messy first half, this game was a GEM!

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