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After further review: On demand

The stat sheet told the story of how Steelers 27, Broncos 19 played out beyond the obvious, beyond the 122 yards on the ground for running back Najee Harris, the 130 yards through the air for wide receiver Chase Claypool and the 33:02 of possession time the Steelers amassed, including 19:43 in a first half that ended with the home team ahead by 11.

This was equally revealing, albeit much more subtle: Broncos tight end Noah Fant had three catches for 20 yards.

He was targeted four times and had a long reception of 9 yards.

"They chose to protect the pocket with him," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged regarding how the Broncos, who have been without big-play pass-catchers KJ Hamler and Jerry Jeudy, deployed Fant, a player Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler had called "probably the best receiver they've got right now."

The Steelers made no such concessions against Broncos outside linebacker and noted game-wrecker Von Miller.

The Steelers' much-maligned offensive line ensured none were necessary.

"We weren't going to sacrifice our whole offense by putting extra guys and extra tight ends over there," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger maintained. "We asked 'Chuks' (right offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor) to do a job against one of the best pass rushers in the game and one of the better ones of all time and I thought he did a great job."

Miller's numbers, likewise, told the tale: two assisted tackles.

Who's laughing now, O-line?

The Steelers' much-maligned unit dictated and dominated, from Okorafor to left offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr. and everywhere in between.

In doing so, they answered a challenge Roethlisberger revealed had been issued internally in the wake of the Steelers' 1-3 start and the way they'd struggled to run the ball, protect Roethlisberger and score points.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field

"I don't know what happens in their O-line room, I'm sure Klemm (offensive line coach Adrian) is on 'em and getting on 'em," Roethlisberger continued. "I know Coach Canada (offensive coordinator Matt) was very vocal this week. For me, this week was about just trying to encourage, talk to each guy and tell them that I believe in 'em, I know they can do it. I'm not sure which each one responds to, if it's the yelling or the encouragement.

"Each coach and then myself, and maybe other guys, just trying to encourage and let those guys know that we need them, we're gonna go as they go. So that's kinda how it went."

It wasn't just players and coaches.

"What's really challenging is just the media, you guys kill them, man," Harris offered afterward.

Right guard Trai Turner, the lone veteran presence up front, offered neither pats on the back or kicks in the backside.

Only the perspective he's gleaned as an eight-year veteran.

"It's never playing outside of yourself and it's never doing more than you can do," Turner explained. "I don't go out there and I don't try to play for the center. I don't try to play for the right tackle. I play right guard. As a line, when you play your position and you try not to do too much and you play within the confines of the team, good things happen."

It was nothing Turner hasn't said before.

It was nothing he won't say again.

"My words carry through weekly," he said. "I don't really change my words because what I speak is what I believe. It's just preaching, you know, man, let's keep going, keep pressing. When you feel like you have somebody on their heels, keep going. When you feel like they have you on your heels, you need to push harder.

"And I think everybody understands that."

That understanding on Sunday at Heinz Field was such that the clock in Roethlisberger's head actually slowed down when he dropped back to pass.

"I think any quarterback, they'd be lying if they told you they didn't sometimes think about that, like, 'OK, the ball's gotta come out,'" he said.

"Today, it felt really comfortable."

Challenge accepted.

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