Game Preview: Steelers at Broncos (Divisional)

AFC Divisional Playoff Game
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-6) at Denver Broncos (12-4)
Date: Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016
Kickoff: 4:40 p.m. ET
Site: Sports Authority Field at Mile High (76,125) • Denver, Colo.
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
TV Coverage: CBS-TV (locally KDKA-TV, channel 2)
Announcers: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Phil Simms (color analyst) & Tracy Wolfson (sideline)
Local Radio: Steelers Radio Network, WDVE-FM (102.5)/WBGG-AM (970)
Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (color analyst) Craig Wolfley (sideline)
National Radio: Westwood One
Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Trent Green (color analyst) & Steve Tasker (sideline)


Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin** Overall regular-season record: 92-52 (.639)/ninth season
Regular-season record with Pittsburgh: 92-52 (.639)/ninth season
Playoff Record/Years: 6-4/six years

Denver Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Overall regular-season record: 73-68 (.518)/ninth season
Regular-season record with Denver: 12-4 (.750)/first season
Playoff Record/Years: 2-2/two years

Series History: Series began in 1970
Overall Regular Season: Broncos lead, 14-8-1
In Pittsburgh: Broncos lead, 6-5
At Denver: Broncos lead, 8-3-1
Neutral Sites: n/a
Streak: Steelers won previous meeting
Last Regular-Season Meeting: Dec. 20, 2015 in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh 34, Denver 27
Postseason Series: Broncos lead, 3-4
Last Postseason Meeting: Jan. 8, 2012 at Denver - Wild Card
Denver 29, Pittsburgh 23 OT
(preseason and postseason record not included in overall series record)

Pittsburgh owns a 8-14-1 all-time regular-season record against the Denver Broncos...the Steelers defeated the Broncos in their most recent matchup on Dec. 20, 2015 in Pittsburgh, 34-27...the two teams will meet for the eighth time in the postseason in series history...Pittsburgh defeated Denver in three of their previous seven games:

1977 Divisional L,34-21 Denver
1978 Divisional W,33-10 Pittsburgh
1984 Divisional W,24-17 Denver
1989 Divisional L,24-23 Denver
1997 AFC Championship L, 24-21 Pittsburgh
2005 AFC Championship W,34-17 Denver
2011 Wild Card L, 29-23 OT Denver

Pittsburgh 34, Denver 27
Dec. 20, 2015 Heinz Field (67,234)

Photos from the last matchup vs the Broncos at Heinz Field on December 20th, 2015.

PITTSBURGH** - The Steelers overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the Broncos 34-27 in front of a record-setting crowd in the regular-season finale at Heinz Field. The 17-point comeback marked the largest comeback since October 5, 1997, when the Steelers trailed the Baltimore Ravens by 21 points and came back to win 42-34.

Pittsburgh's defense came up with a turnover on the Broncos' first drive, as S Robert Golden forced a fumble that was recovered by S Mike Mitchell. Two plays later, RB Le'Veon Bell scored on a two-yard run to give Pittsburgh the early 7-0 lead. But it would be all Broncos for the remainder of the half.

QB Brock Osweiler threw three touchdowns and rushed for another as he led the team to 27 first-half points. Osweiler connected with WR Demaryius Thomas for an 18-yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. Osweiler then threw a 61- yard touchdown to WR Emmanuel Sanders to make it 14-7. Osweiler scored on a seven yard run to make it 20-7.

K Chris Boswell made a 24-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to cut the lead to 20-10, but Osweiler threw a six-yard touchdown on Denver's ensuing drive to give the team a 27-10 lead. Boswell's 41-yard field goal late in the second quarter made it 27-13 at halftime.

The Steelers' defense shut down the Broncos in the second half, and QB Ben Roethlisberger threw three second- half touchdowns, two to WR Antonio Brown and one to WR Markus Wheaton to give Pittsburgh the 34-27 victory.


Broncos (10-4) 14 13 0 0 27
STEELERS(9-5) 7 6 7 14 34

PIT 1 10:16 D. Williams 2 yd. run (Boswell kick) 2-21; 0:53 7-0
DEN 1 4:4 1Thomas 18 yd. pass from Osweiler (McManus kick) 12-85; 5:35 7-7
DEN 1 3:08 Sanders 61 yd. pass from Osweiler (McManus kick) 1-61; 0:08 7-14
DEN 2 11:30 Osweiler 7 yd. run (Kick failed) 10-50; 4:52 7-20
PIT 2 7:33 Boswell 24 yd. FG 12-73; 3:57 10-20
DEN 2 1:56 Thomas 6 yd. pass from Osweiler (McManus kick) 10-80; 5:37 10-27
PIT 2 0:04 Boswell 41 yd. FG 10-51; 1:52 13-27
PIT 3 7:16 Brown 9 yd. pass from Roethlisberger (Boswell kick) 7-58; 3:17 20-27
PIT 4 12:34 Wheaton 9 yd. pass from Roethlisberger (Boswell kick) 5-60; 2:17 27-27
PIT 4 3:24 Brown 23 yd. pass from Roethlisberger (Boswell kick) 3-37; 0:56 34-27

Passing Yards
Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger, 433 (11/5/2006)
Broncos: Tim Tebow, 316 (1/8/2012)
2011 AFC Wild Card*

Rushing Yards
Steelers: Rashard Mendenhall, 155 (11/9/2009)
Broncos: Terrell Davis, 139 (11/11/1998)
1997 AFC Championship*

Receiving Yards
Steelers: Antonio Brown, 189 (12/20/2015)
Broncos: Demaryius Thomas, 204 (1/8/2012)
2011 AFC Wild Card*

• Owns a 6-4 all-time record in the postseason.
• Became the second head coach in NFL history to reach two Super Bowls in his first four seasons as a head coach.
• Became the youngest head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLIII).
• Became just the seventh coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl within his first two seasons as head coach.


The best photos of QB Ben Roethlisberger from the 2015 season.

• Is 11-5 all-time (.688) all-time in the postseason as a starting quarterback, 4-1 on the road.
• Led the Steelers to the Super Bowl in three of his first seven seasons as the starting quarterback.
• Became just the sixth quarterback in NFL history to start three Super Bowls in his first seven seasons (Troy Aikman, Tom Brady, John Elway, Bob Griese, Jim Kelly).
• Led the Steelers to four AFC Championship Games in his first seven seasons as the starting quarterback, becoming just the eighth quarterback in NFL history to do so (Troy Aikman, Tom Brady, Terry Bradshaw, Jim Kelly, Donovan McNabb, Ken Stabler, Roger Staubach). • Became the youngest quarterback in league history to win a Super Bowl (Super Bowl XL) at 23 years old.
• Became the second-youngest starting quarterback to win two Super Bowls (26 years, 336 days old on Feb. 1, 2009; Tom Brady - 26 years, 182 days on Feb. 1, 2004).
• Engineered a game-winning, 78-yard drive that culminated with a six- yard touchdown pass to WR Santonio Holmes for the go-ahead score with 35 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIII.
• Became just the 10th quarterback in NFL history to win more than one Super Bowl (Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana - 4; Troy Aikman, Tom Brady - 3; Ben Roethlisberger, John Elway, Bob Griese, Jim Plunkett, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach - 2).
• In 16 career postseason games, has a 61.2 completion percentage (297-of 485) for 3,713 yards and 22 touchdowns with 19 interceptions for a 83.8 passer rating. His 297 completions are the most in Steelers postseason history and his 3,713 passing yards and 22 touchdowns are the second-most in team postseason annals.
• Has seven multi-touchdown postseason passing games.
• Had a career playoff-high 65-yard touchdown pass to WR Santonio Holmes in the 2008 AFC Championship Game versus the Baltimore Ravens.
• Posted a career playoff-high 337 yards passing in the 2007 AFC Wild Card game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
• Has engineered four postseason fourth quarter/overtime game-winning drives, including most recently in the 2015 AFC Wild Card Game at the Cincinnati Bengals.

• Team is 10-4 in the postseason during his career.
• Has 48 career postseason receptions for 582 yards (12.1 avg.) with four touchdown catches, all team postseason records for tight ends.
• His 48 career postseason receptions and 582 receiving yards rank tied for fourth and fifth, respectively, in Steelers playoff history.
• Has caught a pass in 10 consecutive postseason games played.
• In the 2010 AFC Championship Game, finished with two receptions for 38 yards (19.0 avg.), becoming only the sixth player in team history and just the 11th tight end in NFL history to reach 400 career postseason receiving yards.
• Had career playoff-highs of eight catches for 85 yards in the 2007 AFC Wild Card Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
• Of his 48 postseason catches, 26 have gone for first downs or touchdowns.

• Set an NFL record for the most field goals (4) by a rookie/first-year player in a playoff game in the 2015 AFC Wild Card at Cincinnati. His 4 field goals also tied for the most in Steelers playoff history (third occasion).


• Has postseason career totals of 26 catches for 396 yards in six games.
• His 396 receiving yards are seventh-most and his 26 catches are tied for ninth-most in team postseason record books.
• In his first career postseason game, finished with a game-high 75 receiving yards in the Steelers' 2010 AFC Divisional Playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens.
• Hauled in a career postseason long catch of 58 yards on the Steelers' final drive to set up the game-winning touchdown against the Ravens.
• In the 2010 AFC Championship Game, caught a 14-yard pass on third-and-six to seal the victory in the final two minutes of the game.
• Made his first career postseason start vs. Baltimore in the 2014 AFC Wild Card game and caught a single-game playoff high nine catches for 117 yards.
• Set a single-game postseason best of 119 receiving yards on seven catches, both game highs, in the 2015 AFC Wild Card game at Cincinnati.
• Fifteen of his 26 playoff catches have resulted in a first down.

• Tied a Steelers postseason playoff game rookie record with five catches in his postseason debut vs. Baltimore in the 2015 AFC Wild Card game, finishing with 61 yards and a touchdown.
• Caught his second career postseason touchdown in the 2015 AFC Wild Card at Cincinnati, and tallied five catches for 29 yards and a 44-yard run.

• Started two of his three postseason games played and recorded 7 tackles (6 solo) and a sack.
• Notched his first career postseason sack in the 2015 AFC Wild Card game at Cincinnati, forcing a fumble on the play.

• Has posted 49 tackles (33 solo) in 15 career playoff games (nine starts) - 14 games (nine starts) with Pittsburgh and one with Cincinnati.
• Had one of the most memorable and game-changing plays in Super Bowl history with his record-breaking 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII. It marked the longest play in Super Bowl history, breaking the old mark of 99 yards on a kickoff return by Desmond Howard (Green Bay) vs. New England in Super Bowl XXXI.
• Finished Super Bowl XLIII with four tackles (three solo) and one interception and two QB hurries.
• Has 7.5 sacks in his postseason career, including 3.0 in the 2010AFC Divisional Playoff Game vs. Baltimore. His 7.5 sacks are the second-most in Steelers playoff history since sacks became official in 1982.
• His three sacks in the 2010 AFC Divisional Game against the Ravens tied the team's postseason single-game record (Chad Brown vs. IND, 12/29/96 and Gerald Williams vs. KC, 1/8/94.
• Posted a six-yard sack in Super Bowl XLV.

• In 10 career postseason games, has 51 tackles (38 solo), one fumble recovery and four special teams tackles.
• Had five tackles in the 2008 AFC Championship Game.
• His lone fumble recovery sealed the 2008 AFC Championship Game win over the Baltimore Ravens.
• Team is 6-4 in his 10 games played (six starts).
• Made his first career postseason start in the 2010 AFC Divisional Playoff game vs. Baltimore and finished with nine tackles.

• Tallied an individual playoff game high 13 tackles (9 solo) to go along with two forced fumbles, two pass break-ups, two stops for losses and a fumble recovery in the 2015 AFC Wild Card at Cincinnati.

• Has played in 10 career postseason games and team is 6-4.
• Has two career postseason fumble recoveries.
•In the 2010 AFC Championship Game, posted his first career postseason touchdown as he scooped up a Jets' fumble and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown late in the first half.


Here is a look at the statistical leaders for the both the Steelers and Broncos heading into the AFC Divisional round.

Former Steelers/Broncos**
• Denver WR Emmanuel Sanders was selected by Pittsburgh in the third-round of the 2010 NFL Draft and played with the Steelers for four seasons (2010-13).
• Broncos director of player development Ray Jackson held the same position with the Steelers for 10 seasons (2005-14).

Area Connections
• Pittsburgh OLB coach Joey Porter played collegiately at Colorado State University and ranks fifth on the Rams' all-time sack list and later served as an undergraduate student assistant. He was inducted into the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame in November 2013.
• Denver WR Jordan Norwoord played collegiately at Penn State and is a native of State College, Pa.

NFL Connections
• Pittsburgh HC Mike Tomlin (2006) and RB coach James Saxon (2011- 13) both worked with Denver OLB coach Fred Pagac (2006-13) and RB coach Joe Woods (2006-13) in Minnesota.
• Tomlin and Woods worked together in Tampa Bay from 2004-05.
• Steelers conditioning coordinator Garrett Giemont and Pagac worked together for one season in Oakland (2001).
• Steelers OC Todd Haley was on staff in Arizona while Broncos DE Antonio Smith (2007-08) played for the Cardinals.
• Haley also worked in Dallas while Denver OLB DeMarcus Ware was a Cowboy (2005-06).
• Steelers TE coach James Daniel and Broncos QB coach Greg Knapp were also on Atlanta's staff at the same time.
• Daniel and Denver STC Joe DeCamillis worked together on the Giants' coaching staff from 1993-96.
• Steelers S Mike Mitchell and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey played in Oakland in 2012 while Knapp was the OC for the Raiders.
• Pittsburgh RB DeAngelo Williams played in Carolina at the same time Denver WR coach Tyke Tolbert was on staff for the Panthers (2010).
• Williams and Denver G Evan Mathis were teammates in Carolina from 2006-07.
• Pittsburgh LB Arthur Moats was a Buffalo Bill while Denver asst. secondary coach Samson Brown was the Bills' asst. DB coach in 2013.
• Steelers QB Landry Jones was Atlanta's quarterback at the same time Broncos DC Wade Phillips was the DC/interim HC for the Falcons from 2002-03.
• Pittsburgh DE Cam Thomas and Denver G Louis Vasquez were San Diego Chargers teammates (2010-12).
• Steelers RB Jordan Todman and Denver ILB Brandon Marshall were teammates in Jacksonville for one season (2012).

College Connections
• Pittsburgh S Will Allen played at Ohio State while Denver OLB coach Fred Pagac was the asst. HC in 2000.
• Steelers G Ramon Foster and Broncos P Britton Colquitt played together at Tennessee (2005-08).
• Pittsburgh T Marcus Gilbert attended Florida with Denver WR Andre Caldwell in 2007.
• Pittsburgh QB Landry Jones and Denver ILB Corey Nelson attended Oklahoma together from 2010-12.
• Steelers OT Alejandro Villanueva played at Army while Broncos asst. ST coach Tony Coaxum was on staff (2007-09).
• Steelers LB Ryan Shazier and CB Doran Grant both played at Ohio State with Broncos CB Bradley Roby (2011-13).
• Pittsburgh WR Martavis Bryant attended Clemson at the same time Denver asst. strength and conditioning coach Dennis Love worked there (2011-13).
• Steelers LB Bud Dupree  and Broncos ILB Danny Trevathan were teammates for one season at Kentucky (2011).


Here are your selections to represent the Steelers in the 2016 Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

• 2016 Pro Bowl Selection
• Week 2 AFC Offensive Player of the Week
• Week 10 AFC Offensive Player of the Week/FedEx Air Player of the Week
• Week 13 FedEx Air Player of the Week
• Week 15 FedEx Air Player of the Week

• 2016 Pro Bowl Selection
• Week 9 Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week
• November AFC Offensive Player of the Month
• Week 13 AFC Special Teams Player of the Week
• Week 15 AFC Offensive Player of the Week
• Week 15 Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week
• December/January AFC Offensive Player of the Month

• 2016 Pro Bowl Selection

• Week 9 FedEx Ground Player of the Week
• Week 13 FedEx Ground Player of the Week

• Week 6 AFC Special Teams Player of the Week
• December/January AFC Special Teams Player of the Month

• With a win, would even the all-time postseason series vs. the Denver Broncos at 4 games each.
• Pittsburgh looks to improve to 16-8 in AFC Divisional game postseason game history and to 3-3 in road Divisional playoff games.
• The Steelers will aim to advance to the AFC Championship game for the 16th time in franchise history and for the first time since the 2010 season.
• Pittsburgh would become 35-23 in the postseason in team history with a victory and move into sole possession for the most playoff wins in NFL history.

• With a win, would improve to 7-4 in the postseason.
• Would even his postseason record against the Denver Broncos at 1-1 with a victory.


• Needs three pass completions to record 300 in his postseason career and to become the first quarterback in Steelers history with 300 in the postseason.
• Is 121 passing yards from surpassing Terry Bradshaw (3,833) for the most in Steelers postseason history.
• Would improve to 12-5 all-time as a starter in the postseason with a win and 5-1 on the road in the playoffs.
• Two or more touchdown passes to register his eighth career multi-touchdown passing game in the postseason.
• Would record his third 300-yard playoff game with 300 yards (337 vs. Jacksonville, 1/5/2008 and 334 vs. Baltimore, Jan. 3, 2015).
• With 300 passing yards, would tie Terry Bradshaw (3) for the most 300-yard games in Steelers postseason history.

• Is four catches from becoming the eighth Steeler with 30 career postseason receptions.
• Needs 104 receiving yards to tally 500 in his postseason career and become the seventh player in team history with 500 receiving yards in the playoffs.
• Will record the first touchdown catch of his postseason career with a scoring grab.

• Will record the first touchdown run of his postseason career with a rushing score.

• Is two catches from 50 in his postseason career.
• Needs one touchdown catch to post the fifth of his postseason career and to become the fifth Steelers player with at least five postseason scoring receptions.

• Needs a half-sack to tally his eighth sack in postseason history.

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