Game Preview: Steelers vs. Broncos (Week 15)

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) vs. Denver Broncos (10-3)
Date: Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
Site: Heinz Field (68,400) • Pittsburgh, Pa.
Playing Surface: Heinz Field
TV Coverage: CBS-TV (locally KDKA-TV, channel 2)
Announcers: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Phil Simms (color analyst) and 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) and Craig Wolfley (sideline)
National Radio: ESPN Radio
Announcers: Marc Kestecher (play-by-play), Bill Polian (color analyst) and Ian Fitzsimmons (sideline)A LOOK AT THE COACHES

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Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin** Overall regular-season record: 90-51 (.638)/ninth season
Regular-season record with Pittsburgh: 90-51 (.638)/ninth season
Playoff Record/Years: 5-4/five yearsDenver Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak

Overall regular-season record: 71-67 (.514)/ninth season
Regular-season record with Denver: 10-3 (.769)/first season
Playoff Record/Years: 2-2/two years

STEELERS-BRONCOS SERIES HISTORY
Series History: Series began in 1970
Overall Regular Season: Broncos lead, 14-7-1
At Pittsburgh: Broncos lead, 6-4
At Denver: Broncos lead, 8-3-1
Neutral Sites: n/a
Streak: Broncos won previous meeting
Last Regular-Season Meeting: Sept. 9, 2012, at Denver
Denver 31, Pittsburgh 19
Postseason Series: Broncos lead, 4-3
Last Post-Season Meeting: Jan. 8, 2012, at Denver - Wild Card
Denver 29, Pittsburgh 23 OT
(preseason and postseason record not included in overall series record)

This week's game marks the 23rd time the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos will meet in the regular season...the Broncos hold a seven-game advantage in the all-time series (14-7-1)... Sunday's game will mark the fourth game between the two teams in the month of December, with the Steelers holding a 2-1 record vs. Denver in the previous three December meetings.

THE LAST TIME VS. DENVER
Denver 31, Pittsburgh 19
Sept. 9, 2012
Sports Authority Field at Mile High (50,122)
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Here is a look at the statistical leaders for the both the Steelers and Broncos heading into the Week 15 contest at Heinz Field.

DENVER -** CB Tracy Porter intercepted QB Ben Roethlisberger and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining to seal the 31-19 Broncos victory over the Steelers in the 2012 season opener.

Both teams got off to a slow start as neither team scored in the first quarter. Pittsburgh struck early in the second quarter when K Shaun Suisham nailed a 21-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 3-0 lead. Midway through the second quarter the Broncos went up 7-3 when RB Knowshon Moreno scored on a seven-yard run.

The Steelers capitalized right before halftime when Roethlisberg- er connected with TE Heath Miller on a four-yard touchdown, and the Steelers took a 10-7 lead into the break.

Suisham connected on a 35-yard field goal midway through the third quarter to give Pittsburgh a 13-7 lead. But on Denver's ensuing drive, QB Peyton Manning and WR Demaryius Thomas con- nected on a 71-yard touchdown to put the Broncos up 14-13.

The Steelers took the lead back early in the fourth quarter and went up 19-14 when Roethlisberger found WR Mike Wallace for a three-yard touchdown. Roethlisberger finished 22-of-40 for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

The Broncos went on to score 17 unanswered points. Manning connected with TE Jacob Tamme on a one-yard score to put Den- ver up 22-19. Denver then extended their lead to 25-19 on K Matt Prater's 26-yard field goal. The Steelers had one final chance to win the game but Porter stepped in front of Roethlisberger's pass and returned it for a touchdown.

The Steelers controlled the ball for 35:05 compared to the Broncos 24:55, and the Steelers' offense converted 11-of-19 (58%) of their third-down attempts.GAME SUMMARY

STEELERS(0-1) 0 10 3 6 19
Broncos(1-0) 0 7 7 17 31

TEAM Q TIME PLAY DRIVE SCORE
PIT 2 10:10 Suisham 21-yd. FG 10-35; 4:50 3-0
DEN 2 5:16 Moreno 7-yd. run 12-80; 4:54 3-7
PIT 2 0:28 Miller 4-yd. pass from Roethlisberger 14-79; 4:48 10-7
PIT 3 6:05 Suisham 35-yd. FG 16-64; 8:55 13-7
DEN 3 5:29 Thomas 71-yd. pass from Manning 2-80; 0:36 13-14
PIT 4 14:11 Wallace 3-yd pass from Roethlisberger (pass failed) 14-80; 6:18 19-14
DEN 4 9:23 Tamme 1-yd. pass from Manning (Manning-McGahee pass) 10-80; 4:48 19-22
DEN 4 3:00 Prater 26-yd. FG 12-55; 5:18 19-25
DEN 4 1:58 Porter 43-yd. interception return (run failed) --- 19-31

STEELERS-BRONCOS CONNECTIONS
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 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 Mike Vick 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).

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

QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER**
• Week 2 AFC Offensive Player of the Week: Completed 21-of- 27 passes for 369 yards with three touchdowns for a passer rating of 155.8 against the San Francisco 49ers.
• Week 10 AFC Offensive Player of the Week/ FedEx Air Player of the Week: Completed 22-of-33 passes for 379 yards with three touchdowns for a passer rating of 123.2, after entering the game in the first quarter vs. Cleveland due to an injury to Landry Jones. His 379 passing yards set a single-game NFL record for the most by a quarterback that did not start the game.
• Week 13 FedEx Air Player of the Week: Connected on 24-of- 39 passes for 384 yards with four touchdowns for a passer rating of 126.4 in the team's 45-10 win vs. Indianapolis.

WR ANTONIO BROWN
• Week 9 Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week: Late in the game against Oakland, Brown pulled down a 57-yard catch and run to set up the game-winning field goal. He finished the game with 17 catches for 284 yards receiving, both single-game franchise records.
• November AFC Offensive Player of the Month: In the month of November, Brown led the NFL in receptions (39), receiving yards (521) and receiving yards per game (130.3), to go along with three receiving touchdowns.
• Week 13 AFC Special Teams Player of the Week: Brown totaled 74 punt return yards, including a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown in Pittsburgh's 45-10 win. He also recorded two receiving touchdowns on offense to become the first player in Steelers' history to record a punt return for a touchdown and two touchdown catches in the same game.

RB DeANGELO WILLIAMS
• Week 9 FedEx Ground Player of the Week: Carried the ball 27 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the Steelers' 38-35 win against Oakland.
• Week 13 FedEx Ground Player of the Week: Rushed for 134 yards on 26 carries to help lead the Steelers to a 45-10 win vs. Indianapolis.

K CHRIS BOSWELL
• Week 6 AFC Special Teams Player of the Week: In just his second career game, Boswell made all four field goal attempts and his lone extra point attempt in the team's 25-13 win vs. Arizona.

PIT-DEN SERIES HIGHS
Passing Yards
Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger, 433 - 11/5/2006
Broncos: John Elway, 276 - 11/21/1993

Rushing Yards
Steelers: Rashard Mendenhall, 155 - 11/9/2009
Broncos: Otis Armstrong, 131 - 9/22/1974

Receiving Yards
Steelers: Yancey Thigpen, 175 - 12/7/1997
Broncos: Javon Walker, 134 - 11/5/2006

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
FROM THE STEELERS
• With a win, the Steelers will improve to 432-276-2 during the regular season since 1970, and to 256-99-1 at home.
• The Steelers look to improve to 8-14-1 all-time against the Broncos in the regular season and to 5-6 at home.
• With a win, Pittsburgh will improve to 3-1 in the regular season against Denver in the month of December, and to 2-1 at home during the month.
• The Steelers look to extend its December game winning streak to 10 games, dating back to Dec. 15, 2013.
• With a win, Pittsburgh will extend its December home game winning streak to six, dating back to Dec. 15, 2013.

FROM HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN
• A win would improve Tomlin to 91-51 during the regular season, including 53-19 at home.
• Coach Tomlin looks to even his regular season record against Denver to 2-2 with a win on Sunday and win his first home game vs. the Broncos.
• With a win, would improve to 25-12 in the month of December and to 17-6 at home in the month.

FROM THE STEELERS OFFENSE
QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER
• Needs 11 passing yards to become the sixth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 3,000 yards in 10 consecutive seasons.
• Is 19 pass completions from 250 in 2015 to mark his fifth consecutive year with at least 250 and set a franchise record for consecutive seasons with 250 completions.
• Will reach 20 passing touchdowns in 2015 with five to extend his consecutive seasons with 20 touchdown strikes to five.

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The best photos of WR Antonio Brown from the 2015 season.

WR ANTONIO BROWN**
• With his next touchdown, will move into sole possession for 10th on the Steelers' all-time touchdown chart with 41.
• With two touchdown catches, will move into a tie for seventh on the team's touchdown reception chart with Elbie Nickel (37).
• With his next 100-yard game, will become the third player in in franchise history with 24-such performances in the regular season (Hines Ward – 29 and John Stallworth – 25).
• Is 103 receiving yards from becoming the first player in team history with back-to-back 1,500-yard campaigns.
• With 110 receptions in 2015, will extend his franchise record of consecutive seasons with at least 110 catches to three.
• With 110 catches in 2015, will become the second player in NFL history to record 110 or more receptions in three consecutive years (Wes Welker, 2007-09).
• With 125 receptions in 2015, would become the first player in NFL history to record back-to-back seasons of 125 catches or more.

TE HEATH MILLER
• With his next receptions in 2015, will record his fifth consecutive 50-catch season.
• Is 19 receptions from joining Hines Ward (1,000) as the second player in team history with 600.
• Needs six touchdown catches to become just the fourth player in Steelers history with 50.

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RB DeANGELO WILLIAMS**
• Will record the 22nd 100-yard rushing game of his career with his next 100-yard performance.
• Is two rushing touchdowns away from his second double- digit rushing touchdown season in his NFL career (18 in 2008).

FROM THE STEELERS DEFENSE
DE CAMERON HEYWARD
• With 1.5 sacks will match a single-season career-high set in 2014 with 7.5.

LB JAMES HARRISON
• Is three sacks from setting the Steelers sack record (Jason GIldon, 77.0) since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.

CB WILLIAM GAY
• Will break a tie with Rod Woodson (5) for the most interceptions returned for touchdowns in team history with his next pick six.

FROM THE STEELERS SPECIAL TEAMS
K CHRIS BOSWELL
• Is one field goal made from tying Kris Brown (25, 1999) for the most field goals by a Steelers rookie/first-year kicker.
• Will become the third rookie/first-year kicker in team history with 100 points in a season with 10 (Kris Brown, 1999: 105 and Matt Bahr, 1979: 104).

WR/PR ANTONIO BROWN
• Needs 121 punt return yards to surpass Antwaan Randle El (1,650) for the most in team history.
• One punt return for a touchdown to break a tie Antwaan Randle El (4) for the most in Steelers history.

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