Strong safety Terrell Edmunds could be perceived as an unlikely hero against Denver, but only if you pay more attention to the stat sheet than the way the Steelers play defense.
"You saw that we love to blitz," outside linebacker T.J. Watt emphasized after Edmunds' sack of Broncos backup quarterback Jeff Driskel on fourth-and-2 from the Steelers' 15-yard line with 1:51 left in the fourth quarter preserved a 26-21 triumph on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. "If you watch us week in and week out, it doesn't matter what year it is, we blitz. One of our assets is that you have no idea where it's coming from, who it is. We can send anybody.
"That's the great thing about this defense, we play fast, we play technically sound but we definitely want to play better than we did today."
The sack was the second of Edmunds' 34-game NFL career (33 starts), and first since 2018.
He isn't normally the splashiest of Steelers' defenders, but Edmunds maintained he's always ready if his number is called.
"Man, it felt great," he said. "I knew I could do it. I'm just still out here, I'm going hard every day in practice, and when the time presents itself go out and make a play.
"My teammates, they know I can make a play. We're playing our football and anyone on our defense can make a play anytime. That time it was me, thankful for it."
Edmunds blitzed off the left edge of the Steelers' defense and got to Driskel without being blocked and registered the Steelers' seventh sack on the afternoon.
"We're capable of bringing anybody except the field (wide-side) corner," head coach Mike Tomlin explained. "That's kind of our philosophical approach, we're a blitz group.
"It's tough to bring the field corner because of the distance he plays from but anybody else is capable of coming and that's just the code we live by."
A MATTER OF TRUST: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns and had a passer rating of 98.7, but wasn't pleased with his performance.
"I just didn't play well enough," he insisted.
Roethlisberger's day also included an interception ("never should have happened"), a dropped interception in the end zone by Broncos rookie cornerback Michael Ojemudia, and a touchdown pass to wide receiver Diontae Johnson that Roethlisberger said "wasn't a very good throw."
Also bothering Roethlisberger was the Steelers' 2-for-12 success rate on third downs (17 percent; they were 2-for-11 before a kneel-down on the game's final snap).
"I just have to trust myself and trust my guys," Roethlisberger said. "They're in the spots they're supposed to be. Sometimes, you have to make an anticipatory throw and I didn't do that well enough.
"I didn't connect with guys when they were open."
SIDELINE MASTERY: Second-round wide receiver Chase Claypool has gone 2-for-2 at keeping himself in bounds while in the process of making difficult catches look easy.
In the regular-season opener at New York, a toe-tap finished off a leaping, 28-yard reception.
Against Denver, Claypool ran under a deep ball from Roethlisberger and then walked a tightrope along the sideline for a couple of strides while in the process of sprinting the final 47 yards on what became an 84-yard, catch-and-run touchdown.
Such plays aren't happening by accident.
"I think that's something I've worked on for the last eight years, I'd say," Claypool offered. "From the beginning of high school to now, just kinda going through little drills that you have to be aware where your feet are because having your toe on the sideline or not on the sideline can change the outcome of a game.
"I know how important that is so I've been working on that quite a bit. Now, it's kinda coming natural to me."
FLAG DAY: Six of the 10 penalties the Steelers incurred were defensive fouls for pass interference (four), roughing the passer (one) and a horse-collar tackle (one).
Cornerback Joe Haden, who has been called for pass interference in consecutive games, is of the opinion such calls are in the eye of the beholder.
"Some of those, you know, I think some of the calls, they were just bang-bang," he said. "A lot of them we weren't really trying to get as physical. I feel like a lot of them were just bang-bang calls, they couldn't have called it or sometimes they will call it. Our coaches even told us, 'Man, just keep playing the way you're playing.'
"Sometimes, those bang-bangs don't go your way, but we still want people to try to be body on a body in close coverage. We'll watch the tape and see how we can kinda try to avoid a couple more of those."
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 2 game against the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field
HAVING A BALL: Roethlisberger provided a memento for right guard Kevin Dotson to commemorate the rookie's first career start.
"We were excited for him," Roethlisberger said. "I mean, the young man grew up a Steelers fan. I know he told me his dad watches in his man cave upstairs, won't let anyone bother him.
"I was just so happy that he got out there and got to play. I gave him the ball afterwards and told him to give it to his old man."