What Went Right, What Went Wrong

What went right, wrong vs. Broncos

COIN TOSS: Broncos call tails. It's heads. Steelers win the toss and elect to defer.

1:10 p.m. – What Went Right: The Broncos took the opening kickoff, and after being the beneficiary of a ticky-tack pass interference call on Joe Haden that allowed them to convert a third-and-3, the Steelers defense stiffened on the next three plays. Melvin Gordon lost 2 yards on first down, and then Drew Lock threw incomplete on second and third downs. On third down he was pressured by Devin Bush, and Steven Nelson batted the pass away. Diontae Johnson returned the punt 13 yards, and the Steelers started their first possession at their 23-yard line.

1:15 p.m. – What Went Wrong: On first-and-10 from the 23-yard line, a jet sweep lost 8 yards when Diontae Johnson couldn't hold onto what looked like a good handoff from Ben Roethlisberger. After James Conner got those 8 yards back on second down, a pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster came up 2 yards short of the first down. After a 41-yard punt by Dustin Colquitt, the Broncos began their second series at the 33-yard line.

1:21 p.m. – What Went Right: The first sack and the first takeaway resulted from a strip-sack by Bud Dupree, and Mike Hilton's recovery and 8-yard return gave the ball to the Steelers at their 41-yard line with 7:42 left in the first quarter. But until that point, the Broncos were running the ball successfully through the defense on this possession. On three straight carries, Melvin Gordon gained 39 yards.

1:29 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers took advantage of the takeaway and marched 59 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead with 4:23 left in the first quarter. The possession began with three straight completions by Ben Roethlisberger – a 15-yard pass to Eric Ebron, an 8-yarder to JuJu Smith-Schuster, and then a 5-yard out to James Washington. After an incomplete pass, James Conner burst up the middle for an 11-yard gain. After a drop by Ebron and an incomplete pass in the end zone, the Steelers converted the third-and-10 on a short pass to Smith-Schuster, who then ran over cornerback Michael Ojemudia to get the first down and put the ball at the 2-yard line. Conner busted over the goal line on the next play for the touchdown.

1:41 p.m. – What Went Wrong: With quarterback Drew Lock sidelined with a shoulder injury and replaced by Jeff Driskel, the Steelers defense allowed one first down before forcing a Broncos punt when Terrell Edmunds broke up a third-down pass. But the offense responded with a three-out out that was lowlighted by a 10-yard sack by Mike Purcell back to the 9-yard line. When Dustin Colquitt's second punt traveled 36 yards, Denver began at the Steelers 36-yard line to open the second quarter.

1:49 p.m. – What Went Right: On the first play after Colquitt's second mediocre punt, Jeff Driskell completed a short pass to Jerry Jeudy, who turned it into a 19-yard gain for a first down at the Steelers 17-yard line. That was followed by a false start, then a sack by Mike Hilton for a loss of 8 yards, and then a short pass to Courtland Sutton that only gained 1 yard when Hilton knifed through the blocking to make the tackle. Brandon McManus kicked a 49-yard field goal to cut the Steelers lead to 7-3 with 12:07 left in the first half.

2:10 p.m. – What Went Right: From one snap to the next, the Steelers went from the lowest to the highest on the emotional scale. After Diontae Johnson had his 81-yard punt return for a touchdown nullified by an illegal block penalty on Cam Sutton, Ben Roethlisberger paired with Chase Claypool on an 84-yard catch-and-run down the left sideline for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a `14-3 lead with 6:23 remaining in the first half.

2:20 p.m. – What Went Right: On Denver's first play after the long touchdown pass to Claypool, Jeff Driskel found Courtland Sutton behind Joe Haden for a 45-yard gain to the Steelers 30-yard line. After a couple of incomplete passes, Brandon McManus missed a 58-yard field goal attempt, which was short and wide right.

2:26 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers were unable to cash in the good field position following the missed field goal, but on the first play after Colquitt's punt sailed into the end zone, A Jeff Driskel pass went through the hands of Courtland Sutton and was intercepted by Joe Haden, who returned the ball 24 yards to the Broncos 11-yard line with 1:58 left in the first half.

2:32 p.m. – What Went Wrong: After the interception, the Steelers ran the ball three times from the 11-yard line and then settled for a 21-yard field goal by Chris Boswell for a 17-3 lead with 39 seconds left in the first half. On third-and-1 from the 2-yard line, Conner was dropped for a 1-yard loss after Bradley Chubb drove Eric Ebron off the line of scrimmage and into Conner's path.


2:58 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Steelers received he second half kickoff, wasted a 49-yard kickoff return by Ray-Ray McCloud, and committed their first turnover of the game. A couple of runs by James Conner netted a first down, but then on a third-and-16 Ben Roethlisberger's pass was intercepted by Justin Simmons, and the Broncos took over at the Pittsburgh 41-yard field goal.

3:05 p.m. – What Went Right: Thanks in part to a 13-yard pass to K.J. Hamler and a 14-yard completion to Noah Fant, the Broncos moved to a first-and-goal at the Steelers 4-yard line. A T.J. Watt sack pushed Denver back to the 10-yard line, and then after a couple of incomplete passes, Brandon McManus kicked a 28-yard field goal to make it 17-6 with 8 minutes left in the third quarter.

3:16 p.m. – What Went Wrong: Again, the Steelers offense moved smoothly from their 25-yard line to Denver 35-yard line, but a pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster on third-and-2 was stuffed for no gain because the blocking in front of him broke down, and then on fourth down Ben Roethlisberger anticipated Eric Ebron going deep and ended up over-throwing him.

3:24 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Broncos pulled to 17-14 with 1:07 remaining in the third quarter when they took advantage of a foolish penalty by Mike Hilton and then isolated 6-foot-5 tight end Noah Fant on Devin Bush for a touchdown and then a two-point conversion. On a second-and-10 the Broncos were saved from facing a third-and-10 when Hilton roughed Jeff Driskel as he was in the process of throwing another incomplete pass. Fant then beat Bush on a crossing route for a 20-yard touchdowns, and then again on a similar route for the two-point conversion.

3:39 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers responded to the Broncos touchdown drive with one of their own, this one covering 75 yards in nine plays while consuming 4:41 of game time. Ben Roethlisberger got things started with a 21-yard completion to Eric Ebron. After a second first down, the Steelers ultimately faced a fourth-and-2 at the Broncos 35-yard line. Roethlisberger connected with Smith-Schuster on a shovel pass that gained three yards and a first down. On a second-and-7, Roethlisberger escaped pressure and with a lot of open grass in front of him he opted to throw a strike to Diontae Johnson for a 28-yard touchdown that restored the Steelers lead to 24-14.

3:46 p.m. – What Went Right: The Broncos offense went three-and-out on their possession following the Steelers touchdown. Punter Sam Martin dropped the snap in the end zone and was tackled by Derek Watt for a safety that upped the Steelers lead to 26-14 with 10:01 left in the fourth quarter.

3:48 p.m. – What Went Wrong: On the first offensive play following the free kick after the safety, Benny Snell fumbled and it was recovered by Kareem Jackson at the Denver 46-yard line.

3:55 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Broncos cashed in the Snell fumble with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Melvin Gordon who was isolated on Vince Williams. The Broncos converted a third-and-1 via a defensive pass interference penalty, and then a third-and-7 with a 17-yard pass to Tim Patrick. The Steelers lead was cut to 26-21 with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter.

4:15 p.m. – What Went Right: It looked to be coming down to one play. Fourth-and-2 from the Steelers 15-yard line. Pittsburgh 26, Denver 21. At the snap, Terrell Edmunds shot off the slot and sacked Jeff Driskel for a loss of 11 yards to turn the ball over on downs to the Steelers. And then on the second play after taking the ball on downs, James Conner ripped off a 59-yard run to the Broncos 10-yard line. Two plays later, Ben Roethlisberger took a knee to ice the victory.

FINAL: Steelers 26, Broncos 21