Share Share Broncos vs. Steelers: 5 things we learned tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports The Denver Broncos had a chance to make a statement today against the Pittsburgh Steelers in front of a hometown crowd. A win would keep their playoff hopes alive with an easier schedule in their remaining five games, but a loss would put them several games back of the last wildcard berth. After an amazing defensive performance and efficient offensive effort, the Broncos escaped with a 24-17 victory over the Steelers. With a key victory achieved — here are five things we learned from todays game.
Pittsburgh and Denver found themselves in a back-and-forth contest in Denver during in the late afternoon window of games on Sunday. It was the Broncos that came out with a 24-17 win when Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception in the end zone with less than two minutes to go.
Denver Broncos: 5 things learned in 24-17 win over Pittsburgh Steelers
The Broncos have had a tough schedule and lost a handful of close games to top-tier teams in the National Football League, but they have taken down two of them the past two weeks. With todays victory over the Steelers, the Broncos are now 5-6 and just one game behind the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts (who are 6-5) for the sixth seen in the AFC playoff race. The Broncos next five games look to be quite favorable. If they play like they have the past two games, they most certainly could win out and clinch the final spot. Here is a playoff simulator to craft up hypothetical scenarios where Denver makes the postseason.
Denver beat Pittsburgh to go to 5-6 today.Broncos remaining schedule:*At Cincinnati*At San Francisco*Cleveland*At Oakland*Chargers
Video: Steelers vs. Broncos Week 12 Highlights | NFL 2018
Last week the Broncos patchwork offensive line put up an incredible performance against the Los Angeles Chargers — perhaps their best effort to date. They continued that for the second week in a row and did a great job protecting Case Keenum from a Steelers defensive unit that leads the league in sacks. In addition to that, they did a great job winning in the trenches to help propel the Broncos ferocious running attack. The Steelers hadnt allowed a 100-yard rusher all season long, but first-year phenom Phillip Lindsay amassed 110 yards and a touchdown on fourteen carries. Who would have thought that this revamped offensive line would be doing such a tremendous job? Color me happily surprised.
Video: Case Keenum Finds Matt LaCosse Twice on Big TD Drive
Just when all hope seemed lost after two big scores by the Steelers at the end of the first half and beginning of the third quarter, the Broncos defense forced two third quarter turnovers of their own and capitalized on both of them with touchdown drives. In the final moments of the game, the Broncos defense registered their fourth turnover of the game when Shelby Harris picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the endzone. The Broncos may have given up over 500 yards defensively, but the big takeaway is the four turnovers and the fact that they didnt turn the ball over. When you do that, more often than not, you win crucial football games.
Video: Steelers Go Fake FG for the BIG MAN TD!!!
Most of the season Case Keenum has had up and down performances marred by interceptions. Thankfully todays game was different than usual and arguably his most efficient outing of the season. Only sacked twice, Keenum did a great job of maneuvering the pocket and buying time on play-action throws to make big conversions. He completed 15/28 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. If Keenum can show the poise he has the past two weeks, that bodes well for the Broncos playoff hopes.
Fans have come to expect the duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb making big plays week in and week out. In the first ten games they combined for 19 sacks, but werent able to get consistent pressure on Ben Roethlisberger this afternoon. Why? The Steelers penchant for using quick drops and short passes to get the ball out early and often.
A James Conner-Antonio Brown scene from the Steelers postgame locker room in Denver
Their offensive game plan was similar to what the Oakland Raiders did against the Broncos earlier on in the year. Quick passes early on, then a firm dose of ground and pound as the game went on to neutralize Denvers top-tier edge rushers. Shaq Barrett was able to register a sack in the third quarter and second came when Von Miller and Shelby Harris took down Big Ben late in the fourth quarter. It wasnt a bad effort, but the Broncos defense will need to turn up the heat on opposing quarterbacks down the stretch in order to have a shot at the postseason.
So Broncos Country, what were your five big observations from todays game? Sound off in the comments section and make your voice heard!