The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos entered Week 12 with very different AFC Playoff potential swirling around them. With a 7-2-1 record, the Steelers had won six games in a row and were hoping to keep pace with the Kansas City Chiefs and secure a first round bye in the playoffs. With a 4-6 record, the Broncos desperately needed to win to stay relevant in the playoff hunt with several other teams hanging around the .500 mark.
The two AFC teams went head-to-head at Mile High in Denver, the Steelers’ second straight road game, and it was the Broncos who started with the football after Pittsburgh deferred their possession to the start of the third quarter.
Denver’s offense failed to gain a first down to open the game, and had to punt the ball to the always lethal Pittsburgh offense. Ben Roethlisberger and company wasted little time moving the ball into Denver territory. Passes to Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Jaylen Samuels set up the offense for a 48 yard Chris Boswell field goal, but Justin Simmons blocked the kick, giving the ball back to Denver with good field position.
The Broncos’ offense took over at the 38 yard line, and was able to turn the turnover into three points by way of a Brandon McManus field goal to give Denver an early 3-0 lead.
Pittsburgh had the football inside Denver territory at the end of the quarter.