The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos had a lot of similarities heading into the Week 2 matchup at Heinz Field. Both teams were working off a short week after Monday night games, and there were plenty of injuries across both rosters.
It was the Steelers who won the opening coin toss and chose to defer their possession to the second half, giving Drew Lock and the Broncos’ offense the opening offensive possession. Even after the opening drive was aided by a Joe Haden pass interference call on third down, the Broncos were forced to punt on their first drive of the game.
Ben Roethlisberger and company took over at their own 20-yard line, but after a fumbled handoff by Dionate Johnson on the first play, it killed the drive before it even began. The result was a Dustin Colquitt punt after three plays.
The Broncos’ second drive was highlighted by some magnificent running by Melvin Gordon. After gashing the Steelers’ defense, Denver got away from the run and decided to throw the ball. It took only a few plays before T.J. Watt flushed Lock out of the pocket and Bud Dupree cleaned it up, causing a fumble which was recovered by Mike Hilton.
With the extra possession, Roethlisberger connected with Eric Ebron, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington and quickly got the offense into field goal range. But the offense wasn’t settling for 3 points, and James Conner plunged into the end zone after a tough Smith-Schuster catch-and-run. The Chris Boswell point-after made the score 7-0 with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
On the sack by Dupree on the Broncos’ previous possession, Lock left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return for the next drive. With Jeff Driskel under center the offense sputtered and gave the ball back to the Steelers with 1:22 left in the quarter.
After a three-and-out the Broncos had the football to start the second quarter.