The Pittsburgh Steelers entered Week 5 far from where fans expected them as the regular season began. Most would have assumed they would be .500 or better, but their 1-3 record, losing three straight, has black and gold fans around the globe scratching their heads.
Desperately needing a win, the Steelers welcomed the Denver Broncos (3-1) to Heinz Field for a Week 5 showdown between AFC rivals. Denver was able to win the opening coin toss, putting Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense on the field first.
Last week vs. the Green Bay Packers the Steelers scored a touchdown on their opening drive, and they repeated that vs. the Broncos Sunday. With the offense spreading the ball around, and mixing in the runs by Najee Harris, it was Roethlisberger who found Diontae Johnson for a 50-yard bomb for the touchdown.
Chris Boswell’s extra point was good, making the score 7-0 with 12:02 left in the first quarter.
After the Steelers’ defense got an early 3-and-out, Pittsburgh’s offense picked up right where it left off; however, with the offense nearing midfield Roethlisberger was hit from behind and fumbled. The ball was recovered by the Broncos, setting them up in field goal range.
The Steelers’ defense did their job, and didn’t surrender a first down, forcing a Broncos field goal, which was good, to make the score 7-3 with 1:43 left in the first quarter.
To start the second quarter the Steelers were putting together another solid drive, this one was highlighted by Najee Harris running the ball. The rookie running back was getting at least four yards a run, and a 21-yard gain put the Steelers in field goal range. Unfortunately, the Steelers would have to rely on a Chris Boswell field goal to make the score 10-3 with 12:42 left in the second quarter.
After both teams exchanged three-and-outs, it was Denver who struck next. A Javonte Williams 49 yard run got the Broncos inside the 10 yard line. After Williams was flagged for delay of game for spiking the ball out of the field of play, it pushed the Broncos back. On 2nd down Devin Bush came through the line and sacked Teddy Bridgewater for a loss of 12. 3rd down failed, and another field goal made the score 10-6 with 5:50 left in the half.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster leaving the game with a shoulder injury, it was Chase Claypool who stood tall. Claypool, defended by Von Miller, caught a pass over the middle and raced 59-yards for the huge gain. A defensive pass interference call on Denver put the ball at the one yard line, and Najee Harris did the rest.
Boswell was good, again, making the score 17-6 with 2:12 left in the first half.
The Broncos took just 35 seconds off the clock, giving the Steelers’ offense another chance with 1:31 left and two timeouts in their back pocket. Starting from their own 10 yard line, but they would be content going into halftime with a 17-6 lead.
The Broncos started the 3rd quarter with the football, and put together a drive which stalled a midfield, giving the ball back to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense. Pittsburgh’s offense continued to put together time-consuming drives. They also continued a balanced approach to their play calling. It was this drive where Najee Harris broke the 100 yard mark for the first time this season, and Chase Claypool continued to be a big play machine with JuJu Smith-Schuster out of the game with a shoulder injury.
When it looked like the Steelers would settle for a Chris Boswell field goal, the Broncos were flagged for a personal foul, giving the Steelers a new set of downs. Facing a 3rd and 10, Roethlisberger delivered a strike to Chase Claypool for the touchdown.
Chris Boswell’s extra point was good, making the score 24-6 with 2:41 left in the third quarter.
Desperately needing an answer, the Broncos turned to an up tempo style of play to get their offense going. After converting on 4th and 5, they converted a 4th and 2 to get the ball inside the 10-yard line. Another 4th down play, this time with goal to gain, was a pass completed to Kendall Hinton for the Broncos’ first touchdown of the game. The touchdown made the score 24-13 with 10:15 left in regulation.
The worst thing the Steelers could do is to give the ball back to Denver’s offense, and that is exactly what they did. A three-and-out gave the Broncos the ball with 7:40 after a 62-yard Pressley Harvin punt. It took just a few plays before Bridgewater hit Courtland Sutton for a 39-yard touchdown. Vic Fangio decided to go for the two-point conversion, but the pass intended for Sutton fell incomplete, keeping the score 24-19 with 5:46 left in regulation.
Roethlisberger took the ball into his own hands and moved the ball into Denver territory after completions to Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. However, without Najee Harris the drive stalled and Boswell tacked on another field goal to make the score 27-19 with 2:29 left in the fourth quarter.
With no timeouts remaining, Bridgewater was able to move the ball to midfield before the two-minute warning. Bridgewater continued to carve up the Steelers’ prevent defense, and big completions moved the ball inside the Steelers 10-yard line. After a 3rd down incompletion, with 17 seconds left, the 4th down pass was intercepted by James Pierre, icing the game for the Steelers.
The 27-19 score would hold, and be the Steelers second win of the season. The Steelers, now with a 2-3 record, will host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6 prior to their Week 7 bye week. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they press on throughout the regular season.