Ben Roethlisberger passed for 253 yards with two touchdowns and rookie Najee Harp ran for 122 yards. The Steelers defeated the Denver Broncos 27-19 to end a losing streak of three games.
The Steelers (3-2), riding the rare balance of a slow opening month, handed the Broncos (3-2), a second consecutive loss.
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Denver was 18 points behind in the third quarter, but rallied behind Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater started the game after spending the week under concussion protocol. Bridgewater completed 24 passes of 38 for 288 yard and two fourth-quarter touchdowns. He was Denver’s leading scorer, with Denver at the Pittsburgh 10. However, his last-minute pass to Courtland Smith in the end zone of the endzone for fourth down was intercepted by James Pierre.
The loss made Denver’s perfect September look more like a mirage. Last month, the Broncos won against New York Giants and Jacksonville. In back-toback weeks of testing in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the Broncos fell short.
Denver’s pass rush failed to produce much against Pittsburgh’s struggling offensive line and with Harris giving the NFL’s worst rushing offense some life — his 100-yard game was the first by a Steelers running back in nearly a year — offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s playbook finally opened up.
Roethlisberger was the beneficiary, despite being the 27th-rated quarterback in the league on Sunday. He also had to deal with questions about his ability to be an effective player after 18 seasons.
He was only sacked once, and completed 15 out of 25 passes. This included a touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson for 50 yards and a score to Chase Claypool for 18 yards. The Steelers had a comfortable lead of 2:41 in the third quarter with a 24-6 advantage.
Bridgewater finally found his rhythm. Kendall Hinton was located for a score of 2-yards. Sutton dived down to grab the rainbow as Sutton crossed the goal line.
Denver had missed several opportunities to turn momentum, so it was just not enough.
The Broncos attempted to intercept a ball three times, but the ball fell to the ground. Javonte, running back for the Broncos, made a quick 49-yard run but was then tackled at Pittsburgh 1. This led to a delay of game penalty, and the Broncos settled for a field goal.
An intentional pass-interference penalty against Kyle Fuller allowed Harris to dive 1-yards and the Steelers won a first-down with a rare “leverage penalty” on a Pittsburgh goal-try. After a turbulent stretch, Roethlisberger and Claypool connected three plays later to give Steelers an 18 point lead.
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Broncos Cornerback Mike Ford (knee), left the game in halftime and didn’t return.
Steelers: JuJu Smith Schuster, wide receiver for the Steelers, was injured in his shoulder during the Second Quarter after he was tackled on a three-yard run following an end-around. … Devin Bush, inside linebacker, was injured in his leg during the third quarter. Harris was suffering from cramping issues and left the game late.
Broncos: The Broncos will begin AFC West play next Wednesday when they face the Las Vegas Raiders. Las Vegas won the series title last year.
Steelers: Next Sunday, host the Russell Wilsonless Seattle Seahawks (2-3). Following surgery last Friday on his right side finger, Seattle’s star quarterback QB will be out at several games. Wilson will be replaced by Geno Smith, which is likely to replace Wilson.
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