Big second half lifts Steelers to MNF victory
DENVER — Not much has come easy for the Steelers during their tour as reigning Super Bowl champions.
They nonetheless arrived at the midway point of the season with a five-game winning streak in tow.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns and the Steelers' defense scored more TDs than it gave up Monday night in front of an announced crowd of 76,108 at Invesco Field.
As a result, the Steelers won a regular-season game in Denver for the first time since 1990. Their resounding 28-10 victory also set up a showdown with the Bengals on Sunday at Heinz Field with sole possession of first place in the AFC North on the line.
The Steelers (6-2) got to this point in large part because the defense scored the first touchdown of the game and shut down the Broncos in the second half when the outcome still hung in the balance.
Free safety Tyrone Carter returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to get the Steelers on the scoreboard. Strong safety Troy Polamalu helped put the Broncos (6-2) away by intercepting Kyle Orton deep in Steelers' territory in the fourth quarter.
That set up Roethlisberger's 25-yard touchdown pass to rookie wideout Mike Wallace on a third-and-10 play with just over seven minutes left in the game. It allowed the Steelers to open up an 11-point lead.
That touchdown pass proved to be one of the biggest plays in the second half. The Steelers also got several big runs by Rashard Mendenhall, who rushed for 130 of his game-high 155 yards after halftime.
"I think everybody helped contribute, it wasn't just one guy" said Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, who caught a pair of touchdown passes. "Right now, we're just playing with a lot of confidence."
The Broncos outgained the Steelers by more than 100 yards in the first half. Denver, however, trailed at halftime because of Carter's big play.
Down by four points at the start of the third quarter, the Broncos wasted little time in stopping a promising Steelers drive — and answering Carter's big defensive play.
Kenny Peterson forced a fumble when he sacked Roethlisberger from the blind side. Robert Ayers scooped up the loose ball and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.
The Broncos didn't hold the lead for long, as Roethlisberger needed a little more than two minutes to drive the Steelers 80 yards for a touchdown.
The Steelers were driving for another score near the end of the quarter, but Andre Goodman intercepted Roethlisberger in the end zone.
It was Roethlisberger's only incompletion in the third quarter.
The Broncos never seriously threatened following the turnover because of the stifling Steelers' defense, which allowed only one first down in the fourth quarter.
"It's a good win for us, but I'm not satisfied," said Roethlisberger, who threw a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. "I think, offensively, we've got a long way to go. We have to keep searching for the ceiling."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Stakes high as ex-Saints receiver Moore faces his former team
- Steelers notebook: Injury to RT Gilbert opens door for Adams to start
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- Steelers cornerback Taylor ready to swap earpiece for helmet
- Steelers’ lookahead: New Orleans Saints
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
- Polamalu, Taylor among Steelers starters returning for Sunday’s game vs. Saints
- Play of nose tackles could have impact on Steelers’ stretch run
- Steelers’ Wheaton embraces expanding role
- Steelers notebook: Linebackers on the spot against Saints offense