The Broncos have been one of the darlings of the NFL this season after surprising everyone with a 6-0 start. Meanwhile, the Super Bowl champions have been all but ignored. After last night’s game, that will probably change.
The entire nation got to see the Pittsburgh Steelers dominate the AFC West leading Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.
The game was truly a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Broncos completely dominated the Steelers. The Steelers seemed to be struggling on both offense and defense. The Steelers went into the locker room at halftime with a 7-3 lead. But the score was not indicative of what was happening on the field.
The Broncos kept the ball for 19:16 of the first half, and only allowed the Steelers to have the ball for 10:44. That’s almost twice the time of possession.
The Broncos were leading the Steelers in almost every statistical category at the half. Kyle Orton had thrown for 163 yards, while Ben Roethlisberger had only accumulated 49 passing yards while being sacked twice. The Broncos’ defense had held the Steelers running attack to a mere 23 yards on the ground. It was only an interception by Tyrone Carter that was returned for a touchdown that kept the Steelers from being shut out in the 1st half.
I don’t know what the coaches said at halftime, but when the Steelers came out in the second half, they looked like a completely different team.
In the second half, the Steelers dominated the time of possession even worse than the Broncos had done in the first half. The Steelers kept the ball for 22:19 in the second half, while only allowing the Broncos to have the ball for 7:41.
After doing almost nothing in the 1st half, the Steelers offense came alive in the 2nd half. Running back Rashard Mendenhall broke several very nice runs, and ended the game with 155 total rushing yards. He averaged a whopping 7 yards per carry.
But the biggest offensive hero of the game was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. After being ice cold in the 1st half, Big Ben caught fire in the 2nd half. He completed passes to 5 different receivers, and ended the game with 233 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and a 116 passer rating.
Big Ben threw two touchdown passes to Hines Ward, and one to rookie receiver Mike Wallace.
The Steelers defense also got in on the fun. Brett Keisel got two sacks, Tyrone Carter got two interceptions, and Troy Polamalu added an interception of his own as the Steelers defense kept the Broncos from scoring a touchdown.
The Broncos were only able to generate a single field goal against the Steelers defense. Their other 7 points were actually scored by their defense.
Coming into the game, the Broncos’ defense was rated #1 in the NFL. But after seeing the two defenses side-by-side, it is clear that the Broncos’ defense is not in the same league as the Steelers’. The Steelers held the Broncos to 27 rushing yards. For the entire game. How is that for a statement?
Having beaten the undefeated Vikings in their last game, and the media darling Broncos this game, the Steelers have announced to the rest of the NFL that they cannot be counted out this season.
Next week, they have another important statement to make. The Steelers are tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for 1st place in the AFC North. The Bengals have swept their season series with the Baltimore Ravens, and have also beaten the Steelers in their first meeting of the season. But that was then, and this is now. The Bengals are going to find that this is a very different Steelers team from the one that they faced earlier in the year. And next Monday, I believe the Steelers will stand alone at the top of the AFC North.
(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter by clicking the doohickies at the bottom of the right column of this page. Thanks.)