The Broncos vs. Steelers game is definitely a ratings score for ESPN already. The Broncos vs. Steelers was the Monday night football game of the week, pitting the 6-1 Denver Broncos against the 5-2 Pittsburgh Steelers. The game was taking place in Denver, but with the cold weather that Pittsburgh was already used to, the only thing that they had going for them was the altitude adjustment. The altitude in Denver kept out one of Pittsburgh’s starters on defense, and early on it seemed like the Steelers players were getting winded from the altitude change. That let Denver drive and score a field goal right out of the gate.
From that point the game turned into a defensive struggle, and as fate would have it, the replacement for Ryan Clark (who was sitting out) intercepted two passes to help Pittsburgh on the night. The first of those interceptions came at the start of the second quarter, as Tyrone Carter picked off a pass by Kyle Orton and took it all the way back for a 48-yard touchdown. The score stayed 7-3 heading into halftime, and it was quite clear that the defenses would control this game. Denver then struck back at the start of the third quarter when they scored their own defensive touchdown on a 54-yard fumble recovery by Robert Ayers. It wasn’t until Pittsburgh’s next possession that they scored the first offensive touchdown of the game.
Though Kyle Orton connected on a few nice passes, the Pittsburgh defense really showed a lot of the holes that the Steelers have right now. They intercepted three of Orton’s passes, and absolutely shut down the rushing attack of the Broncos, limiting them to only 27 yards on the game. Adding in the 215 total passing yards, and the Broncos only were able to accrue 242 yards on the night. Ben Roethlisberger had a much better game on the other side of the ball, putting up a nice night of 21 for 29 passing, 233 total yards and three passing touchdowns. The big difference was that the Steelers had a running game working, with Rashard Mendenhall tearing up the Broncos defense for 155 yards on 22 carries.
Denver was able to hang with the Steelers for a little while, but in the end Pittsburgh just proved to be too good on Monday night. This keeps Pittsburgh in a tie for first place in the AFC North with a key game against Cincinnati next week, and drops Denver one game closer to the streaking San Diego Chargers. Denver fans are going to be having nightmares about last season if Denver doesn’t fix the problems quickly. As for Pittsburgh, they are firing on all cylinders and looking like the defending Super Bowl champions again.
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