The Pittsburgh Steelers have overcome a lot of adversity to get to the AFC Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. The Steelers dealt with injuries, a hostile environment in Cincinnati, and now even more injuries as they headed into Denver to face the Broncos.
The Pittsburgh Steelers never stood a chance when it came to the media. Nobody on NFL Network or pregame shows, except for former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, picked the team to win in Colorado. However, the Steelers proved all the naysayers wrong for a good portion of the game. However in the end it wasn’t enough to secure a spot in the AFC Championship Game.
The media got what they wanted: a rematch of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. However, the Steelers almost put an end to the media’s hopes and dreams when they took the lead away from the Broncos at the end of the first quarter. Taking the lead away was Fitzgerald Toussaint who scored his first ever NFL touchdown on a one yard touchdown run. Afterwards, he paid homage to his injured teammate, Antonio Brown who is battling a concussion injury, by performing his usual touchdown dance in the end zone.
Before Toussaint’s touchdown, the Broncos had two scores. Both were from kicker Brandon McManus, as he converted on two field goals from 28 and 41-yards. In the second quarter, the field goals continued as both McManus had a 51-yard field goal and Chris Boswell had a 43-yard field goal to make the halftime score 13-9. The third quarter also had a field goal from Boswell (28-yards) and one from McManus (41-yards).
The fourth quarter was where things got interesting. The Broncos got their touchdown after Fitzgerald Toussaint fumbled the ball deep in Broncos territory. Manning and his offense marched down the field and scored on a C.J. Anderson one yard touchdown run against a defense that had previously just held them to field goals and punts. The Broncos elected to go for the two-point conversion and converted it successfully with Demaryius Thomas being the recipient of the conversion. The Broncos also added another field goal from Brandon McManus, this one from 45-yards.
The Steelers responded by driving down the field quickly and converting a 47-yard field goal. However, the Steelers failed their onside kick and the Broncos recovered, which quickly ended the game with a final score of 23-16. That sends the Broncos to the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots. The Steelers will now travel back to Pittsburgh and close out their season with a final team meeting.
The Steelers, when it came to statistics, didn’t have a horrible game. Roethlisberger had a clean night when it came to passing. Roethlisberger closed out his season against the Broncos with 24/37 completed passes for 339 yards for no touchdowns or interceptions. Martavis Bryant led the receivers with nine catches for 154 yards. Also stepping up for the Steelers was rookie Sammie Coats, as he had two catches for 61 yards.
As for the defense, William Gay led the defense with seven tackles and one assist while Will Allen was behind him with six tackles. Having a big game was James Harrison as he, multiple times, showed his dominance against Anderson and Ronnie Hillman. Harrison had six tackles and one assist and had the team’s only sack on Manning.
The Steelers have a lot to look forward to next season. A year end “wrapping up the Steelers season” piece will come tomorrow from Pittsburgh Sports Castle.
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