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Steelers at Broncos: Complete team win as Denver moves into the playoff conversation

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The Denver Broncos hope to slay another six-game win streak as they host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos moved to 5-6 with their second-straight win as Shelby Harris intercepted Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone to seal the Broncos 24-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Yes, Broncos Country can now start talking playoff scenarios in Denver.

First Quarter

The Denver Broncos lost the opening coin toss (like they do seemingly every week) and the Pittsburgh Steelers defer to the second half. It was Case Keenum and the Broncos offense to start the game.

Phillip Lindsay got the ball the first two times to net five yards with both being inside runs. On third and five from the shotgun, Keenum was hit as he threw and the ball was nearly intercepted by Joe Haden for an easy three and out for the Steelers.

The Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger completed a passes to Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster on their opening drive, while mixing in passes to running backs and tight ends to quickly get down into scoring range on their opening drive. The Broncos defense stiffened at the 30-yard line to force a field goal attempt ending the 10-play drive by the Steelers.

Justin Simmons then made a huge play to block the field goal to keep the score all tied up at zero. It was the Broncos’ fourth blocked kick of the year, which is twice as many as any other team in the NFL this season.

With great field position, Keenum wasted no time finding first Emmanuel Sanders out across midfield then a deep wheel route to Jeff Heuerman to set Denver up inside the red zone at the Steelers 18-yard line.

From there, the drive stalled a bit. On third and eight, Keenum from the shotgun found Royce Freeman on a short screen pass who broke it free for a seven-yard gain to come up just short of the first down marker. A block in the back penalty wipe out the play, which forced a third and 18 retry.

Keenum handed off to Freeman from there who ran it for three yards and a Brandon McManus field goal attempt.

Broncos 3, Steelers 0.

The Steelers got rolling again on their next drive, moving out near midfield pretty quickly. When they needed eight yards, they were getting nine. The quarter ended with the Steelers just outside of the red zone facing a third down and short.

Second Quarter

To start the second quarter, the Steelers were faced with a third and short at the Broncos 24-yard line. In a crazy lucky play for the Broncos, a wide open tight end caught the ball and ran for the touchdown. He was hit hard at the one-yard line by Will Parks who forced a fumble that tumbled out of bounds into the end zone for a touchdown and Denver’s ball.

The Broncos looked like they would do absolutely nothing with their newfound fortune, but Keenum escaped pressure on third and long to hit Courtland Sutton for a big 14-yard first down to get their drive going.

A quick out to Sanders went for 11-yards on the next play for another first down. A screen to Matt LaCosse got the Broncos across midfield with a seven-yard catch and run. A terrible offensive pass interference call on the Broncos killed what was a nice drive for Denver, but they were able to flip field position.

Not that field position mattered for the Steelers as they continued to have their way with the Broncos defense when it comes to yards in this game. After running nearly 20 plays on the Broncos side of the field, the Steelers finally scored some points with a 41-yard field goal.

Broncos 3, Steelers, 3.

The Broncos next drive got a shot in the arm out of the gates with a 32-yard scamper by Phillip Lindsay right into Steelers territory. From there, the Broncos grinded out a first down in ten yards, then Keenum hit LaCosse down the field for a 17-yard gain to the Steelers 10-yard line.

LaCosse followed that up with a wide open catch and run for the 10-yard touchdown from Case Keenum to put the Broncos ahead once again.

Broncos 10, Steelers 3.

On the Steelers next drive, they got moving again as they have done on every drive in the first half. All four of the Steelers possessions ended up in Broncos territory and their last one was no different.

With over a minute to go, Steelers hit a strike to Switzer to the Broncos 31-yard line. Roethlisberger completed his 15th straight pass, but his next one was incomplete. A strike to Switzer down the field was complete to setup a first and goal at the seven-yard line.

After an underneath throw to Switzer to the two-yard line, Roethlisberger misfired to Vance McDonald in the end zone who was open. On third and two, after the Broncos called a timeout, Roethlisberger shoved a pass to Smith-Schuster that was blown up for no gain.

The Steelers would call a timeout and run a fake field goal for a wide open touchdown that looked much too easy for the situation.

Broncos 10, Steelers 10.

Third Quarter

The Steelers will get the ball first to start the second half with all of the momentum now in their favor.

However, the Broncos defense had had enough of running up and down the field and put an end to the Steelers offensive juggernaut forcing a quick punt to open up the second half. Keenum hit LaCosse at the sidelines who looked to catch it inbounds, but Vance Joseph continued his “they should get it right” mentality to challenging calls.

Phillip Lindsay took the next snap for 14-yards and a first down anyway, then after a hard sack on Keenum it was Lindsay who gained another 12-yards to setup a third and four from their own 47-yard line.

Keenum, from an empty set, tried to his Jeff Heuerman at the sticks and the pass was broken up to bring out the punt team. Colby Wadman made a fantastic punt down to the three-yard line to pin the Steelers offense deep to start their next drive.

Smith-Schuster put a dagger into the hearts of Broncos Country on the next play beating Bradley Roby deep for a 97-yard touchdown.

Steelers 17, Broncos 10.

The Broncos offense answers like they always do: with a three and out.

Fortunately, the Broncos defense has had enough of that shit with Chris Harris Jr. picking off a Ben Roethlisberger pass at midfield and returning it into Steelers territory.

Keenum went for the big play connecting with Sanders for 38-yards down the sideline to setup a first and goal at the Steelers five-yard line. One play later Keenum found Sanders for the touchdown to bring the game back into contention.

Broncos 17, Steelers 17.

Tramaine Brock was injured on the next series with Issac Yiadom coming in. On his first play, Yiadom was juked for what could have been a huge gain, but the pass was incomplete. Yiadom was picked on a second time in a row with him covering Antonio Brown, but the ball was incomplete again in tight coverage to force a punt.

Yet another three and out by the Broncos offense set the Steelers up with good field position despite muffing the punt. The mad scrambled for the loose ball ended up with Pittsburgh.

After moving the ball to the Broncos 40-yard line, Shaquil Barrett was able to get to Roethlisberger for the sack to push the Steelers back to the 46-yard line.

James Connor broke loose on a huge screen play, but fumbled it where Stewart recovered the ball to end the third quarter with the Broncos in possession of the ball.

Fourth Quarter

After the turnover, the Broncos started their next drive from their own 21-yard line.

On the Broncos ensuing drive, the quicky got out to the 40 yard line where they were faced with a third and five. Keenum hit DaeSean Hamilton for a 13-yard reception and a first down across midfield.

Two plays later, Lindsay found a hold inside and broke free for another big chunk of yards for 18-yards to the Steelers 29-yard line.

After an illegal shift penalty, a great play-call by the Broncos led to a wide open Heuerman in the middle of the field for a 16-yard gain and a first down. A quick slant to Sanders gained another first down and goal at the Steelers five-yard line.

A quick out to Sanders setup a second and goal from the two yard line. Lindsay would punch it in from there to put the Broncos back out in front.

Broncos 24, Steelers 17.

On the Steelers next possession, Roethlisberger threw his way to the Broncos 48-yard line. Then on third and six, the pass went to no one as there appeared to be some sort of miscommunication between quarterback and wide receiver to force a punt.

Needing a big offensive drive to ice the game, the Broncos went three and out. With a complete lack of ball movement, Colby Wadman’s punt could only get the Steelers starting field position at their own 45-yard line.

With the game on the defenses shoulders they got out to a good start on that drive with a sack by Von Miller on the very first play.

However, Bradley Roby gave up a first down reception on the next play. A few plays later, the Steelers were right back in the Broncos red zone where it seems he has spent a lot of time in this game.

From the 20-yard line, Roethlisberger hit Brown for a quick five-yard gain. Somehow he got free for the slowest 17-yard run in NFL history to setup a first and goal at the two-minute warning.

After an incompletion and a stuffed run, Shelby Harris comes up with the game-sealing interception for the Broncos defense.

Inactives

The Broncos will be without safeties Dymonte Thomas and Shamarko Thomas, linebackers Alexander Johnson and Brandon Marshall, defensive end DeMarcus Walker, and guards Sam Jones and Nico Falah.

While the Steelers will be without quarterback Mason Rudolph, wide receiver Justin Hunter, safety Marcus Allen, linebacker Matthew Thomas, defensive end Stephon Tuitt, and tackles Zach Banner and Marcus Gilbert.

Bradley Roby is going to be active for this game.

Game Preview

The Denver Broncos (4-6) have faced a lot of playoff caliber teams through their first 10 games and until last week had lost them all in mostly close affairs.

The Chiefs are 9-2, the Rams are 10-1, the Texans are 7-3 and the Chargers are 7-3. The Broncos beat the Chargers and lost the other four games. Now the 7-2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers are coming to town riding a six-game win streak. A win against them would insert the Broncos right back into the playoff mix in the AFC.

The final five games for the Broncos come against teams with records of 5-5, 2-8, 3-6-1, 2-8 and 7-3. So after facing an absolute gauntlet of playoff teams, Denver could in position for a late season run. Now that’s something to get excited about. If they get past the Steelers, that is.

Here is how to watch.

TV Schedule

When: Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 2:25 p.m. Mile High time

Where: Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.

Channel: CBS / Channel 20

Announcers: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tom Romo (analyst), and Travy Wolfson (sideline reporting)

Radio: KOA - 850 AM | 94.1 FM & The Fox - 103.5 FM | Spanish Radio KNVR 1150 AM

Online Streaming

NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Game Pass

FuboTV

Denver Broncos injury report

Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Brandon Marshall ILB Knee DNP DNP DNP OUT
Bradley Roby CB Concussion DNP LIMITED FULL QUESTIONABLE
Dymonte Thomas S Ankle DNP DNP LIMITED OUT
DaeSean Hamilton WR Knee LIMITED FULL FULL
Domata Peko Sr. NT NIR NOT LISTED DNP FULL
Shelby Harris NT NIR NOT LISTED NOT LISTED DNP

Pittsburgh Steelers injury report

Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Player Pos. Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Game Status
Matt Feiler G Pectoral DNP LIMITED LIMITED QUESTIONABLE
Marcus Gilbert T Knee DNP DNP DNP OUT
Joe Haden CB NIR DNP FULL FULL
Maurkice Pouncey C NIR DNP FULL FULL
Ben Roethlisberger QB NIR DNP FULL FULL
Stephon Tuitt DE Elbow DNP DNP DNP OUT
Anthony Chickillo LB Ankle FULL FULL FULL
Ramon Foster OL NIR NOT LISTED DNP FULL

Odds

The Broncos have been a tough out for every playoff caliber team they have faced this season. However, until last week they were on the losing end of those close games. Oddsmakers have held steady on a 3-point line in favor of Pittsburgh in this game. Do you like those odds?

Matchup History

The Broncos have always found a way to play the Steelers tough even before the franchise lifted itself out of the 1960s and early 70s earning a 14-8-1 all-time regular season record and a 5-2 record in the playoffs. Not sure why, but historically the Broncos have gotten up to play regardless of record when the Steelers are on the schedule.

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Social Media Information

MHR Facebook Page: Mile High Report: A Denver Broncos Blog

MHR Twitter: Follow @MileHighReport

MHR Instagram: Follow @MileHighReport

Denver Broncos Fan Group: Denver Broncos Football

Broncos Regular Season Schedule 2018

Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) TV
Wk Date Opponent Time (MT) TV
1 Sep 9 vs Seattle Seahawks W 27-24 FOX
2 Sep 16 vs Oakland Raiders W 20-19 CBS
3 Sep 23 at Baltimore Ravens L 27-14 CBS
4 Oct 1 vs Kansas City Chiefs (MNF) L 27-23 ESPN
5 Oct. 7 at New York Jets L 34-16 CBS
6 Oct 14 vs Los Angeles Rams L 23-20 FOX
7 Oct 18 at Arizona Cardinals (TNF) W 45-10 FOX
8 Oct 28 at Kansas City Chiefs L 30-23 CBS
9 Nov 4 vs Houston Texans L 19-17 CBS
10 Nov 11 BYE
11 Nov 18 at Los Angeles Chargers W 23-22 CBS
12 Nov 25 vs Pittsburgh Steelers W 24-17 CBS
13 Dec 2 at Cincinnati Bengals W 24-10 CBS
14 Dec 9 at San Francisco 49ers L 20-14 CBS
15 Dec 15 vs Cleveland Browns L 17-16 NFLN
16 Dec 24 at Oakland Raiders (MNF) L 27-14 ESPN
17 Dec 30 vs Los Angeles Chargers 2:25 PM CBS