In a game where the Denver Broncos defense struggled to stop Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers at any point in the game, they came up with the big plays where it mattered most. In fact, most of our game balls head to the very players on defense that made those plays that resulted in a 24-17 home win over a tough playoff contender.
Despite some sloppy play at times, the team rallied when it needed to in order to regain the advantage in the second half and hold onto victory in the games waning moments. It was a complete team win as those plays were made on offense, defense, and even special teams.
Let’s start with the man of the hour.
Shelby Harris didn’t get all the flash in this game, but let me tell you the No Bull truth: he was disruptive in the middle when he was on the field consistently. So much so that when he actually dropped back in pass coverage late in the game, Roethlisburger didn’t even comprehend that that was a possibility. His pick sealed the win and he was a big part of this Broncos team shutting down one of the AFC’s best. - Sadaraine
Phillip Lindsay is the spark for this team in every way he needs to be - consistently. While every game different players have stepped up with a big play - and in the last two weeks, momentum-changing plays - Lindsay has been doing this every single game. And while he was not necessarily the star of the win over the Steelers (thank you Will Parks, Bradley Roby, Chris Harris Jr. and Shelby Harris!), he was absolutely the rock that the entire team could count on to get big yardage and spark the offense again and again. His career-high 110 yards on 14 carries were just a culmination of weeks of great running in which his average per carry is kicking the a** out of the league. “Every game, [Lindsay] shows up. He’s consistent, he’s smart, he’s tough and he makes big plays for us,” Vance Joseph said. He’s absolutely right. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Emmanuel Sanders had a great day against his former team. After Chris Harris intercepted Ben Roethlisberger, it took just two plays for the Broncos to punch it into the end zone. Both of those plays went to Sanders. First, a 38-yard pass down the right side to the 5 yard line, followed by a Case Keenum roll to the right, where he found Sanders flashing open. It was one of the biggest moments of the game. Sanders played a pivotal roll during the touchdown drive that started the 4th quarter, as well. He finished the game with 7 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown. Big day for E. - Adam Malnati
Chris Harris Jr.
Last time Denver played the Steelers in the regular season, Antonio Brown went off for 16 catches, 189 yards, and 2 TDs. Chris Harris vowed before yesterday’s game that “it wasn’t going to be like that” this time around, and he made good on his promise.
Harris played an exceptional game in coverage, whether on Brown or any of the other Steelers receivers, and was once again sound in tackling as the Steelers strategy was to throw it short and make Denver tackle on the edge.
To top it all off, Harris came up with a huge interception that, much like Von Miller’s last week, changed the tide of the game.
Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time moments, and Chris Harris did just that. - Jeff Essary
The big play was something that frustrated the Steelers over and over on Sunday. The first of which came early when Justin Simmons blocked a field goal on their opening drive. It was the first act of many that resulted in a Broncos win. - Tim Lynch
Made plays when it was really needed. - Casey Barrett
Broncos’ big defensive plays:— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 26, 2018
Two forced fumbles (one was Will Parks’ great play)
One fumble recovery
The Broncos safety made the play of the game. On a play that 99 out of 100 times goes for a touchdown, Parks not only prevents Xavier Grimble from scoring, he forced a turnover. If the Steelers score on that play, it completely changes the game and puts Denver in a 10-0 hole. It’s the latest example of why you never give up on a play. Parks also finished with six tackles. - Ian St. Clair
The Broncos Frankenline made up of misplaced big men blocking for a diminutive back and a not-so-pocket-aware quarterback deserve the game ball from me. One sack and one holding penalty is nothing to sneeze at and the fact that these guys have somehow been better than the group that won the jobs out of camp gets me excited to watch the big boys tear up the grass for the rest of the season. - Kevin Gillikin
We started this season off by tracking Keenum’s interception streak. That’s a less than ideal place for a team’s big FA acquisition QB to be in. Now that we’re tracking his interception-less streak, Broncos Country is a happier place. Vs the Steelers, Keenum had one of his better games as a Bronco. He made a couple of throws that bailed the team out of tough spots, and did so last week as well. That wasn’t happening earlier in the season, and certainly not consistently. Keenum’s not lighting the league on fire by any means, but this game manager version of him was good enough to beat two teams with 14-4-1 combined records. With easier competition on the horizon, Keenum’s needle is pointing up. - Taylor Kothe