Darian Stewart Comments on Steelers vs. Broncos Divisional-Round Matchup

Mike NorrisFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2016

Denver Broncos free safety Darian Stewart looks on during a practice at the team's headquarters Wednesday, Dec.16, 2015, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The divisional-round playoff game between the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday promises to be an old-school, physical battle. However, the Broncos may be playing with a chip on their shoulders after an incident stemming from their Week 14 bout with the Steelers.

In the 34-27 home loss, David Bruton Jr. was the victim of a nasty, illegal helmet-to-helmet hit when Pittsburgh center Cody Wallace launched himself at the safety after a play was over.

Denver safety Darian Stewart said he and his teammates have not forgotten the hit, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.

"It's not going to be anything as far as cheap or anything," Stewart said. "We're going to get them between the lines, between the plays, the whistle. So I mean, he's going to be sore after the game. That's how I see it, man. He comes out on a screen, he better not come at [me]. I'm cutting him. That's where I'm at with it."

Stewart is not happy about what happened, even though Wallace received a personal-foul penalty and fine, but he would be wise to keep it between the lines after the unsportsmanlike ending to the team's Wild Card Round win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

However, he is ready to get some revenge on the field, even if it just means on the scoreboard, per Arran Andersen of KMGH-TV:

Bruton, who landed on the injured reserve list after the game because he suffered a fractured fibula two plays before Wallace's hit, was glad to see Wallace pay for his actions, per Legwold.

"I'm glad he got something. I was worried he was going to get away scot-free," Bruton said. "It happens in the game, granted. It's still cheap and unacceptable. ... You can't just be launching, especially when the guy's been down for two seconds already."

If play looks like it might start to get out of hand, it's up to the head coaches to make sure that doesn't happen. Denver's Gary Kubiak is well-aware of that, per Legwold:

We try to use it as teaching moment every week around the league. Every Saturday morning, I show our guys things that have happened around the league -- things that have been really good, real smart football, and things that maybe happen around the league that you can't have. We're always talking about those things.

Penalties here or there, one play here or there, is the difference in playing another week and not playing at all this time of year. Our guys understand that. ... It's going to be a physical game on both sides of the ball. We know that. You're going to get everybody's best.

Sunday's game is unlikely to get out of hand like last weekend's contest, but expect more pushing and shoving than normal. As Stewart said, it's going to be different.