Once more the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has stepped up big and dominated a team. The best part about that is that they don’t even need to have all 11 opening day starters to do so.
Ryan Clark wasn’t playing due to issues stemming from his sickle cell trait that can be potentially life threatening during games at high altitudes, and his replacement, Tyrone Carter, intercepted two passes, taking one back for six points which opened the scoring for the Steelers.
Keyaron Fox started in place of middle linebacker Lawrence Timmons and was tied with 2008 Defensive Player Of The Year James Harrison in tackles to lead the team. Both had seven.
Prior to this game, Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton had thrown only one interception. Take that number, and triple it.
Denver’s third ranked rush defense was also exposed by running back Rashard Mendenhall, who ran 22 times for 155 yards but failed to get into the end zone. Perhaps the best news with Mendenhall is that he didn’t fumble this game.
Defensive end Brett Keisel had the team’s only sacks, coming up with two for a total of six yards lost by Denver.
Ben Roethlisberger had another great night, throwing three touchdowns. He did however turn the ball over twice, including a red zone interception (his first since 2007) and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Robert Ayers.
The Pittsburgh receiving corps had a nice game all around with Mike Wallace and Hines Ward both getting into the end zone, Ward twice, including a short one to put the icing on the cake.
The Pittsburgh defense came up big, but they also disappointed a bit, not being able to stop the quick slant pattern all game long. Brandon Marshall had 11 receptions for 112 yards.
The Steelers continue to add to a streak of five consecutive victories on Monday night and win their fifth straight on the season, while Denver suffered its second straight loss, both coming to an AFC North opponent.
The Steelers finally showed everyone that they can indeed close out games after Carter picked off an Orton pass to seal the victory.
All in all, good game by both teams. Yet, the Pittsburgh defense was just a little too aggressive for the Broncos to handle, even though the Denver defense held the Steelers offense in check for a quarter and a half.
My prediction wasn’t too far off, as I said it was going to end with a 27-20 score in favor of Pittsburgh. Nearly nailed Pittsburgh total points and was just 10 off of Denver's as the scoreboard read 28-10 at the end in favor of the defending champs.