Home Football NFL Divisional Round recap (Part Four): Steelers/Broncos

NFL Divisional Round recap (Part Four): Steelers/Broncos


The final game of Wild Card weekend featured two veteran quarterbacks who not only were familiar with the playoff atmosphere, but also have had a slew of injuries which has hindered them both over the course of the season: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

And as if the pressure of playing through pain wasn’t enough for “Big Ben”, he was without his top two offensive stars: wide receiver Antonio Brown, who suffered a brutal concussion last week against the Bengals, and running back DeAngelo Williams.

Manning had his weapons around him, both on the offensive side, and more importantly, the defensive side, which is a big part of the reason the Broncos finished 12-4 in the 2015 season. But in his first start since November, Manning still had some rust to brush off.

For 43 minutes and 22 seconds, the Steelers led the game. 43 minutes. Out of a 60 minute game. All indications would assume that they would be the team that emerged as the victors in the end. However, that turned out not to be the case. Because when it came down to crunch time late in the fourth quarter, Manning, running back C.J. Anderson, and the rest of the Broncos kicked it into high gear, and drove right down the field to take the lead and never give it up.

Originally down 6-0, the Steelers scored a touchdown to take a 7-6 lead, and eventually headed into halftime up 10-9 over the Broncos.

Perhaps the biggest play of the game occurred when, down 13-12, linebacker Brandon Roby popped the ball out of the hands of running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, followed by a DeMarcus Ware recovery of said fumble. The whole atmosphere in Denver changed, and the momentum landed into the hands of the Broncos. With three minutes left in the game, Anderson scored a touchdown to make it 20-13 (they completed a two-point conversion). Pittsburgh could only muster up one field goal for the remainder of the game.

And followed by a Denver field goal, they won 23-16, setting the stage for a battle we’ve seen countless times before, yet still one of the best rivalries in all of sports: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. For a chance to go to the Super Bowl.

It has the making of another classic game.



(Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

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