In a game of ups and downs, the Steelers ultimately lost to the Denver Broncos by a score of 24-17. The game was well-fought by both teams, but the Steelers’ numerous turnovers is what cost them the game. Ben Roethlisberger came out strong and continued to play well, save for the two interceptions that cemented the loss. He recorded 462 yards and at one point had 15 straight completed passes, one off from his personal record of 16 straight. He started the game with seven completions to seven different receivers and ended with completions to eight.
Even though Ben came out and started strong, the Steelers were unable to put up the necessary points. Chris Boswell’s first field goal attempt was blocked. Then penalties and a strong Broncos defense held them to another field goal attempt. Denver took the lead toward the end of the half to go up 10-3. On the Steelers’ last drive of the half, Ben and the Steelers offense were unable to convert their redzone play into a touchdown, so they looked to settle for a field goal, even though they were on the two-yard line. Boswell came out and performed a perfect fake field goal pass to Alejandro Villanueva, the tackle, for the touchdown. Going into the half, the score was even at 10 all, but it seemed the Steelers held the momentum.
After a punt by both teams to start the second half, the Steelers had another big play that kept the momentum in their favor. This play, Ben’s only touchdown pass, was a 97-yard touchdown pass to Juju Smith-Schuster. That pass was the second time Ben connected with Juju for such yardage. This touchdown came off Ben nearly getting sacked in his own endzone, which would’ve been a safety for the Broncos. This put the Steelers up 17-10 over the Broncos.
However, on the next possession, Ben threw an interception, which the Broncos turned into a touchdown of their own, again switching the momentum, and again tying the game. Things went downhill from there. On the Steelers next possession, they had the chance to answer and were close to doing so when James Conner fumbled, another costly turnover that gave the Broncos the chance to score, which they did. And for the first time since the first quarter, the Broncos were up on the Steelers, 24-17.
Apparently for the Steelers, the two costly turnovers weren’t enough for them. With about a minute to go in the game, and the Steelers on the Denver two-yard line, Ben threw another interception. This one took away any chance the Steelers had of winning, or at least tying the game. Case Keenum and the Denver offense knelt the quarter away and the game ended, snapping the Steelers’ six-game winning streak. The Steelers, formerly sitting at a second seed position for the playoffs, now sit at a fourth seed. Granted, there is still a lot of football to be played, but that game puts the Steelers in a worse position than they wanted, given they have three tough games coming up, starting with the Los Angeles Chargers next week. The Patriots and the Saints are also in the way of the Steelers and the playoffs. Mistakes like the ones made this week cannot continue if they hope to win the division and secure a decent seed.