PITTSBURGH- Riding high from their week 1 victory at the Meadowlands, the Pittsburgh Steelers returned home to Heinz Field on Sunday to face the 0-1 Denver Broncos.
The Steelers’ defense set the tone on the Broncos’ second possession. Bud Dupree sacked quarterback Drew Lock as he rolled right outside of the pocket, forcing a fumble which was recovered by safety Mike Hilton. Unfortunately for Denver, Lock injured his shoulder on the play and would not return. The Pittsburgh offense capitalized on the turnover, marching 59 yards in 9 plays to take a 7-0 lead.
After Brandon McManus put the Broncos on board with a 49 yard field goal, Roethlisberger hit rookie Chase Claypool on an 84-yard scoring strike down the left sideline. A Joe Haden interception late in the second quarter gave the Steelers a chance for another touchdown before halftime. James Conner was stopped on a 3rd and goal from 2-yard line however, so Pittsburgh had to settle for a field goal. The 21-yard chip shot from Chris Bosworth gave the Steelers a 17-3 Halftime lead.
The Broncos intercepted Big Ben on the Steelers’ first possession of the second half, setting up another McManus field goal to close the gap to 17-6. After the Steelers failed to convert a 4th and 1 from the Denver 35 yard line, The Broncos drove 65 yards in only 6 plays. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskell hit tight end Noah Fant on a 20 yard pass for the score. The pair followed it up with a two-point conversion to pull Denver to within a field goal at 17-14.
The Steelers answered back early in 4th quarter when Roethlisberger connected with Diontae Johnson for a 28-yard touchdown. On the following possession, Broncos’ punter Sam Martin juggled the snap and was tackled in the end zone for a safety. The Steelers led by 12 points and had possession of the ball with just over 10 minutes to play in the game.
Benny Snell fumbled on the next set of downs and the Broncos recovered. A 16-yard pass from Driskell to Melvin Gordon made the score 26-21 with 7:36 remaining on the clock. With the Broncos driving again with under 2 minutes to play, it was the Steelers’ defense that stepped up to seal the win for Pittsburgh. Safety Terrell Edmunds sacked Driskell on a 4th and 2 from Steelers’ 15 yard line.
With the victory, Mike Tomlin and company improve to 2-0 and remain tied with Baltimore Ravens atop the AFC North. The Steelers are home again in week three when they play host to the winless Houston Texans.