Steelers Improve to 2-0 with 26-21 Victory over Denver in 2020 Home Opener

Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers

By: Jared Villani @JVillain10

The Pittsburgh Steelers welcomed the Denver Broncos to Heinz Field for their first game at home and to the surprise of no one the Steelers defense picked up right where it left off this past Monday night. Pittsburgh gave up a couple big runs to Denver running back Melvin Gordon, but Bud Dupree showcased his speed with a sack and forced fumble on Broncos quarterback Drew Lock. Mike Hilton recovered the fumble and Lock exited the field after the Dupree sack.

Ben Roethlisberger looked like he never lost a step nor had any form of injury to his throwing arm as he marched the Steelers offense downfield with ease hitting four different receivers. Ultimately it was James Conner who capped off this drive with a two-yard touchdown run after a rough outing on Monday Night Football. Steelers take a 7 to 0 lead after Conner’s score.

The Broncos offense struggled terribly without Drew Lock and could not gain any kind of momentum against Pittsburgh’s overwhelming defensive pressure. Denver’s run game became stagnant early aside from a 19-yard reception from backup quarterback Jeff Driskel to rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy, but they would at least get on the scoreboard after a 49-yard field goal from Brandon McManus.

Roethlisberger must have taken exception to the Broncos getting themselves on the board as he found rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool took a deep pass all the way to the house for an 84-yard touchdown. All it took was one play for the Steelers to increase their lead 14 to 7 over Denver.

The defense was determined to be on the field as little as possible in this contest with Joe Haden showcasing his ball-hawking skills and grabbing an interception intended for Courtland Sutton just one play into Denver’s drive. Haden’s play in turn produced more points for the offense with great field position for Chris Boswell to hit successfully from 21 yards out. The Steelers now take a 17 to 3 lead over Denver as the first half came to a close.

The second half didn’t go quite the way Big Ben and the Steelers offense had imagined they would at halftime, but Denver safety Justin Simmons made a great play of his own with a nice interception on a pass intended for JuJu Smith-Schuster. After the Steelers turnover, Brandon McManus struck again with a 28-yard field goal to chip away at the Steelers lead. Pittsburgh still leading 17 to 6.

After lackluster offense from the Steelers, Denver took advantage and put together an efficient drive courtesy of backup quarterback Jeff Driskel finding tight end Noah Fant for the Broncos’ first touchdown of the day on a 20-yard connection. The Steelers hang on to a 17 to 14 lead after a successful two-point conversion from Denver.

Big Ben continued to prove that his elbow issue is a thing of the past with short passes to both Smith-Schuster and tight end Eric Ebron before finding the electrifying Diontae Johnson for a big 28-yard touchdown. It appears Roethlisberger is making up for lost time after missing most of Johnson’s rookie campaign, giving the Steelers a 24 to 14 lead.

The Steelers defense continued to absolutely torment Driskel and made a big play on 4th down after Denver’s punt attempt ended in a costly safety for the Broncos furthering adding to Pittsburgh’s lead. Derek Watt‘s play on special teams gave the Steelers a 26 to 14 lead.

Benny Snell Jr. didn’t get his name called a whole against Denver after a dominant performance against the New York Giants, but one of his three carries resulted in a costly fumble for Pittsburgh. Denver’s field position gave Driskel another opportunity to add to their point total with a nicely placed 16-yard toss to Melvin Gordon giving the Steelers a small lead of 26 to 21.

Pittsburgh was able to hang on to their five-point lead and some nice running from James Conner sealed the deal for the Steelers with a 26 to 21 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Pittsburgh Stat Leaders for Week 2

Ben Roethlisberger 29 of 41 311 Yards Two Touchdowns One Interception

James Conner 16 Carries 106 Yards One Touchdown

Diontae Johnson 8 Receptions 92 Yards

Mike Hilton 8 Tackles One Sack

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