Preseason: Pittsburgh (27) at Denver (34)

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  1. Winuvas

    Winuvas OMFL Jets

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    Preseason: Pittsburgh (27) at Denver (34)

    Steelers' Big Plays Not Enough in Broncos W

    by Myles Gelding
    Blogger, Denver Post

    When a team has 421 yards of total offense, 15 first downs, 227 rushing yards and 194 passing yards and scores 34 points, while holding the opposing offense to 166 yards total offense and no offensive points, you'd think blowout, right?

    Not in Denver.

    The Denver Broncos, while dominant in the statistical categories, were barely able to squeak out a 34-27 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Invesco Field at Mile High earlier today. Three crucial Broncos turnovers led to 21 immediate Steeler points, and a special teams lapse led to the Steelers' only other points of the day when returner Stephen Logan ran back a Matt Prater kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.

    "Ridiculous. Glad it's preseason, as that garbage won't be tolerated in the regular season," Coach Winuvas grumbled at his post game press conference.

    The scoring began with a Denver drive that ended in an 8 yard rumble by Correll Buckhalter for a touchdown. The extra point was inexplicably hooked wide left to keep the score at 6-0.

    The second quarter saw two more Denver drives end in touchdowns, one being a run by Knowshon Moreno for a yard, and a 13 yard pass from quarterback Kyle Orton to rookie wideout Demaryius Thomas. The half ended with a 20-0 Broncos lead.

    The Steelers, however, turned on the big play machine and commenced to chewing up their deficit one quick score at a time. An interception in the red zone was taken 98 yards by cornerback Ike Taylor to the house. Steelers linebacker James Farrior then returned a Knowshon Moreno fumble 73 yards for another defensive touchdown.

    Denver responded in the third quarter with a big play of their own. Kyle Orton spotted single coverage on a streak route with rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas and hit him in stride for a 60 yard romp. The ensuing kickoff was taken to the house by Stefan Logan for a 105 yard touchdown to make the score 27-20 to end the third quarter.

    The fourth quarter saw another special teams gaffe by Denver, as Eddie Royal muffed a punt and watched Josh Burnett return it 12 yards for another Steeler score which tied the game at 27.

    However, Kyle Orton and Knowshon Moreno led the Broncos down the field one more time and scored with 3:44 left to take, and hold, the lead down.

    The biggest thing helping the Broncos in victory: a stingy defense which arranged six takeaways, five of which were interceptions of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The final takeaway was a Rashard Mendenhall fumble deep in Broncos territory which killed a Steeler drive.

    The Broncos mustered a fairly balanced attack, with quarterback Kyle Orton completing 14 of 22 passes for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns to go with 1 interceptions. Second year running back Knowshon Moreno carried 22 times for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Jabar Gaffney led all Broncos receivers with 4 receptions for 33 yards, but Demaryius Thomas had the big catches, nabbing 3 balls for 89 yards and the 2 Orton touchdowns.

    The star of the defense was cornerback Andre Goodman, who grabbed 3 interceptions of Roethlisberger. Defensive end Justin Bannan, however, had 5 tackles, with 4 of those tackles for loss.

    For the Steelers, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went 10 of 22 for 120 yards and 5 interceptions. Running back Rashard Mendenhall had 11 carries for 55 yards. Antwaan Randle El had the best day of the Steelers receivers with 3 catches for 28 yards. Free safety Ryan Clark led all Steeler defenders with 7 tackles.

    Rookie quarterback Tim Tebow also made his debut for the Broncos, playing in limited sets during the game. He did not attempt a pass; however, he did run 4 times for 68 yards, including a late first half run that set up a potential field goal before the first half ended.

    "We're just figuring things out here," Coach Winuvas said after the game. "We still have lots of question marks. One thing is for sure, though: Our defense can play."

    The Broncos defense allowed only 166 yards of total offense, with 56 rushing yards to go with 110 passing yards. The Steelers only gained 8 first downs (to the Broncos' 15) and were held in time of possession to 10:04 (compared to the Broncos' 17:56). While not getting but a single sack on Big Ben, the Broncos defense harrassed Roethlisberger all day with a constant pass rush, sending players from everywhere it seemed on every down.

    "We will attack. We will be aggressive. We will take chances. We will succeed on defense," Coach Winuvas guaranteed. "On offense, we have to just take care of the ball better and do a better job of game management. If we do that...."

    Coach Winuvas let those words trail off. If he can take these next three preseason games to get his special teams in order and work on offensive execution, the sky is the limit.

    Keep up with all Broncos coverage on the franchise website:
    www.traditionfootball.com
     

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