1. Fighting for short fields early
On the Steelers' next drive, they used a 37-yard pass to Sammie Coates to move into Denver territory, but they turned the ball over on downs when
After a Denver three-and-out, the Broncos looked to control field position with a punt to pin the Steelers close to the goal line. With a fortuitous strike and outstanding awareness, cornerback
Three plays later, Pittsburgh's Jordan Berry punted from his own end zone and the ball soared out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 31-yard line. Though the offense couldn't get a first down, McManus kicked another field goal to go up 6-0.
What it meant: The Broncos may not have been able to fully capitalize, but these special teams and defensive plays helped the Broncos get two scores when they might have otherwise had none.
2. Defense pushes Pittsburgh out of scoring position in third quarter
After a 41-yard McManus field goal narrowed the Steelers' lead to 13-12, Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh's offense returned to the field with hopes of responding, and when their first play of the drive went for 24 yards, it looked like they had the Broncos defense off-balance. Two plays and a
But their next play proved disastrous. The Broncos' edge-rushing sharks circled Roethlisberger, who was taken down by defensive end
Backed up to the 39-yard line, the Steelers then lost 5 yards on a run by Jordan Todman. Roethlisberger threw incomplete on second down and on third down with 30 yards to go, the Steelers got 10 yards on a pass to Martavis Bryant. By then, the Steelers had changed directions at the start of the fourth quarter, and with the wind In their faces, they opted to bypass a 52-yard field-goal attempt and punt.
What it meant: The Broncos had not only kept the Steelers out of the end zone, but they pushed them out of field-goal range, taking away yet another scoring opportunity.
3. Roby punches the ball out, Ware recovers
Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint took a handoff and found room to run off left tackle. He had a first down, but saw room for more if he could cut back behind wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Roby fought through Heyward-Bey's block, and though he could not get his right arm separated from the block, he punched the ball out from Toussaint with his left arm. The ball bounced directly to OLB
What it meant: Other than ending another Steelers possession in Broncos territory without giving up any points, the play also shifted momentum and allowed the Broncos offense another shot at putting together a complete offensive drive, which it then did.
4. Manning finds
Bennie Fowler for 31 yards on third down
Needing 12 yards to move the chains, quarterback
What it meant: After struggling with drops, the Broncos' receiving corps came up big in the fourth with this drive to put the Broncos on top for the first time since the first quarter.
5. Ware sacks Roethlisberger on fourth down
What it meant: The turnover on downs gave Denver the ball with a short field and allowed the Broncos to take more time off the clock, even if they didn't get a first down. The field goal that followed gave the Broncos a two-possession cushion that the Steelers were not able to surmount, and Denver advanced to the AFC Championship Game.
With the Broncos' win, the following promotions are available:
- Papa John’s is offering the “If the Broncos win, you win!” promotion, which gives fans in Colorado 50 percent off all orders the day after a Broncos win (home or away).
- McDonald's is offering fans in Colorado one-dollar Big Mac sandwiches or one-dollar sausage egg McMuffins on Monday and 30 percent off any jersey in the Broncos team store.