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Rewarding Rematch

Posted Nov 5, 2006

Turnovers -- including two Darrent Williams fumble recoveries and two Champ Bailey picks -- and three Javon Walker touchdowns lead to a 31-20 win over the Steelers Sunday afternoon.

Early Turnovers, Walker Lead Broncos to Victory

Broncos celebrate Rod Smith's first-quarter touchdown grab against the Steelers. PHOTO: JAMIE SCHWABEROW / RICH CLARKSON AND ASSOCIATES
Broncos TVSee what wide receiver Javon Walker had to say after he gained 206 yards from scrimmage and scored three times Sunday at Pittsburgh.

11/6: Broncos-Steelers Postgame
11/5: Postgame: Mike Shanahan
11/5: Postgame: Javon Walker
11/5: Postgame: Jake Plummer
11/3: Blitz or No Blitz?
10/31: Financial Football

AudioListen to postgame audio snippets straight from the locker room in the moments after Denver's 31-20 victory over the Steelers. Click below to listen to streaming audio, or sign up for one of the podcast channels now available to get locker-room interviews and Broncos TV reports straight to your portable device.

11/5: Shanahan | Walker
11/5: Plummer | Bailey
11/5: Smith | Dar. Williams

new_blog_zone.jpgRead the latest from the blogs of Managing Editor Andrew Mason, Ring of Famer Billy Thompson and the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders.

11/5: Quarter-by-Quarter: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
11/5: Pregame Notes
11/5: More Pregame Notes
11/5: Three and Out

Fan voting for the 2007 Pro Bowl is under way, and a legion of Broncos is on the ballot to select the AFC All-Star team. Click here to cast your vote.

PITTSBURGH -- Two Jake Plummer touchdown passes in the first 3:40 shocked the crowd at Heinz Field and proved to be the difference in a 31-20 Broncos victory over the defending Super Bowl champions Sunday.

Well, that, six Pittsburgh turnovers and two more scores by wide receiver Javon Walker.

A 38-yard pass from Plummer to Walker set up a 16-yard scoring toss to Rod Smith less than three minutes into the game.

A Santonio Holmes fumble on the ensuing kickoff was recovered by Darrent Williams and returned to the Pittsburgh 10.

Three plays later, Plummer found Walker on a fade route in the end zone and Denver had its 14-0 lead with just 2:16 of possesion.

The Steelers answered with a 10-play drive highlighted by a 36-yard Cedrick Wilson catch and run to the Denver 5.

But Sam Brandon stripped the ball from Wilson as he fell to the ground and, thanks to another Williams recovery (the first multi-fumble recovery game for the team since 1996), the offense trotted back on the field.

Though the next possesion didn't result in Broncos points, it did set the defense on a track of stopping the Steelers at key times. And the defense stood strong despite injuries to linebacker Ian Gold (hamstring), defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban (groin) and safety Nick Ferguson (concussion).

Otherwise, the Broncos were behind in almost every statistical category after the first 30 minutes of play.

Pittsburgh held the ball for 64 percent of the first half and managed 10 points in the second quarter thanks to skillful scrambling by Ben Roethlisberger.

The quarterback found running back Willie Parker for a 15-yard touchdown with 12:42 remaining in the half after maneuvering his way through, past and around Broncos pass-rushers.

Denver's lone sack of the first half came from Elvis Dumervil on the Steelers first possesion. A Dumervil pressure led to another Steelers turnover on the home team's next drive as Roethlisberger missed Wilson at the shadow of the goal line and instead found Champ Bailey for an interception.

Another stopped offensive series and subsequent Steelers drive ended with a missed field goal by Jeff Reed. Reed, however, nailed a 46-yarder as time expired in the first half to pull the Steelers to within four, 14-10.

But another lightning start paced the Broncos through the second half.

Most fans returned to their seats just in time to see Walker take an end-around from Plummer and dart 72 yards for a touchdown. The second play of the third quarter was the longest run for any NFL receiver since 2000 and gave the Broncos a 21-10 lead.

Then Bailey struck again.

Roethlisberger's second interception of the night began with a bomb downfield and ended with a leaping catch by Bailey, his second of the game.

Pittsburgh responded with a touchdown drive that was keyed by a defensive holding penalty in the red zone. Parker's 3-yard scoring run closed the gap to 21-17.

A wild series of events ensued where the Broncos challenged a Pittsburgh interception to have it overturned and pinned the Steelers deep with a punt.

The defense harassed Roethlisberger in the end zone. A sack by Demetrin Veal forced the Steelers to punt from their own end zone and a personal foul on the return gave the Broncos the ball first-and-10 at the Pittsburgh 17.

The offense took advantage and, in time, Walker had his third touchdown of the afternoon (a fade pass from Plummer).

The Steelers answered with a field goal and the Broncos clung to a 28-20 lead with 8:00 remaining.

But there would be no running out the clock.

On the first play of the next drive Plummer found Walker for a 61-yard gain down the far sideline down to the Steeler 12. The drive resulted in a Jason Elam field goal and a 31-20 lead with 4:48 remaining.

The Steelers did their best to answer and had Ward diving toward the end zone with 2:00 to play. But Ward fumbled as he was crossing the goal line. Curome Cox recovered the fumble, ending the scoring threat.

Cox also had an interception late to seal the game.


Wide receivers Quincy Morgan and Todd Devoe, safety Hamza Abdullah, running back Tatum Bell, fullback Kyle Johnson, linebacker Nate Webster, offensive lineman Chris Kuper and defensive end Kenny Peterson were declared inactive about an hour and 15 minutes prior to kickoff.


DENVER Rod Smith, 16-yard pass from Jake Plummer (Jason Elam kick) 7-0
DENVER Javon Walker, 10-yard pass from Jake Plummer (Jason Elam kick) 14-0
PITTSBURGH Willie Parker, 15-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick)  14-7
PITTSBURGH Jeff Reed, 46-yard field goal 14-10
DENVER Javon Walker, 72-yard run (Jason Elam kick) 21-10
PITTSBURGH Willie Parker, 3-yard run (Jeff Reed kick) 21-17
DENVER Javon Walker, 10-yard pass from Jake Plummer (Jason Elam kick) 28-17
PITTSBURGH Jeff Reed, 29-yard field goal 28-20
DENVER Jason Elam, 32-yard field goal 31-20