That lead was short lived as on a second down and short play, quarterback Peyton Manning hit wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in the flat on a screen and the speedster took the pass 71-yards to pay dirt. With that score, Manning completed the 400th touchdown pass of his Hall of Fame career.
After the Manning to Thomas touchdown, the Steelers embarked on their second long drive of the half, before pulling ahead 19-14 early in the fourth quarter. A Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace three-yard touchdown pass (two-point attempt failed) capped off the drive 14-play 80-yard drive, which took over six minutes off the clock.
Manning brought the Broncos back down the field in no-huddle mode to regain the lead on a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Tamme. After the touchdown, the Broncos connected on their two-point conversion to drive the score to 22-19 with 9:23 remaining.
After a three-and-out, Manning and the Broncos got the ball back and again drove down the field. This time with a 55-yard drive that was capped by a Matt Prater 26-yard field goal, increasing the lead to 25-19 with two minutes remaining. With the Steelers in hurry-up mode, the Broncos added a dagger to the end when cornerback Tracy Porter picked off Roethlisberger and returned in 49-yards for a touchdown. After missing the two point conversion the score was set at 31-19.
The game opened with a scoreless opening quarter before the Steelers jumped on top with a Suisham 21-yard field goal early in the second stanza. The score capped a 10-play drive that was set up by a punt return by Antonio Brown.
With the score 3-0, Manning drove the Broncos 80-yards on a 12-play drive that was capped off by a Knowshon Moreno seven-yard scamper. On the drive, Manning turned to his vintage no-huddle philosophy and attacked the middle of the field against the Steelers.
The Steelers came back with a solid drive of their own to answer the Broncos when Roethlisberger hit tight end Heath Miller with a four-yard touchdown to cap a 14-play 79-yard drive. Like the previous Broncos drive, this one was vintage Roethlisberger, making plays when things break down.
The Steelers got very little out of the running game, with only 75 yards on the ground. However, back up Jonathan Dwyer looked like a player deserving more snaps accounting for 43 yards on only nine carries. Roethlisberger was solid, going 22-of-40 for 245-yards, two touchdowns and one interception, behind a patchwork offensive line.
One of the two big stories from this game will be the injuries along the offensive line, where starters Marcus Gilbert (knee) and Ramon Foster (eye) leaving the game in the first half. Neither player returned to action and forced the Steelers to play the entire second half with only five offensive linemen.
The second story will be the ineffectiveness of the defense against the no-huddle, especially on third down. This was especially noticeable in the second half, where although rested, Manning carved the secondary for a variety of big conversions.
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