Jeremy Fowler at ESPN.com does a nice job of summing up the game (and looking to the future) while we wait for Ben’s post-game interview to become available:
The sight of Von Miller spinning off Marcus Gilbert and placing his hands on Ben Roethlisberger’s torso signified a Pittsburgh Steelers team out of gas.
The Steelers reached back for a game-winning drive for which they didn’t have the energy. Miller’s sack on fourth down with less than two minutes left all but sealed Denver’s 23-16 AFC divisional playoff win.
No Antonio Brown. No Le’Veon Bell or DeAngelo Williams, neither of whom would have fumbled midway in the fourth quarter to give Denver all the momentum. Two starting offensive linemen had been absent all year. Just too much to overcome.
Yes, Fitz Toussaint did the fumbling, but he’s not to blame for this loss. Too many Steelers were put in tough spots offensively for the franchise to sustain what became a thrilling ride into the playoffs the past two months
The Steelers poured everything they had onto the Paul Brown Stadium turf last week. There was nothing left. This was a fun year, but it was destined to end based on circumstance.
One reason to get excited: Despite Denver’s late score, the defense has come alive in the past month, giving up just three touchdowns in the past three games. High draft picks are validating their status. Last week, it was Ryan Shazier. This week, Jarvis Jones and Stephon Tuitt were excellent. Defensive coordinator Keith Butler called timely blitzes from corner William Gay and safety Will Allen on separate third downs to stall two Broncos drives.
Game ball: Bryant was phenomenal. He accepted the challenge of becoming the No. 1 receiver with Brown absent. He finished with 154 receiving yards on nine catches.
Chasing history: Roethlisberger surpassed Terry Bradshaw’s 3,833 passing yards for the most in franchise playoff history. James Harrison has 8.5 career postseason sacks with Pittsburgh. He’s chasing LaMarr Woodley for the franchise record (11).
You can read more from Mr. Fowler here.
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