NFL

Broncos Play Mistake Free Football In Win Over Steelers

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Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are going to the AFC Championship Game yet again, where they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Denver punched their ticket with a 23-16 victory over the banged up Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Broncos had to play near mistake free football to get the win.

The Steelers lost Sunday’s game every bit as much as the Broncos won it.  Credit Denver for not making any egregious mistakes, but if these two teams played 10 times, you get the feeling that Pittsburgh would come out on top in more than half of those.

Denver caught a huge break with Ben Roethlisberger being visibly injured and Antonio Brown missing the game entirely.  If you’re going to get to a Super Bowl, sometimes you need to “catch breaks.”

Here are some observations from the game.

Broncos

  • Peyton Manning played well enough to win.  He had enough velocity on his passes to move the ball and his numbers would have looked a lot better if the receivers were more sure-handed.
  • C.J. Anderson looked explosive and he could be the reason that the Broncos end up in the Super Bowl.
  • The Broncos game plan defensively was questionable at best.  Wade Phillips is one of the very best coordinators in the game, but the Steelers were open time and time again on crossers over the middle.  With a quarterback that has an injured shoulder like Roethlisberger, you need to force him to throw outside the numbers.
  • The Denver defensive backs must play better next week as there were far too many breakdowns in coverage.

Steelers

  • The Pittsburgh special teams was awful on Sunday, and that’s one of the main reasons why they’re not getting ready for New England next week.  Punter Jordan Berry was bad and cost the team field position, and Markus Wheaton fumbled on a punt return.
  • Fitzgerald Toussaint’s fourth quarter fumble took potential points off the scoreboard for the Steelers and led to the Broncos game-winning touchdown drive.
  • Ben was clearly not himself, but he was very good. Aside from taking the sack on the team’s second-to-last drive, he played a great game against one of the best defenses in football.
  • Pittsburgh is not that far away if they can get a few more pieces on defense and/or if Bud Dupree develops into what many believe he can be.

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.