Steelers Postgame Commentary: Sept. 20 vs Broncos
By COMON Network Team
Final Score – Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) 26 def. Denver Broncos (0-2) 21
At times it wasn’t pretty, but the Steelers came away with a 26-21 victory to open the home portion of the schedule to start 2-0 for the first time since 2017.
Pittsburgh started the scoring with James Conner finding pay dirt for the first time this year with a two-yard rush score with 4:23 to play in the first quarter. Early in the second, Brandon McManus hit from 49 to make it 7-3. Later in the quarter, Ben Roethlisberger connected with rookie Chase Claypool for an 84-yard catch and run for six before Chris Boswell’s PAT made it 14-3 Steelers. Before the horn, Boswell made a 21-yard field goal and the Steelers took a 17-3 lead to the break.
McManus hit from 28 with 8:00 left in the third before Noah Fant caught a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion to pull Denver within three near the end of the third. Diontae Johnson caught a 28-yard strike fro Roethlisberger to put the home team back up 10. A fumbled punt snap put two points on the board for Pittsburgh with a safety but a Benny Snell Jr. fumble allowed Denver to take possesion back and the Broncos scored on a Jeff Driskel 16-yard pass to Melvin Gordon III. The game ended thanks to a 59-yard run by James Conner.
Commentary in podcast episode form will be available at 5 a.m. Monday, September 21 wherever you get your podcasts. Those episodes of the pod will be our Steelers’ Postgame Podcasts and we will be releasing Week 3’s preview Friday morning.
COMON Network Team Commentary
- Not enough bubble screens. Throw more bubble screens. We love them, Coach Randy. More! More! More! Good grief. You have so many creative things you can do with that offense and we see five or more bubble screens per game. Let Matt Canada call the plays or have Ben call them himself.
- Too much. This Steelers defense is going to be good. Very good. But 21 points to an offense led by Jeff Driskel is worrisome. Six sacks, a couple turnovers, a safety are all great, but a career backup had the Steelers against the ropes in Pittsburgh. The offense scored 24 on their own and with this defense’s expectations, that should be more than enough.
- Bounce back for James Conner. 16 carries for over 100 on the ground and a touchdown. A lot of the yardage came on the run that put the game away as he hammered it nearly 60 yards in the final minutes. The big thing is that he stayed out there all four quarters and was a big part in the team’s win. First 2-0 start since 2017. Let’s keep it rolling. Comon.
Player of the Game – Mike Hilton (PIT)
- The play calling in the second half was bad. I am not sure why Randy Fichtner and the staff abandoned the run once the Steelers were up two scores. Honestly, I can’t say I’m shocked but I don’t understand it. The Steelers hadn’t had incredible success running the football before that, but why not go back to it, at the very least to eat clock up? To the Steelers’ credit, they made plays when they needed to, including the Ben-Diontae TD and the Conner 59-yard scamper that sealed it.
- What a block by Derek Watt on the 59-yarder by Conner at the end of the game and a great scheme overall. Give Conner the credit for the run and getting downfield. Watt lined up as the H-back and motioned pre-snap to the right and then was the lead blocker around the edge.
- Good game from Ben Roethlisberger. The pick wasn’t great, but I thought it was pressure-induced. The two touchdown passes were excellent throws. I think the long ball was something I wanted to see. The pass to Claypool was an AWESOME ball and Claypool made a great play. The pass to Johnson for the score was VINTAGE Ben… extend the play and toss a dime.
- James Conner’s day is boosted by the long run, but still a good day for him. The biggest thing with Conner for me is ball security and health. The guy is a Pro Bowl caliber player when healthy. He can run, catch and pass protect. Diontae caught eight of 13 passes for 92 yards and the score. I thought he struggled a bit, but that is a good day. Another solid game from JuJu. He looked awesome. JuJu was targeted eight times and caught seven balls, and the catch he made on the deflection was a great play.
- Mike Hilton off the egde. He was a beast today. The Steelers’ defense I thought was a bit underwhelming as a whole against Jeff Driskel, but seven sacks and a win. I’ll take it.
Player of the Game – Mike Hilton (PIT)
- It’s safe to say today’s game got a tad scary, especially towards the end. However, these are professional football players. While these Broncos I think were the less talented team today, you sometimes run into these close game scenarios, no matter who with. Despite their backs against the wall, the defense stepped to the plate. A big stop on 3rd and 2, and of all people, a Terrell Edmunds sack on 4th down to pretty much steal the deal. TJ Watt was more of a factor today in the pass rush, and Bud Dupree continues his outstanding play. This D is showing no signs of slowing down early on in the season and I’m pumped about it.
- Big Ben is back part two. It was awesome to see him come back last week obviously, but it was even better to see him make more strides today. He went over 300 passing yards, and even showed some vintage Ben with extending the play and dropping an absolute dime to Diontae Johnson. The offensive line played well too despite the injuries to Wisniewski and Decastro, which was a good sight as well. For the second week in a row, the offense got the job done.
- Chase Claypool is going to be a very good football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and anyone still upset about not having a first round pick, or passing on JK Dobbins, can pound salt.
Player of the Game – Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)