Photo credit: Dustin Bradford / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
The Denver Broncos are heading back to the AFC championship game after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-16. The Broncos defense did a great job of shutting down the Steelers dynamic offense which isn’t an easy task. Ben Roethlisberger who played in the match up despite having torn ligaments in his AC joint. Was absurdly effective for the physical condition that he was in. Roethlisberger finished the game with 339 passing yards but the Broncos defense were able to keep him from throwing any touchdown passes. Huge when you consider Roethlisberger has been able to throw 272 touchdown passes over the duration of his career. Another notable stat was the fact that the Broncos defense didn’t let the Steelers rush for a 100 yards as a team. By effectively taking away the Steelers run game it really tilted the odds in Denver’s favor. Offensively the Broncos weren’t overwhelming effective but they did do enough to get it done. Peyton Manning threw for 222 yards but he didn’t throw any touchdown passes. While Brock Osweiler would of likely gave the team more yardage and more touchdowns. One thing Manning did do well is not turn the ball over and with a young quarterback like Osweiler. You have to wonder if he would of came out through a few interceptions and got down on himself like some young players do. As much as we knew Osweiler is a better choice physically. Manning’s mental skill set might be a big factor for the Broncos. On one particular play Manning audibled to a run away from the blitz and that play perfectly captured how Manning can have an impact despite his old age. On the other hand if the Broncos want to move forward into the future these reps in the playoffs would be essential for Brock Osweiler and moving forward. Could you imagine how good Brock Osweiler would be in the playoffs next year if he had the opportunity to grow in the playoffs this year? If the Broncos don’t win the Super Bowl the right answer was certainly starting Brock. It’s Super Bowl or bust for the Broncos with Manning. They get a step closer by meeting the Patriots in the AFC championship Sunday. While the Steelers will try to get better defensively in the offseason. Offensively they are outstanding.