Brown dominates as Steelers edge Broncos


Antonio Brown dominates Denver’s top-ranked secondary leading the Steelers to a 34-27 victory over the Broncos.

Someone forgot to tell Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown that defense wins championships.

Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris was widely regarded as one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. He hadn’t been scored on in nearly two seasons. The Broncos had the best pass defense in the NFL. If there was any unit to slow down Pittsburgh’s potent passing attack, it was Harris, Aquib Talib and the Denver Broncos.

Someone forgot to tell Brown that Denver was supposed to shut him down.

Brown had Harris on skates for four quarters at Heinz Field on Sunday, slicing through Denver’s vaunted man-to-man scheme like filet mignon. Brown finished with 16 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns on the day.

Brown’s performance was poetic, his routes were beautiful similes and metaphors bringing Harris to his knees. His “Romeo and Juliet” was written late in the fourth quarter, when he broke inside on Harris and walked into the end-zone after corralling a 23-yard Ben Roethlisberger torpedo.

Dec 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) catches a nine yard touchdown pass behind Denver Broncos cornerback

Chris Harris

(25) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Brown remained consistent throughout the game, but the Steelers’ offense sputtered at times. Third down was particularly troubling for Pittsburgh as the high-flying offensive unit started the game one of eight on third down.

The Steelers’ defense faced the same fate. In the first half, Osweiler and the Denver offense was perfect on third down. Peyton Manning‘s replacement Osweiler threw for nearly 300 yards in the first half. It was shaping up to be the defenses’ worst performance of the season.

Ah, the beauty of halftime adjustments.

Pittsburgh’s defense held Osweiler to just seven completions on 25 attempts in the second half. Ryan Shazier intercepted an Osweiler pass in the fourth quarter and safety Will Allen dropped two more.

The majesty of Pittsburgh’s season has come through adversity. It seemed that in consecutive weeks in the first half of the season, the Steelers would lose a key component of the formula for an extended period of time.

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First it was Le’Veon Bell, then Maurkice Pouncey, then Bryant, then Roethlisberger and then left tackle Kelvin Beachum. By some sort of divine intervention, Pittsburgh has found a way to stay alive.

It was not pretty and by no means was it efficient, but the Steelers have found a way to get the job done on a consistent basis this season. The meat of the schedule is through and the Steelers will travel to Cleveland and Baltimore to finish the season.

The Steelers likely must win out in order to make the playoffs, but if this team shows up the final two games of the season, it’s hard to imagine any team beating the black and gold.