Pittsburgh at Denver

Banged-up Broncos blow lead, but Elam's last-second kick downs Steelers

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

DENVER -- The Denver Broncos took the city's minds off the Colorado Rockies for a few hours Sunday night.

"However we can take it," Jason Elam said after his 49-yard field goal as time expired beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28. "We want to do this whole Rockies thing -- 21 out of 22, that works for us."

It's a start.

Rookie Tim Crowder had a 50-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, Jay Cutler threw three TD passes and the Broncos (3-3), coming off their worst home loss in 41 years, looked nothing like the troubled team that had lost playmakers on both sides of the ball and whose season was threatening to unravel before the leaves had finished falling.

Suddenly able to get to the passer despite Champ Bailey (thigh) missing a game for only the third time in his career and fellow Pro Bowl cornerback Dre' Bly injuring his right shoulder on a first-half interception, the Broncos forced three turnovers and sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times.

Bly stayed in the game and broke up several of Big Ben's passes.

The Steelers (4-2), who had allowed only five touchdowns all season, surrendered four, including Cutler's throws of 15 yards to Brandon Stokley and 1 yard each to Tony Scheffler and Cecil Sapp.

Elam, who has the game-winner in all three of the Broncos' victories so far, nailed his kick to cap a seven-play, 49-yard drive that covered the final 1:10 after Pittsburgh had rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to tie it.

"He's a darn good closer," safety John Lynch said. "You wouldn't want anyone else in that position. You have a sense of calm when he's booting it. He's very good at what he does. No question, right down the middle.

"This is the first step in turning this thing around."

The Broncos, who lost running back Travis Henry for the night with bruised ribs in the third quarter, snapped a three-game skid.

Pittsburgh rallied from a 28-14 second-half deficit with a 94-yard drive capped by Matt Spaeth's 13-yard TD grab and another long drive in which Roethlisberger completed all eight of his passes for 80 yards, including a 12-yard strike to tight end Heath Miller, his second touchdown of the night.

Then, it was Cutler's turn.

"That's where you make your money," Cutler said. "That's where the fun is."

The drive started with Scheffler catching a 16-yard pass and then hopping off the field with an apparent right foot injury. He broke that foot in the summer and only recently returned to full strength.

Brandon Marshall caught a 9-yard pass and an offside call put the ball on the 50. Glenn Martinez caught an 11-yard pass and tight end Daniel Graham caught another 9-yarder with 20 seconds to go on a play that was initially ruled an incompletion before a booth-ordered replay overturned the call.

Selvin Young lost a yard and, after a timeout, Elam split the uprights.

The Broncos seized the momentum with their first touchdown by a defensive lineman since Ellis Johnson's interception return against Oakland on Nov. 28, 2004.

Elvis Dumervil split blockers Marvel Smith and Alan Faneca and dumped Roethlisberger for a 12-yard loss, while stripping the ball from the quarterback's grasp.

"The play clock was running down," Roethlisberger said. "Looking back, I probably should have called timeout, but I didn't. When I bent down to pick it up I looked up and there were guys all around me."

All of them were thinking the same thing.

"We were all trying to get it," said Crowder, who scooped it up and raced half the length of the field for a 21-7 lead only 90 seconds after Sapp's 1-yard touchdown grab had given Denver its first lead.

"Elvis saw me and he just kicked it out to me and I picked it up and took off. I have to remind people that I can run, too."

Denver is last in the NFL in stopping the run and the Steelers have the league's second-best rushing offense. Yet, Pittsburgh running back Willie Parker (93 yards on 21 carries) had only three rushes for 10 yards in the first quarter, and the Broncos began to build confidence.

"At times it looked like they had nine or 10 guys at the line of scrimmage," Roethlisberger said.

The Broncos became the first team this season to score on Pittsburgh's defense in the first half when Stokley caught a 15-yard pass from Cutler to tie the game at 7 in the first quarter.

The night began with a ceremony to honor cornerback Darrent Williams and running back Damien Nash, two 24-year-old Broncos who died last winter. Williams was killed in an unsolved drive-by shooting in downtown Denver on New Year's Day and Nash died two months later after a charity basketball game in St. Louis.

"We talked a lot about honoring our teammates," by playing well, Lynch said, "and I think we did."

Notes

  • Bailey hadn't missed a game since 2005, when he missed two with a pulled hamstring. Domonique Foxworth took his place in the starting lineup.
  • Steelers DE Aaron Smith injured a knee.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Jason Elam kicks the game-winning 49-yarder out of Todd Sauerbrun's hold as time expires.
 
Jason Elam kicks the game-winning 49-yarder out of Todd Sauerbrun's hold as time expires. (AP)
 

 

Related Video

April 10, 2015
Bill Cowher on Troy Polamalu's retirement (3:28)
April 10, 2015
Troy Polamalu retires
(1:56)
April 9, 2015
Reaction to Le'Veon Bell suspension appeal
(2:14)
March 11, 2015
Jason Worilds retires
(2:37)
Sun. Oct. 21Final
7071428
Denver
(3-3)
7147331
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDHeath Miller, 1 Yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good), 11:00. Drive: 8 plays, 60 yards in 4:00.
TDBrandon Stokley, 15 Yd pass from Jay Cutler (Jason Elam kick is good), 6:17. Drive: 9 plays, 69 yards in 4:43.
2ND QUARTER
TDCecil Sapp, 1 Yd pass from Jay Cutler (Jason Elam kick is good), 4:01. Drive: 6 plays, 61 yards in 3:15.
TDTim Crowder, 50 Yd fumble return (Jason Elam kick is good), 2:31.
3RD QUARTER
TDSantonio Holmes, 13 Yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good), 8:10. Drive: 7 plays, 41 yards in 4:11.
TDTony Scheffler, 1 Yd pass from Jay Cutler (Jason Elam kick is good), 0:00. Drive: 13 plays, 79 yards in 8:10.
4TH QUARTER
TDMatt Spaeth, 13 Yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good), 10:10. Drive: 10 plays, 94 yards in 4:50.
TDHeath Miller, 12 Yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good), 1:10. Drive: 12 plays, 78 yards in 6:37.
FGJason Elam 49 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 7 plays, 49 yards in 1:10.
Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Cutler
Att 29
Comp 22
Yds 248
TD 3
Pittsburgh

B. Roethlisberger
Att 35
Comp 24
Yds 290
TD 4
 
Pittsburgh
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
B. Roethlisberger24/3529042
RushingATTYDSTDLG
W. Parker2193027
B. Roethlisberger320011
N. Davenport2603
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
H. Ward778018
S. Holmes654116
H. Miller550227
N. Washington140040
W. Parker234022
M. Spaeth113113
C. Wilson112012
C. Davis1909
Denver
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
J. Cutler22/2924832
RushingATTYDSTDLG
T. Henry175108
J. Cutler341031
C. Sapp1303
S. Young2102
B. Stokley1-60-6
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
B. Marshall677022
B. Stokley570117
T. Scheffler550126
S. Young116016
B. Clark21407
G. Martinez111011
D. Graham1909
C. Sapp1111
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
IND 29 Final
JAC 7
STL 6 Final
SEA 33
CHI 19 Final
PHI 16
TB 16 Final
DET 23
KC 12 Final
OAK 10
NYJ 31 Final
CIN 38
ARI 19 Final
WAS 21
ATL 16 Final
NO 22
SF 15 Final
NYG 33
NE 49 Final
MIA 28
TEN 38 Final
HOU 36
MIN 14 Final
DAL 24
BAL 14 Final
BUF 19