Below are some key plays for both teams in Denver’s 31-19 season-opening win vs. Pittsburgh at Sports Authority Field at Mile High:
Third-and-12 at the 50 (11:30, 1st quarter): With Peyton Manning looking sharp on the opening drive of the game, Denver’s offense had momentum before Larry Foote broke into the backfield to sack Manning on third down and force a punt.
Third-and-1 at the Denver 49 (7:21, 1st quarter): Denver started its second drive of the game with good field position at its 40-yard line, but couldn’t convert a third-and-short. McGahee fumbled the football, turning it over to Pittsburgh in Denver territory.
Third-and-13 at the Denver 36 (3:35, 1st quarter): With the Steelers on the edge of field goal range, rookie defensive end Derek Wolfe collected his first career sack. Wolfe dropped quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a 9-yard loss to force a Pittsburgh punt.
Third-and-13 at the Denver 21 (1:04, 2nd quarter): Facing his second third-and-long of the drive, Roethlisberger found wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for a 17-yard gain down to the Denver 4-yard line to extend the drive. The Steelers scored three plays later when tight end Heath Miller caught a 3-yard pass to take a 10-7 lead at the half.
Third-and-12 at the Pittsburgh 18 (13:57, 2nd quarter): When it looked like Denver’s defense was in good position to start the second half with a three-and-out, Roethlisberger and Sanders struck again with a 15-yard connection. That kept the drive alive, and 13 plays later the kicker Shaun Suisham converted a 35-yard field goal to put Pittsburgh ahead 13-7.
Third-and-10 at the Pittsburgh 20 (5:17, 3rd quarter): Again, it looked like the Broncos defense had made a stand to force a three-and-out, but a personal foul called against safety Rahim Moore gave the Steelers a first down to start a drive. Moore aimed low on his target, but Sanders diving attempt at the pass led Moore to hit the receiver above the shoulders, which drew the flag. Pittsburgh ran 11 more plays, ending the drive with a 3-yard touchdown catch by Mike Wallace to go ahead 19-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Second-and-10 at the Pittsburgh 39 (2:10, 4thquarter): Cornerback Tracy Porter ended any hopes of a Pittsburgh comeback when he stepped in front of a Roethlisberger pass intended for Sanders. He raced 43 yards to the end zone to seal the Week 1 victory with his second career interception return for a touchdown in regular-season action.