Peyton Manning was subpar, his wide receivers dropped a lot of passes, and the Broncos trailed the injury-ravaged Steelers early in the 4th quarter.
But two Pittsburgh turnovers in the final 10 minutes – backup running back Fitz Toussaint fumbled in Denver territory, and then the Steelers turned the ball over on downs in their own end – led to 11 Broncos points. And as a result – Denver 23, Pittsburgh 16 – we get Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady for the 5th time in the postseason.
Peyton’s won the last two, most recently a couple years ago in the AFC Championship game when the Broncos went to the Super Bowl.
But Peyton has had two rough postseasons since, and that includes a 21-for-37 game Sunday in which he didn’t turn the ball over, which is it a minor victory itself. But that was going against the 30th ranked pass defense in the NFL. The Broncos were only able to muster 4.6 yards per play.
The Broncos and Patriots already met once this season. New England was in total control, up 21-7 early in the 4th quarter before a fumbled punt got Denver in the game. The Broncos – behind QB Brock Osweiler – peeled off 17 straight points and ended up winning in overtime, 30-24 on a CJ Anderson 48-yard run.
The Broncos are 3-point home underdogs.