At halftime, the Steelers led the Broncos by a point largely because they were able to hit on big plays offensively while the Broncos were unable to turn good field position into touchdowns.
Things remained largely unchanged during the third quarter. Ben Roethlisberger threw a short pass to Martavis Bryant that Bryant was able to turn into a 52-yard gain that put the Steelers into field goal range. Chris Boswell’s 28-yard field goal extended Pittsburgh’s lead to 13-9, but the Broncos were able to draw back within a point later in the quarter.
As with their first half scoring drives, it’s hard to imagine the team felt too satisfied after Brandon McManus’ fourth field goal of the day. They got the ball on their own 47-yard line and reeled off three quick first downs, but a James Harrison sack and a poor third down throw — the Broncos are now 1-of-11 on third downs — by Peyton Manning meant that they couldn’t do anything more with it.
That field goal drive came after a Steelers three-and-out from the shadow of their own end zone. They got stuck down there after Markus Wheaton fumbled a punt, which took a fortunate bounce out of bounds for the Steelers. Wheaton is filling in for Antonio Brown and has looked shaky in that role, which could come into play again before the game is over given the frequency of punts in this affair.