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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Broncos 31, Steelers 19

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

DENVER — Looking ahead to kickoff …

Game: Steelers vs. Denver Broncos, season opener for both

Time: 8:20 p.m.

Site: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver

TV, radio: NBC, 102.5 WDVE

Here is the live box summary.

Here is the Trib’s Steelers page. Alan Robinson, Ralph Paulk and I are on the scene here.

Oh, and if you missed it this morning, this was my Ben Roethlisberger/Peyton Manning feature about quarterbacks calling their own plays.

UPDATE 5:14 p.m.: Here are the Steelers’ inactives: LB James Harrison, S Ryan Clark, RB Rashard Mendenhall, QB Charlie Batch, LB Stevenson Sylvester, G Kelvin Beachum, NT Alameda Ta’amu


  1. Parrothead01 says:

    Can’t hit, can’t bunt. What an offence.

  2. Bryan says:

    Is Wallace gonna be a factor tonight?

    DK: If I had to guess, Bryan, he’ll be an elaborate decoy in stretching the field for underneath routes to others.

  3. Eric Bowser says:

    In other words, look for an early play from Ben to Wallace that goes deep in order to test the Denver secondary and put some fear into the defense that allows Brown, Sanders, Miller, etc. to get open looks in the middle.

    The important key to all of this, offensive line has to block long enough for Ben to have time to find his matchup advantage and plenty of time for the deep bombs.

  4. Eric Bowser says:

    I think I watched a few minutes worth of pre-season football but I saw twitter comments and headlines, if I understand anything from it, Steelers will be utilizing Chris Rainey on special teams and open space (RB/WR) on offense.

    Curious to see if he lives up to the local hype machine.

    DK: It’ll depend on usage, Eric. If they run him between the tackles, he’ll be destroyed. If they get him the ball in open field, it will be fun.

  5. pattonbb says:

    Replacement refs have had a rough day. Hope they don’t become a problem in Denver.

  6. Eric Bowser says:

    @Dejan – After that Pirates game, I wanted to go chop down that sign. I haven’t left that place that irritated with the performance of the players and coaches in a long time… and that’s because these games mean something for the first time ever at PNC Park.

    And just so everyone knows, don’t go to PNC Park and wear a Penguins or Steelers jersey. I saw 8 Steelers jerseys in the sections 318 and 320. Cannot stand that, go to the game and support the team on the field.

    Can the Steelers defense contain Manning? I’m not even sure who is the team’s other corner opposite Ike Taylor.

    DK: Have no issue with anyone’s jerseys anywhere, least of all when a lot of those people no doubt were coming into town to make a day of it. Watch Pirates in person, catch Steelers on TV.

  7. JMB says:

    Troy is getting gray.

    He needs a H&S w. JfM in it.

    Seriously, Troy getting old makes me wonder where the time has gone.

  8. Drew71 says:

    Missy Franklin is Denver’s captain. Then they win the toss.

    Karma alert.

  9. Eric Bowser says:

    @JMB – Most of the defense is getting there with Hampton, Kiesel, Harrison, Foote, Taylor, Clark, and Polamalu.

  10. JohninOshkosh says:

    Swimmer Missy Franklin was honorary captain for Denver. She looked taller than a lot of the players.

  11. Eric Bowser says:

    Broncos offensive line is getting good push so far, Steelers defensive line, not so much.

  12. RobertoForever says:

    Peter King says the day for the replacement refs was essentially uneventful except for the 4th timeout given to Seattle at the end of the game.

    At least they didn’t give Seattle a second 3rd down on the goal line stand.

    DK: Did it look to you like the replay officials had their backs ALL DAY LONG?

  13. pattonbb says:

    Peter King must not have watched the Green Bay game. Inconsistent with their calls all game long.

  14. Drew71 says:

    Nice catch for a decoy

  15. RobertoForever says:

    So the Steelers are on NBC Sunday Night Football 3 times this year, but they didn’t include any of the Steelers for the highlight players. But we get Ray Lewis, Clay Matthews, Willis, etc.

    Hope the Steelers take that to heart and show ‘em tonight, lol

  16. JohninOshkosh says:


    I watched the Bears/Colts game and it seemed like they went to the replay officials like10 times!

  17. Drew71 says:

    And yes. It DID look like the refs had an interest in close games. Missing obvious block in the back in the SF – GB game made that game closer than it should have been.

    Not really Meals-like. Just typical missed calls that you can see any Sunday…but maybe a bit more.

  18. Drew71 says:

    John – I didn’t watch that game to see if the refs caused more replays, but more plays are auto-reviewed this year.

  19. Eric Bowser says:

    Defense creates turnover with fumble recovery.

  20. Eric Bowser says:

    Offensive game plan is REALLY conservative so far.

  21. RobertoForever says:


    I watched the Pirates on WGN so I didn’t watch much football today.

    But I wouldn’t doubt it. The replay official is a replacement ref as well, I believe.

  22. Eric Bowser says:

    And Rainey’s first shot with ball blown up because Pouncey can’t get to the edge fast enough.

  23. Drew71 says:

    on one of my games today, the announcer said the replay refs were NOT replacements…but i can’t confirm that.

  24. Eric Bowser says:

    Stretch play didn’t exactly work when your TE (Pope) whiffs on a block to Vonn Miller.

    The second time Steelers run ball on 2nd and 15….

  25. Frankie says:

    Throw the ball on first down

  26. Eric Bowser says:

    Run, run, pass (repeat)

    I’m really hoping Haley doesn’t make me long for the days of Bruce Arians….

  27. JohninOshkosh says:


    You are right. A lot of those were mandatory reviews. Plus there were a few coaching challenges. One of the refs in that game looked terrified.

  28. Drew71 says:

    I’m gonna give it a second quarter before calling for anyone’s job.

    But just one more.

  29. Eric Bowser says:

    Butler who? I am so out of touch this NFL season. Nice punt inside 1-yd line.

  30. JohninOshkosh says:


    During Faith’s song they had a product placement promoting the NFL App and that showed Ben being sacked on the mobile device’s video!

  31. Drew71 says:

    I’m always right, John. Just don’t tell my wife I said that.

  32. JMB says:


  33. Drew71 says:

    That was a cool looking play

  34. RobertoForever says:


    True, and they showed highlight plays of the Steelers in the big screens in the background.

    But next week, those will be one of the two teams playing them. I was referring to the players who will be featured every week. Steelers on NBC the max of 3 times, yet have no featured players. I’ll bet one of the Steelers games give one of the two highest ratings for NBC for the year as well.

  35. Eric Bowser says:

    so, run-run-pass then inside 10, they pass it.

    Miller was wide open, Ben fails to put some touch on it for easy TD.

  36. Drew71 says:

    A lot of clever stuff on that drive. Bad throw at the end.

    So in the only game that matters to Pittsburghers, Haley 1 – Ben 0.

  37. Drew71 says:

    I was gonna do some work around the place while the game is on.

    But my wirecutters are missing.

    I better not go to sleep tonight. Who knows WHAT she’s planning to cut.

  38. Drew71 says:

    Not only can’t you make this stuff up, why would you want to?

  39. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s nice to see that injured wrist hindered Jason Worilds’ ability to eat, and eat, and eat…

  40. Eric Bowser says:

    and this Denver drive is why Ben and Steelers offense can’t settle for punts and field goals.

  41. Eric Bowser says:

    Steelers secondary still can’t cover anyone.

  42. Drew71 says:

    Running on the Steelers?

    Freaking Haley.

  43. pattonbb says:

    Denver kind of made that look easy.

  44. Eric Bowser says:

    Hurry up offense exposes Steelers lack of pass rushers from the defensive line. When you are constantly having to drop back, linebackers are less effective in coverage and QB has time to find the open receiver.

  45. Milo Hamilton says:

    Legursky in at right guard.

  46. Eric Bowser says:

    Lawrence Timmons, please report to Denver.

  47. pattonbb says:

    So, with 5 minutes left in the second quarter of the first game, I’m going out on a limb and say tomorrow everyone will be talking about how old and slow our D looks, and how terrible Haley’s offense is.

  48. Milo Hamilton says:

    Foster not hurt, just benched. But Gilbert is hurt. Here we go. 16 games, 16 different offensive lines.

  49. Eric Bowser says:

    @pattonbb – Tried and true headlines in Pittsburgh.

  50. Drew71 says:

    And they had a stoopid lineup.

    Oh wait. Wrong thread.

  51. Milo Hamilton says:

    2 penalties on this drive because guys don’t know where to line up.

  52. Eric Bowser says:

    Stop throwing the fade routes

  53. Eric Bowser says:

    TD Heath Miller, wide open in middle of field at goal line and perfect with Steelers getting ball to start second half. 10-7 Steelers lead.

  54. pattonbb says:

    Ben – 7
    Haley – 3

  55. Milo Hamilton says:

    Ramon Foster walking with Joe Maroon. Not benched.

  56. Milo Hamilton says:

    Trai Essex should be back tomorrow. By leaving him off the roster for a week, his full year’s salary isn’t guaranteed.

  57. Eric Bowser says:

    Steelers offensive linemen are really sucking

  58. Eric Bowser says:

    almost 9 minute drive and best they could do was a 35-yd field goal… never a good thing to keep Manning in the game.

  59. Milo Hamilton says:

    In the last 13 minutes the Steelers have run 29 plays & scored 10 points. Denver had one kneel down.

  60. Eric Bowser says:

    that’s all on Ike Taylor…. way too far off the line

  61. TCB says:

    If you kick field goals and the other team score TD’s, you will lose.

  62. Eric Bowser says:

    Rainey needs space, that pass play isn’t it.

  63. Milo Hamilton says:

    Doug Legursky is adequate at center. And only center.

  64. Milo Hamilton says:

    Denver’s defense is gassed.

  65. Eric Bowser says:

    love that play call for Miller

  66. Eric Bowser says:

    solid audible by Ben, even better TD run by Dwyer!!

  67. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s not a TD. Should be on the 1.

  68. Eric Bowser says:

    Yep, knee was down, 2nd and 1 at 2-yd line to start 4th quarter.

  69. Eric Bowser says:

    YUCK, hate that call.

  70. jaybeezer says:

    please no more redman tonight, sit him…light fire under offensive line and put dwyer back in

  71. Eric Bowser says:

    This time, a TD for Mike Wallace to back shoulder on a slant.

    Now going for 2-pts

  72. TCB says:

    IMHO, too early to go for 2. If Broncos score a TD they will go for 2 now. If they make it, field goal only ties instead of wins.

  73. Eric Bowser says:

    Yeah, I don’t understand the need for 2-pts… too much time left, hate giving away points.

  74. Milo Hamilton says:


    John Fox probably lost a Super Bowl going for 2 too early.

  75. Milo Hamilton says:

    Steelers tackling tonight is awful.

  76. Eric Bowser says:

    Why are Steelers not blitzing?

    Sitting back and getting picked apart is death.

  77. Milo Hamilton says:

    Another losing challenge by Tomlin. He’s probably just trying to slow down the runaway freight train.

  78. TCB says:

    Wasted challenge. Just cost a time out and gave Denver a down back.

    Defense is clueless against Manning.

  79. jaybeezer says:

    i don’t think we fixed our secondary…and no pressure…eric b. is right on the money

  80. RobertoForever says:

    Right, a defense who is holding Peyton Manning to 14 points thru 3 qtrs is clueless.

  81. Frankie says:

    OLB Carter is non existent…….Mundy is weak..
    Need Harrison and Clark

  82. TCB says:

    The defense has not held Manning. He has scored 2 times on 2 possessions in the 2nd half.

    The Steelers offense has kept him off the field. The defense cannot get him off the field.

  83. Milo Hamilton says:

    Denver has scored TD’s the last 3 times they had the ball, save the kneel down at the end of the half.

  84. Milo Hamilton says:

    Ben – 5.9 yards per pass. Not gonna get it done.

  85. Eric Bowser says:

    Troy hasn’t made one play, where’s Woodley, where’s Timmons

  86. Reading says:

    Same old, same old. No defensive pressure at all. Can’t cover anybody. Can’t tackle. Being schooled.

  87. Jay Jax Fl via New Castle says:

    TCB…’s never smart to go for 2 with an entire quarter to go. Way too many things can happen and do……They shot themselves in the foot. Dumb football guys…If they score a TD here it’s now a 2 possession game….

  88. Eric Bowser says:

    I’m pointing this one squarely on the defense, players and coaches.

    No plays, bad game plan again. You can’t sit back against Manning.

  89. jaybeezer says:

    warren sapp called…steelers look old…again

  90. Milo Hamilton says:

    Still a chance.

  91. Eric Bowser says:

    Forcing a ball like that was easy for Porter

  92. TCB says:

    Can’t blame that on the D.

    I knew it would be tough to open in Denver.

  93. Milo Hamilton says:

    This is wrong. You don’t get the 2 minute warning before you try the PAT. No way.

  94. florida steeler says:

    Ryan mundy and Keenan Lewis are HORRIBLE. Offensive line NEVER IMPROVES.

  95. TCB says:

    Well at least it gets easier next week. The jets are horrible, right?

  96. RobertoForever says:

    Its all or nothing with Big Ben. Hero or Goat. No in between. That’s why we love him.

    Definitely need to improve the defense against the no huddle. Broncos with no points in 3 drives using a normal huddle offense. 17 points in 3 drives using the no-huddle.

  97. Milo Hamilton says:

    Six yards per pass. That’s puny.

  98. Jay Jax Fl via New Castle says:

    Good weekend Pittsburgh…..Bucs look dead and now this…….still gotta keep the faith.

  99. TCB says:

    What a great day. Went to the Pirates game and stayed up to watch the Steelers.

  100. Eric Bowser says:

    Steelers don’t have an offensive line, which is why they don’t have a running game, which is why Ben has little to no time to set his feet and throw good passes.

  101. Frankie says:

    Mike Adams was mediocre at Ohio State and is the same now

  102. JoeBucco says:

    So tomorrow, the Pirates return to the place where the wheels started to come off. Interesting how this stuff plays out, eh?

    Adding here as I don’t think JAL catches these links.

    Record since August 3 is only 12-23 since August 3, as the above article references.

    That’s the date that Cutch was plunked by Chapman with a 101 mph fastball. An intentional beaning that was backed with no semblance of standing up for oneself or ones teammate. Been all downhill since.

    This team showed no fight on August 3, and has shown no fight since.

    That game was Wandy vs. Latos. Just like tomorrow night. If this team has any pride whatsoever, they take care of business in more ways than one tomorrow night. If they have any fight left in them, that is.

  103. Buncie says:

    No coach loses a game when the other team has the ball 36 seconds in the 3rd quarter but Tomlin. New offensive coordinater, same old crap. Maybe Tomlin needs to move on with his life’s work.

  104. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    After addressing the OL in the draft (By the way….I’ve never seen a team so snakebit injury-wise than the Steeler OL of recent years), I sure wish they could’ve added a couple mid level FA’s to this defense, especially at Corner and LB.

    We’re getting no production from young players like Heyward and Carter, which means we are relying on the same people as last year, minus Farrior and A. Smith.

    It’s only one game….But if they can’t get this defense going, it could be a long year.

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