The Pittsburgh Steelers took a page out of Kobe Bryant’s book and hogged the ball Sunday night against the Denver Broncos. The team’s offense had the ball for 14:24 of the second quarter and 9:38 of the third quarter.
That’s what happens when the team’s third down conversion rate looks like this:
1st quarter: 1-for-3
2nd quarter: 5-for-6
3rd quarter: 4-for-7
4th quarter: 1-for-3
The Broncos, however, came up big when it counted. They allowed just one third down conversion in the final 14 minutes of play, and the grand finale of the show was cornerback Tracy Porter’s pick-6 with less than two minutes to go to make the final score 31-19.
“That was definitely a huge play, probably the play of the game, being up only six,” head coach John Fox said following the game.
Porter was tested all night. Every corner is when playing opposite Champ Bailey.
“I was just man-under coverage,” Porter said of the pick-6. “Receiver ran a whip route, quarterback tried to fit it in there. I was in the right place at the right time, and just made a play on the ball.”
Porter had five tackles just a couple of minutes into the second quarter. He finished the game with 8 tackles and 5 pass deflections to go along with his interception and 43-yard touchdown run.
“It wasn’t a surprise to me,” Von Miller said. “I’ve seen Tracy do it time in and time out at practice. We came out here and it was great for him to do it in front of this Bronco Nation crowd.”
While everyone is talking about Peyton Manning’s regular season debut in a Broncos uniform, Porter is the forgotten one. He came to Denver from New Orleans where he played for four years and had a career high 4 interceptions in 2009. He’s already on pace to crush that record, especially playing on the other side of Bailey.
“He had like three dropped picks,” Demaryius Thomas said. “To finally get one, it was like ‘yes.’”
Porter nearly picked off Ben Roethlisberger at the beginning of the fourth quarter. He made another “play-of-the-game” type play when he swatted a pass intended for a wide open Heath Miller in the back of the end zone on third down in the second quarter. The Steelers had to settle for a field goal.
Derek Wolfe called Porter’s play “a weight off your shoulders.”
Broncos fans are calling it ‘adrenaline.’ Excitement remains high surrounding this Broncos team, and all that they can do.