28 - 31 Final
  for this game

Elam, Cutler help Broncos end three-game skid

Oct 22, 2007 - 5:15 AM
By Tony Desiere PA Sportsticker Contributing Writer

DENVER (Ticker) - It appears the Denver Broncos put their bye week to good use.

Jason Elam kicked a 49-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Broncos to a 31-28 triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Jay Cutler completed 22-of-29 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns for Denver, which entered its week six bye with three consecutive losses to Jacksonville , Indianapolis , and San Diego.

Starting at their own 20-yard-line with 1:10 left in regulation, Cutler orchestrated a seven-play, 49-yard drive to set up Elam's heroics. The second-year signal called completed 4-of-5 passes on the final drive for 45 yards.

"I get nervous in practice," Elam said. "If you don't there is something wrong with you. You just have to stay calm and trust your swing."

"It's always nice to find a way to win," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "Both teams fought and it is always nice to make some plays at the end of the game and find a way to win."

Trailing, 28-21, with 7:47 remaining, Ben Roethlisberger was able to march the Steelers down the field to tie the game. He connected with Heath Miller on a 12-yard touchdown pass to knot the score at 28-28 with 70 ticks left.

It was not the first time they hooked up on the night. Roethlisberger also hit Miller for a one-yard touchdown on the game's opening drive to give the Steelers an early 7-0 advantage.

Denver came right back with their own touchdown drive, going 68 yards in nine plays, ending with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Brandon Stokely.

Then the Broncos defense showed up.

After Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams intercepted a Roethlisberger pass, the Broncos drove 61 yards in six plays for their second touchdown, a one-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Cecil Sapp to make the score 14-7.

The drive included a 31-yard scramble by Cutler that was aided by an unnecessary roughness call by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu after a hit to Cutler's helmet.

After Pittsburgh took over on the ensuing kickoff, Roethlisberger was sacked and lost the football. Denver defensive end Tim Crowder picked it up and raced 50 yards to end zone, to give Denver a 21-7 lead.

"We were all trying to get it," Crowder said. "I thought when I got the end zone that it was going to be called back or something. It feels great to win a game like this."

"We have to get turnovers," Shanahan said. "Fortunately we won the turnover battle today and had a big touchdown on that return."

The Steelers got back on the scoreboard in the third quarter after Larry Foote intercepted Cutler' pass, setting the Pittsburgh offense up at the Denver 41-yard line. Roethlisberger drove Pittsburgh down the field, hitting Santonio Holmes for a 13-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 21-14.

"I'm really proud of the way the guys came out in the second half," Roethlisberger said. "The offensive line did a great job. The receivers got open for me, and when they weren't open they made plays."

Denver answered right back, scoring on a long 13-play, 79-yard drive that ate up the over eight minutes of game time. Cutler, who threw two interceptions, tossed this third touchdown pass of the game, a one-yard score to tight end Tony Scheffler. On the drive, the Broncos converted two third downs of 14 yards.

"We were confident," Cutler said. "Our guys stepped up and did well today. Hopefully this gets us rolling again."

"We need to stop people on third down," Pittsburgh linebacker Foote said. "We dug ourselves a hole a bit. In the end, we need to get off the field and give our offense a chance."

With the Steelers down 28-14, the Pittsburgh offense drove 94 yards, finishing with a 13-yard touchdown strike from Roethlisberger to tight end Matt Spaeth.

"Ben's play mirrored our offense tonight," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Our offense learned a lot about ourselves tonight to come back out in the second half and get us back in the football game."

Roethlisberger finished with 290 yards passing and four touchdowns but he was intercepted twice and committed a crucial fumble.