x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Steelers looking like champions again

Touchdown blitz by Roethlisberger and a stingy defence has Broncos lose again.

The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger calls a change at the line of scrimmage against the Broncos on Monday.
The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger calls a change at the line of scrimmage against the Broncos on Monday.

Ben Roethlisberger's three second-half touchdown passes and a stingy defence helped the Pittsburgh Steelers ease to a 28-10 victory over the Denver Broncos on Monday. The Steelers, back in action after a bye week, limited the Broncos to just 27 rushing yards in winning a fifth consecutive game, as the Super Bowl champions continue to look more like the team that powered to the NFL title in February.

"Anyone who watches us play knows that we don't blink no matter what happens. There is always more football to be played," the Steelers' running back Rashard Mendenhall said after his team continued their resurgence from a shaky 1-2 start to the year. The victory moved Pittsburgh (6-2) into a tie with the Cincinnati Bengals at the top of the AFC North and in position to challenge for a third consecutive division title.

Roethlisberger hooked up with Hines Ward for a three-yard touchdown pass with 9:09 left in the third quarter to give his team a 14-10 lead and finished off the Broncos with a 25-yard effort to Mike Wallace with seven minutes remaining. Mendenhall helped the Steelers control the game with 155 yards rushing on 22 carries as Roethlisberger put a seal on the victory with a second three-yard scoring pass to Ward with a little over a minute left in the fourth quarter.

Denver (6-2) lost for the second time in a row after starting the season with six successive wins. The Broncos moved the ball well in the first half but trailed 7-3 at halftime after Tyrone Carter intercepted a pass attempt by the Denver quarterback Kyle Orton and ran 48 yards to score two minutes into the second quarter. Carter started in place of Ryan Clark who was held out of the game because of a potentially fatal blood disorder that is aggravated by playing in high altitudes.Carter's big play on Orton was one of three interceptions for the Denver QB, who also threw for 221 yards. With 11:16 left in the third, Denver went ahead 10-7 when Robert Ayers recovered a fumble and scampered 54 yards for a TD.

But after being outgained by Denver 183-54 in the first half, the Steelers quickly got their offence on track with an explosive 80-yard drive that required just four plays for the go-ahead score. "We went no-huddle, picked up the tempo and we did a good job of picking things up. The play-makers made plays," Roethlisberger said. "We don't care what the critics say. We get it done." Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs released their controversial running back Larry Johnson on Monday, the day he had been scheduled to return from suspension for "conduct detrimental to the club".

Johnson, 29, was ordered last month to stay away from training and team activities while the Chiefs and the NFL investigated alleged comments made by the player. "We made a decision to release Larry Johnson from his contract," the Chiefs' head coach, Todd Haley, said. According to a Kansas City newspaper, Johnson posted demeaning comments, directed at Haley, on his Twitter feed hours after the 37-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers on October 25.

A first-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2003 draft, Johnson set an NFL single-season record with 416 rushing attempts in 2006 when he set a franchise single-season mark with 1,789 rushing yards. In 75 games with the Chiefs he has rushed 1,375 times for 5,996 yards with 55 touchdowns. * Reuters