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Steelers make Broncos look like Yoncos

I don't put much stock into speeches before or during a sporting event.

Usually, they're overrated and it's someone shouting at the top of their lungs.

Such was the case at the opening of Monday Night Football where Broncos safety Brian Dawkins was trying to fire up his teammates before playing the Steelers.

Well, it didn't work so well for Dawkins.

The Steelers scored three touchdowns in the second half on their way to beating the Broncos, 28-10.

And, man, what a half of football that was.

The offense did what they wanted, piling up 321 yards (including 130 on the ground by Rashard Mendenhall) and the defense put the clamps on Denver.

And it all got started after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger delivered a better speech than Dawkins.

It looked like Ben wouldn't need that speech.

After driving the Steelers toward an apparent touchdown and a commanding lead, Roethlisberger was hit, fumbled and the Broncos returned it for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead.

It was a big momentum swing. But that's when the leadership side of Roethlisberger stood out.

Big Ben huddled his offensive line on the sideline before returning to the field, getting them ready for the next series. There was no jumping up and down like Dawkins. There was no shouting. It was Ben, looking relaxed and in control.

"I said, 'Listen, there's nothing we can do about it. Let's move on. Block the next time and we'll score.' We did."

And they made it look easy in the process.

From there, Mendenhall found gashes in the Broncos defense thanks to the offensive line, and Hines Ward caught two touchdown passes as the Steelers pulled away.

But let's not forget the defense.

Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton was 5-for-17 in the second half for a grand total of 58 yards.

He was the talk of the league for the first two months of the season, guiding Denver to a 6-0 start and throwing only one interception. We were reminded several times during the Monday night broadcast that his pick came on a Hail Mary.

The Steelers made Orton look pedestrian, picking him off three times, with one being returned 48 yards for a touchdown by Tyrone Carter.

And Troy Polamalu had two fantastic plays back-to-back when he stuffed running back Correll Buckhalter behind the line and picked off Orton on the next play.

And the capper was James Harrison's smash of Buckhalter at the end of the game that sent Buckhalter to the sideline and his mind probably into next week.

Now, let the build-up for the Bengals game begin.


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