Steelers Vs. Broncos: James Harrison Will Not Be Fined For Hits On Tebow, Decker

After going to overtime under the NFL's new rules, the Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers with an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the extra session.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: James Harrison Not Fined For Hits

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison will not be fined for hits on the Denver Broncos' Tim Tebow and Eric Decker last Sunday in the team's NFL Wild Card matchup, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.

Harrison was penalized for roughing Tebow on one play and hit Decker on the knees in another one. The league office has apparently decided, however, that Harrison, suspended earlier in the season for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the Cleveland Browns Colt McCoy, was within the rules in making both plays.

And so, it would appear the book is finally closed on another season of fines and suspensions for Harrison.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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NFL Playoff Schedule 2012: Divisional Round Begins In San Francisco

Minus the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 2012 NFL Playoffs continue Saturday and Sunday as teams enter divisional play. The four teams to survive Wild Card Weekend advance to take on the four teams who earned byes by virtue of finishing in the top two of their respective conferences.

The divisional round opens Saturday at 4:30 Eastern, with the New Orleans Saints visiting the San Francisco 49ers in a matchup of two 13-3 teams. FOX will broadcast that game nationally.

The scene shifts to Foxboro later that evening when Tim Tebow leads the Denver Broncos to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots at 8 Eastern. The Patriots crushed the Broncos, 41-23, in the only regular-season meeting between the teams. CBS will broadcast Saturday's rematch.

Sunday's action begins at M&T Bank Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens host the Houston Texans at 1 Eastern on CBS. In the regular-season meeting between the teams, Baltimore dominated the second half en route to a 29-14 victory.

A Sunday showdown between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers concludes the divisional round. FOX will cover that game, with kickoff set for 4:30 Eastern. The Giants nearly handed the Packers their first defeat of the season on Dec. 4, but Mason Crosby nailed a 30-yard field goal as time expired to lift Green Bay to a 38-35 win.

Here's a look at the 2012 NFL Playoffs schedule for the divisional round:

Saturday, Jan. 14

  • 4:30 PM: New Orleans Saints (NFC No. 3) at San Francisco 49ers (NFC No. 2), FOX

  • 8:00 PM: Denver Broncos (AFC No. 4) at New England Patriots (AFC No. 1), CBS

Sunday, Jan. 15

  • 1:00 PM: Houston Texans (AFC No. 3) at Baltimore Ravens (AFC No. 2), CBS

  • 4:30 PM: New York Giants (NFC No. 4) at Green Bay Packers (NFC No. 1), FOX

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Hines Ward Says He's Not Retiring Now

There were rumors earlier Monday suggesting that Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward planned to retire, but Ward piped up via his Facebook page Monday afternoon to announce that he had such such plans.

I’m also getting lots of questions about retirement so let me set the record straight: I have no plans on retiring right now. I want to win another Superbowl. I don’t know where the media is getting this info from but rest assured that when I decide to retire, you’ll hear it from ME first.

So there you have it. That may mean, however, that he’ll have to consider finishing his career elsewhere, as he might not want to do. As a Steeler, he’s probably done. He’s not the player he used to be, which at age 35 is no surprise. Also, the Steelers have lots of talent and depth at the wide receiver position, with young stars in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown and another solid youngster in Emmanuel Sanders. There isn’t much of a role for Ward in the Steelers’ offense anymore, as many Steelers games down the stretch made painfully clear.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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Steelers Players Expect Hines Ward To Retire, According To Report

Wide receiver Hines Ward's long an illustrious career with the Pittsburgh Steelers could be coming to an following the team's loss against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Mike Freeman of CBS Sports has details:

A Steelers player texted to me the expectations around the team was that Ward would soon announce his retirement. That doesn't mean it's set he will. That means some Steelers players believe it which means it's likely to happen.

Ward watched his role in the offense diminish greatly over the course of the season, falling clearly behind Pro Bowlers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown on the depth chart, and at some points, even lower. The team's push to get him over 1,000 career receptions was a struggle until he finally broke through on Jan. 1 against Cleveland.

If he does choose to return, Ward could see even less playing time than he did this season, something the future Hall of Famer might not be able to stomach. And so, if he does exit in the coming days, it will hardly be a surprise.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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2012 NFL Draft Order: Pittsburgh Steelers Will Pick 24th Overall

Prior to Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos in the 2012 NFL playoffs, the draft position for the Pittsburgh Steelers was up in the air. The Steelers finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, which under the normal draft rules would give the Steelers the No. 27 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. With the loss in the first round of the playoffs however, the Steelers will now pick No. 24 overall.

The teams in the playoffs have their draft position "reseeded" based on how they finish. Here is where the four teams who lost this weekend will pick in the upcoming draft:

21. Cincinnati Bengals - 9-7
22. Cleveland Browns (via Atlanta Falcons) - 10-6
23. Detroit Lions - 10-6
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - 12-4

This will be the earliest the Steelers have drafted since the 2010 NFL Draft, when the Steelers selected offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey with the No. 18 overall pick.

For more on the Pittsburgh Steelers, check out SB Nation's Steelers Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the NFL Draft check out Mocking The Draft.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Players React To Loss On Twitter

As the Pittsburgh Steelers players headed back into the locker room after meeting with the media, some of the players took to Twitter to respond about the game.

Ike Taylor in particular seemed to take the loss rather hard, considering he missed a tackle on the final play of the game in overtime. Taylor apparently refused to talk to the media after the game, but was seen sulking in the locker room.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Demaryius Thomas Beats Pittsburgh, But Tim Tebow Will Get All The Credit

The Denver Broncos pulled off an inexplicable victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Demaryius Thomas was the reason, not Tim Tebow.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Ike Taylor Apologizes

No one on the Steelers can feel particularly good about their first-round defeat at the hands of the 8-8 Denver Broncos, but the player who probably feels the worst is Ike Taylor. Taylor played so well during much of the season that opposing quarterbacks even avoided throwing in his direction, but he was repeatedly burned by Tim Tebow and the Broncos.

Taylor refused to talk to the press after the game, but he did issue a couple of tweets.

First off congrats too tebow and the broncos … Second I apologize for playing the worst game at the wrong time apologize to my teammates steelernation and family. Luv y’all to def

Beyond that, there probably isn’t much to say. On the first long pass to Demaryius Thomas, Taylor’s coverage was good, but Tebow had about an hour to throw, and he threw perfectly. On two other plays, though, including the touchdown pass that ended it, Taylor just got beaten.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. For coverage of the Broncos, there’s SB Nation Denver and Mile High Report.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos, NFL Wild Card 2012 Final Score: Denver Wins In OT, 29-23

The Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to Denver to take on the Denver Broncos in the 2012 NFL Wild Card round expecting the NFL's number one defense to shut down the Broncos unconventional offense. Early on in the game it did, as the Steelers injury ridden offense went down the field to take an early 6-0 lead on two drives ending in field goals.

The Broncos were persistent, however, also sporting an excellent defense that hit and harassed a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger, sacking him five times and hitting him another six times. The Broncos picked up a touchdown in the second quarter thanks to a fantastic catch by Eddie Royal on a 30-yard pass by quarterback Tim Tebow. The drive was sparked by a deep pass by Tebow to Demaryius Thomas. On the Steelers very next drive, Roethlisberger tried to get rid of the football instead of taking a sack but the ball was picked off by safety Quinton Carter setting the Broncos up in scoring range.

It didn't take long for the Broncos to add to their lead on an 8-yard run by Tim Tebow for the touchdown, putting the Broncos up 14-6 over the Steelers. Before halftime, the Broncos were able to add a couple of field goals to their lead and take a 20-6 lead into halftime. The Steelers were able to battle back in the second half however, picking up a one-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Mike Wallace put the Steelers within a touchdown of the Broncos.

Aided by a pass interference call, the Broncos were able to get in field goal range in the fourth quarter and push their lead to 23-13. Pittsburgh once again rallied back in the fourth quarter, picking up a field goal and then forcing a Willis McGahee fumble to get the ball back. With just under four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger connected with Jerricho Cotchery for a 31-yard touchdown pass to tie the game and eventually send it into overtime.

That's when Tebow connected with Thomas once again over the middle of the field, this time however it was for an 80-yard touchdown to win the game. The Broncos will travel to New England next week to take on the Patriots, while the Steelers will finally be able to get healthy and look toward next year.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Tim Tebow Wins It For Denver In Overtime On 80-Yard Touchdown Pass To Defeat Steelers 29-23

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2011-12 season ended on the first play of overtime in their Wildcard game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. Tim Tebow, who had the best passing day of his career, connected with Demaryius Thomas on yet another huge play to quickly end it. Thomas took it 80 yards down the right sideline, beating Ike Taylor and holding off Ryan Mundy to scamper in for the winning score.

The big play haunted the Steeler secondary all day, and it was their undoing in overtime. Thomas finished with four catches for 204 yards. Tebow finished with 10 completions for 316 yards.

Video of the 80-yard game-winning touchdown:

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Pittsburgh And Denver Tied At 23-23, Will Play First Overtime With New Rules

After four quarters of play at Mile High Stadium, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos are headed to overtime in the NFL's first extra session since instituting new overtime rules this offseason.

With the new rules, unless the team that receives the ball first scores a touchdown, the other team will have a chance to answer. Hypothetically, if the Steelers win the coin toss and kick a field goal, the Broncos would be given one chance to drive the field and kick a field goal to tie it or even win it with a touchdown.

If the teams are even after their first possession, the game becomes the sudden death session that most NFL fans are accustomed to.

This is the first non-sudden death overtime in the NFL's history, played between two teams that went to the first regular season overtime in 1974.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Score Update: Ryan Mundy Forces Fumble (Animated) And Ben Roethlisberger Hits Jerricho Cotchery (Video) To Tie It At 23-23

Down a touchdown and with the Broncos driving, Pittsburgh's Ryan Mundy and Cameron Heyward wrapped up Denver running back Willis McGahee and knocked the ball loose at midfield. It appeared Mundy chopped down and forced the fumble. An animated GIF of the play below:

Mcgahee_fumble_medium

Down seven, the Steelers capitalized on the giveaway to tie it up at 23-23. On two consecutive plays, Ben Roethlisberger threw it from the 31 yard line into the end zone. On the first play, it appeared that Champ Bailey would easily intercept Big Ben and force a touchback. But the ball went right through the hands of the veteran cornerback. With new life, Big Ben would scramble to his right on the subsequent play and hit Jerricho Cotchery crossing the end zone to tie it up. Ben broke the pocket on his gimpy ankle and fired a rope to the end zone.

Video of the touchdown throw to Cotchery below:

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Tim Tebow And Ben Roethlisberger Move Denver And Pittsburgh Down The Field, Broncos And Steelers Exchange Field Goals

The Denver Broncos made it a two score game taking a 23-13 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Wildcard game. Tim Tebow marched Denver down the field, responding to Pittsburgh's opening drive touchdown which had made it just a seven point game. The Broncos kept it conservative, and marched down the field primarily on the ground, eating up more than six minutes of clock. Tim Tebow gained 11 yards on a rollout, which put the ball inside the Pittsburgh 25. After an offensive pass interference call on a pick play, the Denver drive stalled at the 17 yard line and Matt Prater punched home a 35 yard field goal.

The drive, which started on Denver's own twenty yard line, was largely aided by a pass interference call on Ike Taylor. The Steeler cornerback has struggled mightily against the Broncos, but the interference call was definitely questionable. Taylor went to play the ball and ran into the wideout, but after a discussion among the officials, the interference call stood.

Pittsburgh quickly responded, as Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers went 61 yards in a little more than three minutes to make it a one score game. A 28 yard run by Isaac Redman moved the Steelers deep into Denver territory. It was another tough run by Redman, breaking several tackles on the way to the first 100 yard game of his career. Shaun Suisham hit a 37 yard field goal to match Prater.

With just under ten minutes to play, Denver leads 23-16.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Score Update: Isaac Redman And Mike Wallace Touchdown Cuts Denver's Lead To Seven

On their first possession of the second half, the Pittsburgh Steelers were giving new life by a sideline official that ruled what clearly appeared to be a backwards pass and fumble as just a Ben Roethlisberger incompletion. Denver recovered the dead ball but once the whistle blew to rule incomplete, Denver could not gain possession on a revidw.

Video of the play:

The Steelers capitalized on the possession, and marched down the field to cut the Broncos lead to 20-13. Pittsburgh kept it on the ground, to move it 87 yards down the field. The drive was capped on the first rushing touchdown of Mike Wallace's career. The Steelers brought Wallace in motion and Big Ben quickly handed and he darted around end to the corner of the end zone.

The Wallace touchdown was set up by an amazing effort from Isaac Redman, who broke through the middle of the line on a crucial third and two and went 33 yards down to the one half yard line. The play was initially ruled a touchdown, but review ruled Redman down just before the plane as he dragged a Denver defensive back to the goal line. In addition to Redman's run, a huge end-around by Antonio Brown for 18 yards put Pittsburgh in Denver territory and kept the drive moving.

It was an impressive drive after the frenetic second quarter aerial show by Tim Tebow.

Video of Wallace's touchdown:

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Score Update: Huge Second Quarter By Tim Tebow Gives Denver 20-6 Lead At The Half

The Denver Broncos lead the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-6 at the end of the first half of their AFC Wildcard game. Denver quarterback Tim Tebow continued his unexpected assault on the Steeler secondary late in the second quarter, as he hit tight end Daniel Fells for a 40 yard completion down the middle of the field. Tebow rolled to his left and it appeared that Fells was running a pure crossing pattern, which Troy Polamalu jumped and tried to break off. But Fells switched up on the crossing route and went vertical, leaving Polamalu behind and giving Tebow a nice cushion to place it in for a 40 yard gain.

Video of Tebow's pass to Fells below:

After the big catch by Fells, the Denver drive stalled inside the Pittsburgh 10, and Matt Prater came on to hit his second field goal for the 20-6 lead. Prater added a field goal earlier in the period after Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted inside the Steelers' thirty yard line. After the turnover, the Pitt defense held Tebow and company and forced the first of two field goals by Prater.

The Steelers appeared to be threatening for at least a Shaun Suisham field goal in the final minute of the half, but a bad snap by Doug Legursky resulted in a 23 yard loss and forced PIttsburgh to punt. After moving swiftly down the field on two of their first three possessions, the Steeler offense has been quiet.

As for Tebow, he is now five of 11 for 185 yards - all of it coming in the second quarter on four big plays against the Pittsburgh secondary. Denver will receive the second half kickoff.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Tim Tebow's Remarkable First Half Helps Result In Big Broncos Lead

Tim Tebow is crushing the Steelers in ways that just about no one saw coming. At the half, it's 20-6 Broncos, after one huge Tebow pass after another.

After mustering a very Tebow-like zero completions in the first quarter, Tebow has come alive, completing one deep pass after another against the Steelers secondary. First, Tebow (thanks to some help from his offensive line, which gave him about a million years to make the throw) completed a 51-yard bomb to Demaryius Thomas, beating Ike Taylor on the play. The it was a gorgeous 30-yard strike to Eddie Royal to give the Broncos the lead.

Check out SBNation.com’s coverage of the Steelers vs. Broncos matchup.

Then it was another long pass to Thomas, this one for 58 yards, on play-action to beat the excellent Taylor yet again. Then Tebow ran for a touchdown. A while later, he completed another long pass to Daniel Fells, leading to a field goal to make it 20-6.

Overall, Tebow is 5-for-11 with 185 yards and a touchdown. Before the game, I didn’t have many nice things to say about Tebow as an NFL quarterback, and I’m still not sure I do, but he certainly is a master of the improbable, and now the Steelers are in a huge hole. A miracle comeback would be amusing, given Tebow’s own tendencies for such thing, but the injury-ravaged Steelers certainly don’t look like the favorites anymore, and amazingly, Tebow’s deep passes are the main reason why.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Broncos, there’s Mile High Report.

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Tim Tebow Takes It In From Eight Yards Out (Video) To Give Broncos 14-6 Lead Over Steelers

The Denver Broncos scored their second touchdown in less than three minutes to take a 14-6 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Mile High Stadium. Tim Tebow once again connected with Demaryius Thomas, this time on a 58-yard completion. Thomas beat cornerback Ike Taylor on double move down the left side of the field. It was the second time in as many possessions that Taylor was beat for a big play to set up a Denver touchdown. This time, the catch put the Broncos right on the Steeler 12 yard line.

Video of the second Tebow-Thomas hook-up below:

Tebow would pick up the remaining twelve yards on the ground, eventually taking it up the middle for an eight-yard touchdown on a quarterback draw.

Video of the touchdown run below:

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Tim Tebow Connects With Eddie Royal For 30-Yard Touchdown (Video) As Broncos Lead Steelers 7-6

After gaining just eight yards in the first quarter, the Denver offense came to life early in the second as two deep passes by Tim Tebow quickly led them down the field. Tebow hit wide receiver Eddie Royal for a 30-yard touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone. As with all touchdowns, the play was reviewed, but Royal's knee came down well inside the sideline.

Video of the touchdown pass below:

The opportunity was set up two plays earlier when Tebow completed his first pass of the day. It was a big one, as he heaved it down the left sideline for a 51-yard completion to Demaryius Thomas.

Video of the completion to Thomas below. Ike Taylor's coverage on the play is actually pretty good, but Tebow and Thomas beat him anyway. Ike Taylor getting beaten by Tim Tebow like that has to count as one of the more surprising developments in the NFL this week.

After the quick strike, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers look to respond and re-take the lead.

Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel was injured on the touchdown.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Score Update: Tim Tebow And Denver Offense Struggle, Shaun Suisham Gives Pittsburgh 6-0 Lead After First Quarter

On their third drive against the Denver Broncos, the Pittsburgh Steelers took a 6-0 lead behind the running of Isaac Redman and the foot of Shaun Suisham. The Steeler running back got the start today after Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL last week in Cleveland, and Redman has made the most of his opportunity so far. He rushed for 28 yards on the drive, including a huge 13-yard burst up the middle on a crucial third and one for the Steelers. He's averaging almost five yards per carry so far.

After Redman moved the chains, the Pitt drive would peter out at the Denver 20 yard line. For the second time in the first quarter, kicker Shaun Suisham would come on and hit a 48-yard field goal to extend the Steeler lead to 6-0. Suisham drew it just inside the right upright.

On defense, Tim Tebow and the Broncos have been unable to get much momentum in two possessions against the Steeler defense. Willis McGahee was swallowed up behind the line of scrimmage on several occasions. The Broncos finished with just eight total yards in the first quarter. With the offense sputtering, backup quarterback Brady Quinn was seen throwing on the sideline as the quarter came to a close.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Score Update: Pittsburgh Takes A 3-0 Lead After Ben Roethlisberger Hits Heath Miller For 33 Yards

The Pittsburgh Steelers took a 3-0 lead on the opening drive of their AFC Wildcard matchup with the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger hooked up with tight end Heath Miller for two huge completions on the opening drive.

The big play of the drive was a deep pass down the middle to Miller. Roethlisberger was nailed by Robert Ayers on the play but not before he lofted it nicely into the arms of the wide open tight end who was streaking down the middle of the field. The 33-yard completion put Pittsburgh deep into Denver territory. On the previous play, Big Ben hit Miller in the right flat on third and three for a big eight yard gain that kept the chains moving.

After the big Miller completion, the Pittsburgh drive would stall at the Denver 27 yard line. Shaun Suisham came on and easily drilled a 45-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead.

Video of the 33-yard completion to Miller below:

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Injury Report: Maurkice Pouncey Inactive For AFC Wildcard Matchup

The Steelers and Broncos have released their lists of inactives as the final game of NFL Wildcard weekend approaches. Center Maurkice Pouncey is inactive for the Steelers, after irritating the ankle that he sprained against the Cleveland Browns last month. Doug Legursky will start at center for Pouncey. As expected, Ryan Clark is inactive. Mike Tomlin announced early in the week that Clark would not play because of a blood disorder that is particularly risky at high altitudes like the one in Denver.

Among the inactives for Denver are veteran safety Brian Dawkins and defensive end Derrick Harvey. Dawkins, who has been dealing with a neck injury, was ruled out this weekend.

The complete list of inactives below:

Steelers

Broncos

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Denver Quarterback Brady Quinn May Be Used In Relief Of Tim Tebow On Third Downs, According To Report

As kickoff of the Steelers wildcard matchup with the Denver Broncos approaches, there is still speculation about the developments this week that quarterback Brady Quinn may be used on Sunday to spell starter Tim Tebow. Mike Florio lit the flame with his report that Quinn's practice reps were altered this week, while Denver outlets reported that nothing had changed and there were no special plans to involve Quinn, who has never played in a regular season game with Denver.

Jay Glazer added some clarity on Sunday, tweeting that the Broncos may use Quinn in third down passing situations.

Via @JayGlazer of Fox Sports:

Plan today for Denver is if tebow struggles w bad decisions they plan to use Brady Quinn at least on 3rd downs.

Quinn has not played since 2009 when he was with AFC North rival Cleveland. If reports are accurate, it may not be such a longshot to see him take the field Sunday against the league's number one ranked defense in a playoff game.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos, 2012 NFL Playoffs: Weather In Denver Likely To Be Clear For Game

Here's a look at the weather for the Steelers' Sunday-afternoon NFL playoff matchup against the Denver Broncos. Weather.com predicts it will be partly cloudy with a high of 35 degrees and a low of 19 on Sunday, with a 20 percent chance of precipitation - likely rain - during the day. There will be light winds from the southwest. As I type this Saturday night, there is a bit of overnight snow, but that should be gone well before game time. In other words, nothing seems particularly out of the ordinary, and in fact, it's nicer weather than playoff football in Pittsburgh typically is.

The game between the Steelers and Broncos will begin at 4:30 PM and will be broadcast on CBS.

For more on the Steelers and to follow the game along with Steelers fans, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Broncos, there's Mile High Report.

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NFL Playoff Schedule 2012: Texans Vs. Ravens In Divisional Round, Steelers Will Face Patriots If Victorious

While the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to face the Denver Broncos Sunday in the final game of the 2012 NFL Wild Card Weekend, the Houston Texans are packing their bags for Baltimore and the Divisional Round of this year's playoffs courtesy of their win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Texans manhandled the Bengals on Saturday, behind the legs of Arian Foster and an opportunistic defense. Foster gained 153 yards on 24 carries, scoring twice, and defensive end J.J. Watt made an acrobatic interception that he then returned 29 yards for a touchdown in Houston's beatdown of Cincinnati.

With the win, Houston moves on to face the No. 2 seed in the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens, next weekend. The game will be played at 1:00 PM ET next Sunday, January 15.

With that matchup set, the winner of Sunday's Steelers versus Broncos contest will now travel to New England next weekend to face the AFC's No. 1 seed Patriots.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos, 2012 NFL Playoffs: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms To Call Yet Another Denver Game

The final game of the 2012 NFL Playoff Wild Card Weekend will see the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Sports Authority Field to take on the Denver Broncos, and a crew very familiar with the Broncos will be in the announce booth:

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call the Broncos-Steelers game for CBS. Four straight games for Broncos w/ that crew (who also called GB game)
Jan 02 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are CBS's No. 1 announce team, and in recent weeks have apparently been on the Broncos beat. Unfortunately for Broncos fans, Denver keeps losing with Nantz and Simms calling the game, and their sheer presence seems to be getting in some Broncos' fans heads.

It is much more likely Pittsburgh's stout defense and playoff experience will be the difference between a victory or defeat Sunday afternoon, but it appears you can now add "game announcers" to the ever-growing list of reasons why the Steelers should emerge victorious from their wild card weekend matchup.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of this matchup, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos, 2012 NFL Playoffs: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos face off on Sunday in Denver in the Wild Card round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs, with the winner advancing to face the New England Patriots next week.

The Steelers enter the game as eight- or nine-point favorites despite playing on the road, and losing starting running back Rashard Mendenhall to injury, and having a gimpy starting quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. The Broncos limped into the postseason with three straight losses and an 8-8 overall record in the regular season. As with any game involving the Broncos this year, polarizing quarterback Tim Tebow will be the story for many fans; realistically, though, the only way for the Broncos to have a shot in this one is to keep Pittsburgh's injury-riddled offense at bay.

Game Date and Time: Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, 4:30 P.M.

Location: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

TV: CBS

Radio: 102.5 WDVE and Steelers Radio Network affiliates.

To follow the game with other Steelers fans, check out SB Nation's Steelers blog, Behind The Steel Curtain. SB Nation's Broncos blog is Mile High Report.

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2012 NFL Playoff Scores: Saints, Texans Advance; Steelers Vs. Broncos Winner Will Face Patriots

Here were the NFL playoff scores from Saturday, and a look at what they mean for the Steelers going forward.

The New Orleans Saints knocked off the Detroit Lions 45-28, with Drew Brees passing for 466 yards. This means the Saints will go on to face the San Francisco 49ers next Saturday (4:30 PM; FOX), while the Green Bay Packers will await the winner of the Falcons vs. Giants matchup this Sunday.

In the AFC, the Houston Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 31-10. Andy Dalton threw three interceptions in the loss, as the departure of the sixth-seeded Bengals left the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens as the remaining AFC North representatives in the playoffs. Since the Texans are the No. 3 seed, they'll face the No. 2-seeded Ravens next Sunday (1:00 PM, CBS). That means the winner of Sunday's Steelers vs. Broncos matchup will face the Patriots in New England. Because the Bengals were the only team in the AFC with a lower seed than the Steelers, their loss also guarantees that the Steelers will play all their playoff games on the road.

SB Nation has a blog for every team.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Picks: SB Nation Thinks Steelers Will Win Sunday

SBNation.com lists its NFL Playoff Picks, and calls on bloggers from Behind The Steel Curtain and Mile High Report to pick the winner of the Steelers vs. Broncos matchup on Sunday. The Broncos writer admits flat-out that "I never pick against the Broncos," but also writes that their matchup against the Steelers should be tough sledding (before ultimately picking the Broncos because there won't be much pressure on them, or something). The Steelers writer picks the Steelers, 28-10 (which might actually be a bit ambitious, with Ben Roethlisberger banged up and Rashard Mendenhall out).

SB Nation's Joel Thorman takes the Steelers to win, 17-6. Here's his reasoning.

This game should be easy to explain, really. The Broncos overwhelmingly favor running the ball and the Steelers are a top 10 run defense. Tim Tebow's inabilities in the passing game finally end the Broncos season.

Yeah, pretty much. Anything can happen, but let's not overthink this. There is every reason to suspect that the Broncos offense will have a very tough time.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Brady Quinn's Role Unclear

Broncos quarterback Brady Quinn has denied that he's being prepared differently in practice this week, but Mike Florio continues to assert that the Broncos are getting Quinn ready to do "something" in this week's matchup against the Steelers.

Now, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Broncos have installed specific packages for Quinn premised on second-and-long and third-and-long situations.

Whether and to what extent Quinn actually plays remains unknown.

Obviously, it sounds like the Broncos are prepping Quinn to do some, you know, passing, which makes sense if you've ever seen Tim Tebow try to throw the ball.

Florio's report remains very controversial, with the Denver Post, for example, writing that, according to "three Broncos team sources," Quinn's practice routine hasn't changed at all, and Tebow is unambiguously the starting quarterback.

Quinn has never appeared in a regular-season game with the Broncos. He last appeared as a starter with the Browns in 2009.

For more on the Broncos, check out Mile High Report.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Ben Roethlisberger Limps In Practice, But Still Likely To Play

The Trib reports that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is probable for Pittsburgh's Sunday NFL playoff matchup against the Denver Broncos, but that he was still limping in practice Friday.

Roethlisberger played in two of the last three regular-season games with a high ankle sprain. Charlie Batch is expected to get the start if Roethlisberger is unable to go before the 4:30 p.m. kickoff at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.

Roethlisberger has plenty of faults, but an unwillingness to play through pain is not one of them. Limping or not, he'll be the starter in a playoff matchup.

For more on the Steelers vs. Broncos matchup, check out the StoryStream at SB Nation's NFL hub.

As we mentioned before, center Maurkice Pouncey probably will not play in Sunday's game. Doug Legursky is the likely starter at center. Cornerback Cortez Allen and running back Mewelde Moore are out.

Safety Brian Dawkins is out for Sunday's game, while fullback Spencer Larsen is listed as probable. Corner Jonathan Wilhite and safety David Bruton are questionable.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Conflicting Reports Discuss Brady Quinn's Role

Conflicting reports about the Broncos quarterback situation surfaced on Friday, painting Denver's AFC playoff game against the Steelers on Sunday with a degree of uncertainty.

Early on Friday afternoon, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported backup Brady Quinn has been splitting practice reps with starter Tim Tebow.

As Jeff Darlington of NFL.com reports, however, Quinn says little has changed about his role in practice.

Quinn also told NFL.com -- both before and after an Internet report surfaced that he "has been getting roughly half the first-team reps in practice this week" -- that his repetitions have not changed at all this week.

Via text message, Quinn said he hasn't "gotten any extra reps" in practice. Quinn reiterated his stance during a follow-up conversation after the report from ProFootballTalk.com first surfaced Friday afternoon.

And so, it will be interesting to see how things play out at quarterback for the Broncos in this game. Tebow, for all the attention he's gotten this season, has had his share of troubles, but there's been little in Brady Quinn's career to suggest he's a lock to play well, either. Sunday will certainly tell the world more.

For more on the Steelers vs. Broncos matchup, check out Behind The Steel Curtain and Mile High Report.

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NFL Injury Report, Steelers Vs. Broncos: Maurkice Pouncey Questionable, Ben Roethlisberger Probable For Wild Card Weekend

The Pittsburgh Steelers have conducted their final practice in their lead-up to their Wild Card Weekend matchup against the Denver Broncos, which is set for Sunday. Their injury report from Friday's practice follows.

Outside linebacker James Harrison (toe), defensive end Brett Keisel (groin), guard Doug Legursky (shoulder), safety Troy Polamalu (calf), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (ankle), tackle Jonathan Scott (back), and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) practiced in full on Friday and are listed as probable for Sunday's tilt at Denver.

The team lists All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) as questionable, as he did not practice Thursday or Friday and was limited Wednesday.

Neither defensive back Cortez Allen (shoulder) nor running back Mewelde Moore (knee) participated in any of the three days of practice, and so the team has ruled them out.

For more on the Steelers, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog. Check out SB Nation NFL for complete pro football coverage.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Maurkice Pouncey Will Miss Wild Card Game With Injured Ankle

For the second postseason game in a row, the Steelers will be without the keystone of their offensive line in center Maurkice Pouncey, according to this tweet by Gerry Dulac.

SB Nation confirms that Pouncey will be out, and has some ideas about how the Steelers will work to replace him.

Pouncey missed two of the Steelers final three games with the injury. His status for the game had been question but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports he will not play. Doug Legursky will likely move from guard to center and Trai Essex will enter at guard.

We'll have more on this injury and what it means for the Steelers throughout the Playoffs at SB Naiton Pittsburgh, but for more on the Steelers, visit Behind The Steel Curtain.

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2012 NFL Playoffs: Against Steelers, Broncos Fear Mike Wallace

Dejan Kovacevic reports that, as the Denver Broncos prepare for their Sunday NFL Playoff matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the opposing player on their lips is ... Mike Wallace. Which at first seems odd, since Wallace wasn't a huge factor in the second half of the regular season. (And Antonio Brown has emerged as a top target for Ben Roethlisberger as well - Brown had six catches for 90 yards last week against Cleveland, for example, while Wallace only had one catch.) The rationale, basically, is that Wallace's speed is scary.

Free safety Rahim Moore: "I know about Ben Roethlisberger. I know what Antonio Brown's done. But when I think of getting ready for the Steelers, I'm thinking about Mike Wallace. He's the fastest man I've ever seen in my life. Maybe him and Usain Bolt."

Wallace's effectiveness could partially hinge on the health of Roethlisberger, who hasn't always been accurate as he has battled injuries in recent weeks. But Kovacevic suggests other ways of working Wallace's speed back into the offense - some screens, some reverses. We'll see if Wallace can make some plays for the Steelers this weekend.

For more on the Steelers vs. Broncos matchup, check out Behind The Steel Curtain and Mile High Report.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Pittsburgh, Denver Mayors Place Friendly Bet

Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Denver mayor Michael Hancock have a bet on the outcome of their cities Steelers vs. Broncos NFL playoff matchup this weekend.

If the Steelers lose, Ravenstahl will have to wear a Broncos jersey in front of a Pittsburgh landmark and do the Tebow.

If the Broncos lose, Hancock will wear a Steelers jersey and a Terrible Towel at a public event.

Ravenstahl's end of the bargain is a lot more creative and humiliating, but that's probably in keeping with the respective teams' actual odds of winning. Ravenstahl has a pretty good shot at winning this bet. Lets hope we don't have to see Ravenstahl Tebowing.

Ravenstahl's last high-profile attempt at injecting himself into Pittsburgh's football culture, by the way, was in the new Batman movie, where he made a cameo in scene in a game the fake Steelers were playing at the fake Heinz Field. Ravenstahl appears as a kicker ... for the other team. It's good he picked the right side this time.

I'm just kidding, of course.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos, 2012 NFL Playoffs Odds: Pittsburgh Heavily Favored On The Road

Despite being banged-up and playing on the road, the Pittsburgh Steelers are nonetheless heavily favored to knock off the Denver Broncos on Sunday as part of Wild Card Weekend. According to SB Nation partner OddsShark, Pittsburgh was favored by eight points when betting opened, but the spread has increased to nine points at some sportsbooks. The over/under is steady at 34 points.

The Steelers will be without some key players Sunday, most notably leading rusher Rashard Mendenhall and safety Ryan Clark. Mendenhall suffered a season-ending knee injury in Pittsburgh's Week 17 win against the Cleveland Browns, while Clark has a blood condition that makes it dangerous to play in Denver's high altitude, so the team is holding him out as a precautionary measure. Isaac Redman will start in Mendenhall's place.

For more on the Steelers, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog. For the perspective from the other side, check out SB Nation Denver and Mile High Report, SB Nation's Broncos blog. Keep track of the entire league at SB Nation NFL, which also offers NFL odds in conjunction with OddsShark.

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2012 AFC Wild Card: Recent History Kind To Wild Card Teams, Including Pittsburgh Steelers, In Super Bowl

The Pittsburgh Steelers aim to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season, but to do so, they'll need to win three playoff games, beginning Sunday in the Wild Card round on the road against the Denver Broncos. The prospect of making a return looks slim, but when one considers recent history--as Anthony Defeo of Behind the Steel Curtain did--the path to Super Bowl XLVI doesn't look quite as daunting.

Since the league instituted its current play format in 2002, with four division winners and two Wild Card teams earning playoff berths, three Wild Card teams have advanced to the Super Bowl. The Steelers, a No. 6 seed in 2005, won three playoff games on the road, and then knocked off the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

The New York Giants followed suit in Super Bowl XLII, upsetting the unbeated New England Patriots after making the playoffs as the NFC's No. 5 team. And, as the Steelers know all too well, the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV as a No. 6 seed in the NFC, handing the Steelers a 31-25 defeat.

It's not impossible to succeed as a Wild Card team. The Steelers know that much from experience.

For more on the Steelers, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog. For the perspective from the other side, check out SB Nation Denver and Mile High Report, SB Nation's Broncos blog.

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NFL Playoff Schedule 2012, Wild Card Weekend: Steelers Vs. Broncos Caps Weekend's Games

The AFC showdown between the Denver Broncos and the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers will conclude the NFL's 2012 Wild Card Weekend schedule, as it's the fourth of four games to be played. Kickoff between Denver and Pittsburgh is scheduled for 4:30 Eastern on Sunday, with CBS set to broadcast the game nationally.

The AFC bookends Wild Card Weekend, as the Cincinnati Bengals' visit to the Houston Texans opens the 2012 proceedings Saturday at 4:30, with NBC broadcasting the game nationally. NBC also has the Saturday evening game, featuring the Detroit Lions visiting the New Orleans Saints, at 8 Eastern.

The New York Giants host the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday's first game, set for 1:00 PM Eastern on FOX nationally.

Saturday, Jan. 7

  • 4:30 PM: Cincinnati Bengals (AFC No. 6) at Houston Texans (AFC No. 3), NBC

  • 8:00 PM: Detroit Lions (NFC No. 6) at New Orleans Saints (NFC No. 3), NBC

Sunday, Jan. 8

  • 1:00 PM: Atlanta Falcons (NFC No. 5) at New York Giants (NFC No. 4), FOX

  • 4:30 PM: Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC No. 5) at Denver Broncos (AFC No. 4), CBS

The top two teams in each conference earned byes for Wild Card Weekend. In the AFC, that's the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens; the NFC's top two seeds are the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Could Steelers Be Upset In Wild Card Round?

SB Nation's editorial staff picks the Steelers vs. Broncos matchup as one that could potentially be an upset. The Steelers enter the game as heavy favorites, but with a banged-up offense, nothing is impossible.

They now face a Steelers squad that is playing without starting running back Rashard Mendenhall and still has a slightly gimpy Ben Roethlisberger. I actually think they will be fine with Isaac Redman as their feature back, but it does open the door for some struggles. I think the Broncos can keep this a sufficiently low scoring game that an upset is very possible.

I think it's probably true that, while the Broncos aren't a particularly good team, the Steelers are more vulnerable than most of their fans acknowledge. It's also true that a low-scoring game is probably key to a Broncos victory. It's just tough to imagine a scenario in which the Broncos run away with this one, because the Pittsburgh defense is so much better than the Denver offense. It is, however, possible that the Broncos defense could keep this game close, particularly with Mendenhall out and Roethlisberger gimpy. If the Broncos can play a close game, they can definitely win. The Steelers are a much better team, but a loss here definitely isn't impossible.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Broncos, there's Mile High Report.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Injury Report, 2012 AFC Wild Card: Troy Polamalu Expects To Play

The Pittsburgh Steelers hit the practice field today to get ready to take on the Denver Broncos in the first round of the NFL playoffs on Wild Card weekend. The Steelers have been banged-up lately, but they do look to get some key players back. Safety Troy Polamalu expects to be ready to go for the game. "I feel good enough to play," Polamalu said after practice.

As for some of the rest of the Steelers, linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) and offensive lineman Doug Legursky (shoulder) were full participants in practice. Center Mike Pouncey (ankle) was listed as limited. All three being available on Sunday would be a nice boon to a Steelers team that's struggled keeping guys healthy. It also sounds as if Cortez Allen will miss the game against the Broncos, as Anthony Madison expects to be playing gunner.

For more on the Steelers, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog. For the perspective from the other side, please visit SB Nation Denver and Mile High Report, SB Nation's Broncos blog.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Tim Tebow Praises Steelers

Here’s a little of what Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has to say about the Steelers in advance of the two teams’ NFL playoff matchup.

On Ben Roethlisberger:

“He’s done something that a lot of quarterbacks want to do: He’s won championships. He’s at his best in crunch time.”

On the Steeler defense:

“All 11 starters have a blitz called for them. It’s something you watch. And you always have to know where 43 is.”

Check out the Wild Card round by the numbers on SBNation.com.

Obviously, Tebow’s going to have his hands full. He’s coming off three straight losses, including two straight games in which he was thoroughly terrible. Now he’ll have to face a defense that has the chance to eat him alive. The Steelers defense would be a challenge to just about anyone, but it should be even moreso for a quarterback who simply isn’t good.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Broncos, there’s Mile High Report and SB Nation Denver.

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Ben Roethlisberger Injury Update: Pittsburgh Steelers Star Suffers 'Setback' In Right Ankle

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a "setback" to his sprained right ankle against the Cleveland Browns in Week 17, he said Wednesday, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh prevailed, 13-9, but Roethlisberger's ankle clearly limited his effectiveness. Roethlisberger completed just 23-of-40 passes for 221 yards and got sacked twice in the win. Though he didn't throw an interception, he didn't throw a touchdown, either.

Thus, Pittsburgh might find itself in some trouble in the 2012 NFL Wild Card Round when it visits Invesco Field at Mile High to take on the Denver Broncos. If Roethlisberger's ankle really has worsened--or even if it's simply failed to improve--then the Steelers face the prospect of having to win a road playoff game without their star quarterback at 100 percent. Pittsburgh struggled against mediocre teams on the road in 2011, with uninspiring performances in victories at the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland.

None of this news guarantees an upset, of course, but certainly Roethlisberger's health bears watching in the days leading up to Wild Card Weekend.

For more on the Steelers, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog. For the perspective from the other side, please visit SB Nation Denver and Mile High Report, SB Nation's Broncos blog.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Troy Polamalu Wins AFC Defensive Player Of The Week Award

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be heading to Denver this weekend to take on the Broncos in the first round of the NFL Playoffs. They wrapped up the regular season with a win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 17, but it wasn't as easy as many thought it could have been. The Steelers only scored one touchdown in that game, set up by an interception by their do-everything safety Troy Polamalu. For that pick among other reasons, Troy Polamalu was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week, according to the Tribune-Review.

Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu, whose interception set up the only touchdown in a 13-9 win at Cleveland, has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Polamalu also broke up three passes and dropped Browns quarterback for a loss after perfectly timing the snap from center and crashing through the line of scrimmage.

This is a big honor for Polamalu, but I'm sure he would trade it for a win this weekend over the Broncos.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. For the Broncos, there’s Mile High Report.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Brian Dawkins Refocuses Broncos

The Denver Broncos will host a Playoff game this weekend against the Steelers, but they aren't playing their best football as of right now. After that long winning streak in the middle of the season, the Broncos have lost their last three games in pretty terrible fashion. It would be easy to understand if the Broncos weren't feeling very confident heading into their matchup with the Steelers. But according to the Trib, Broncos captain Brian Dawkins delivered a speech that appeared to refocus the team on their goal.

Dawkins' conversation seemed to snap the Broncos out of their funk following a disheartening 7-3 loss to Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The mood in the locker room on Monday was more mellow than miffed, more focused than faltering.

It doesn't much mater how they got here, the Broncos are one of 12 teams in a single elimination tournament for the Super Bowl. That's all that matters going forward. if they can remember that and put the end of their season behind them, they will have a lot better chance at being competitive this weekend.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. For the Broncos, there’s Mile High Report.

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Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore Injuries Lead To Roster Moves For Steelers

Things are getting down to the nitty-gritty for the Steelers at running back ahead of their AFC Wild Card playoff matchup against the Broncos this coming Sunday.

Dave Bryan of Steelers Depot reports the team has promoted running back Chad Spann from the practice squad to play against Denver and that it has signed running back Albert Young to replace him on the squad. The move comes after coach Mike Tomlin announced on Tuesday that starting running back Rashard Mendenhall is out for the season with a torn ACL and with the likelihood that backup Mewelde Moore will likely be unable to go with an injured foot as well.

Spann is a rookie out of Northern Illinois. He ran for 1,388 yards and 22 touchdowns with the Huskies in 2010. Young is in his third NFL season out of Iowa. He spent the previous two years seeing limited action with the Vikings but has not played at all in 2011. In his career, he has 82 yards on 25 attempts.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Injuries: Ryan Clark Will Sit Due To Problems Playing At Altitude

Steelers safety Ryan Clark will not play this weekend in the playoffs against the Denver Broncos. Mike Tomlin decided that Clark should sit this one out. Ryan Mundy will start instead.

Clark has a sickle-cell trait that can lead to big problems if he plays at high altitude.

Clark has a sickle cell trait that could lead to one of the sickle-cell diseases and he is susceptible to damage to his organs if he exerts himself in high altitude.

In 2007, after playing in a game in Denver, Clark’s spleen shut down and he had to have it removed, along with his gall bladder, because of his condition.

It sounds like keeping him out was a common-sense decision.

Tomlin says that LaMarr Woodley and Doug Legursky should play against the Broncos. Legursky will probably be the starter at left guard. Cortez Allen and Mewelde Moore, meanwhile, are “questionable at best.” Despite injuries to Moore and Rashard Mendenhall, however, Tomlin says the Steelers will probably not attempt to sign another running back.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos Prediction: Pittsburgh Will Win, Because Tim Tebow Is A Bad Quarterback

If you're like Tim Tebow, and you can't complete a pass, you don't stand a good chance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Playoffs.

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Steelers Vs. Broncos: Tim Tebow On Steelers' Minds

The hype surrounding Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has cooled since the Broncos collapsed down the stretch, losing their last three games. By some, um, miracle, though, the Broncos still made the playoffs at 8-8, and the Steelers don’t want to look past Tebow despite his mediocre numbers, according to Scott Brown of the Trib.

“I root for the underdogs,” [James] Farrior said. “A lot of people hated on him.”

Farrior is not one of them.

“He is the guy we have to stop,” the Steelers’ defensive captain said. “No doubt about it. The guy is a winner and a competitor. He is something that we haven’t seen in a long time in a quarterback. He does a lot of things with his feet, and we have to be prepared for that.”

Tebow seemed weirdly unstoppable at one point this season, but now he’s coming off three straight losses, including games against the Bills and Chiefs in which he played horribly.

Still, it’s best not to tempt fate. Brown notes that Farrior also pointed out that the Steelers don’t want to keep Tebow in the game and give him a chance to mount one of his magical comebacks. That’s probably the right idea.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. For the Broncos, there’s Mile High Report.

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NFL Playoff Schedule 2012: Denver Broncos Host Pittsburgh Steelers On Jan. 8

The Pittsburgh Steelers wound up with the fifth seed in the AFC playoff picture and they'll travel to Denver to take on the Broncos.

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