Steelers Look to 2016 Season After Playoff Loss

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During the AFC Divisional Round on Jan. 17, 2016, wide receiver #10 of the Broncos, Emmanuel Sanders, tries to get past defensive back Ross Cockrell, #31 of the Steelers (Photo Courtesy of Flickr.com).

by Monica Fiore (Staff Writer and Reporter)

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa.- It was a sad night for Pittsburgh fans on Sunday, Jan. 17 when the Pittsburgh Steelers were forced to pack their bags and head home after the Denver Broncos captured the win for the AFC Divisional Round game, with a score of 23-16. The first score of the game gave the Broncos a 6 point lead, after missing the extra point attempt. However, by the end of the first quarter, the Steelers were ahead by one point, with the score being 7-6, with Steelers fans excited as usual.

Megan Bardolph, Assistant Professor of English, who is not only new to the Penn State campus, but to being a Steelers fan, gave her point of view on being a new Steelers fan. “After being here for five months, I feel a real energy in the city when the Steelers are playing. I’m happy to adopt the Steelers as my second favorite football team,” Bardolph stated. Professor Bardolph teaches Rhetoric and Composition at PSNK, but is originally from Detroit, Michigan, “The Steelers definitely have more paraphernalia. Every article of clothing I see on game day is Steelers related which is something you don’t see in Detroit. It’s exciting!”

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ placekicker Chris Boswell was able to score a field goal during the second quarter, making the score 10-6 in favor of the Steelers. By the end of the second quarter, Pittsburgh was still ahead with a one point lead when the score was 10-9 after the Broncos’ placekicker Brandon McManus scored a field goal.

During the third quarter, Steelers’ wide receiver Martavis Bryant was in the end zone ready to catch the ball and score a touchdown that may have changed the outcome of the game, but Broncos’ player Aqib Talib interfered from behind, resulting in the drop of the ball and no touchdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two field goals were scored during the third quarter from both placekickers, Chris Boswell (Steelers) and Brandon McManus (Broncos). The score at the end of the third quarter was 13-12 in favor of the Steelers.

The Broncos managed to stay one point behind the Steelers at the end of each quarter. However, the fourth quarter is where it went uphill for the Broncos and downhill for the Steelers. With three minutes left on the clock, Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning threw a pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for a two point conversion, leaving the score 20-13 with the Broncos in the lead. Fast-forward down to the 0:53 seconds mark where Brandon McManus kicks a field goal for the Broncos, with the score now 23-13. 0:19 on the clock, Chris Boswell kicks a field goal, which may have tied the score if the Steelers had scored the touchdown back in the third quarter.

With a field goal that left the Broncos with a 7 point lead and slim chances of the Steelers being able to make a comeback with only 0:14 seconds left on the game clock, the Broncos took a knee on the next play, were able to run the remaining time on the clock, and took the win of the evening against the Steelers. With the win, the Broncos headed to the AFC Championship Game where they defeated the New England Patriots on Jan. 24, 2016.

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin got tearful at the press conference that followed after the game. “We fought hard, just not enough today,” Tomlin said. “I appreciate the efforts of our football team. There can only be one [champion]…and this year, it’s not us.”

The Steelers almost did not make it to the AFC Divisional Round. The previous week, an outrageous game against the Cincinnati Bengals was played, with an outcome of 18-16, with the Steelers barely capturing a win. With a minute left in the fourth quarter, the score was 16-15 Bengals and the Steelers were 47 yards from their end zone. However, with a major hit from Vontaze Burfict to Antonio Brown and Adam Jones’ altercation with Joey Porter, the Steelers were put ahead 30 yards, leaving them at the 17 yard line. The Steelers then won the game with a field goal.

Roethlisberger’s shoulder injury from the Bengals game left the Broncos wondering if it was a fake injury or not. “I personally think he’s one of the most underrated quarterbacks in history,” said Adam Johnson, a freshman at Penn State New Kensington. “The guy led us to two Superbowl Championships and I don’t believe the league gives him enough credit.”

The Steelers may have lost, but there is always next year. “They don’t call it ‘six-burgh’ for nothing,” said Bardolph. “I was hoping they’d make it ‘seven-burgh.'”

The Steelers kick off the 2016 season on Sept. 11 with the opposing team to be announced. It was announced on Feb 2, 2016 that the Steelers have officially signed formed Chicago Bears’ wide receiver Levi Norwood. Norwood played college football at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Norwood’s father is a Penn State alumni and Baylor assistant coach of football. Norwood’s brother, Jordan Norwood, ironically, plays as a wide received for the Denver Broncos.

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