DENVER (AP) — Von Miller channeled Bill Belichick after the Denver Broncos’ stirring 24-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He finished all six of his answers in his poker-faced postgame news conference by saying, it’s “on to Cincinnati.”
The surging Broncos (5-6) visit the sliding Bengals (5-6), who have lost five of six, next weekend in what looks like quite a respite from the difficult schedule they’ve faced so far.
Entering Week 12, the Broncos had played the league’s toughest schedule with their opponents combining for a 66-46-1 record for a lofty .588 winning percentage.
After hanging tough against the league’s heavyweights, losing by a combined 12 points to the Chiefs (twice), Rams and Texans, the Broncos have snapped back-to-back six-game winning streaks by the Chargers and Steelers.
On Sunday, they handed the Steelers (7-3-1) their first loss since September and just their second in the last 18 regular-season road games when nose tackle Shelby Harris picked off Ben Roethlisberger’s 2-yard pass to Antonio Brown in the end zone with just over a minute remaining .
“It was a great team win,” Miller mono-toned. “On to Cincinnati.”
The Steelers were the third consecutive opponent to bring a winning streak of at least five games into their matchup with Denver, and although Roethlisberger threw for 462 yards, the Broncos had four takeaways.
Will Parks saved a touchdown by punching the ball out of the end zone as tight end Xavier Grimble was about to score on a 24-yard catch-and-run. Chris Harris Jr. intercepted a pass intended for Antonio Brown. Bradley Roby and Darian Stewart, burned on JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 97-yard TD catch, teamed up to get the ball from running back James Connor.
And Shelby Harris capped the night with his first career interception 48 hours after missing practice to attend the birth of his daughter.
“We had a great win today, great team win,” Miller said, staring straight ahead, seemingly emotionless. “Shelby had an incredible day. But it’s on to Cincinnati.”
The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the last team to face the sort of three-game test the Broncos just did, wrapping up an 0-14 season with losses to the Raiders, Steelers and Patriots by an average of 40-10.
And the Broncos are the first team since the 2005 Steelers to snap consecutive win streaks of at least six games in back-to-back weekends.
The Broncos nearly swept their three red-hot opponents
“We should have,” safety Darian Stewart said. “We should have.”
Brandon McManus missed a 51-yard field goal as time expired against the Texans, allowing Houston to escape 19-17 before bouncing back last week to beat the Chargers on a field goal as time expired.
Chris Harris Jr. said the Broncos are flame-tested and ready to make a push against a schedule that lightens up considerably.
Their next four opponents — Cincinnati, San Francisco, Cleveland and Oakland — are a combined 13-30-1 before a finale against the 8-3 Chargers, whom they beat last week.
“We like where we are,” Stewart said. “We’ve played the best of the best all year. We’ve got the hardest schedule in the league and these guys keep fighting. We’re built for it. This defense is built to stop anybody in this league.
“You saw the game last week with L.A. and K.C., all those points put up,” Stewart said of the 104-point explosion by teams that averaged just 26 points against Denver. “This defense is steady and we’re going to fight.”
Miller tied a career high by extending his sack streak to six straight games.
“We played great defense,” Miller said. “We played great offense. Great team win.
“It’s on to Cincinnati.”
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)