DENVER - The Denver Broncos took the city's minds off the Colorado Rockies for a few hours last night, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28 on
Jason Elam's 49-yard field goal as time expired.
Rookie Tim Crowder had a 50-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and Jay Cutler threw three TD passes and the Broncos (3-3), coming off their worst home loss in 41 years, looked nothing like the troubled team that had lost playmakers on both sides of the ball and whose season was threatening to unravel before the leaves had finished falling.
Suddenly able to get to the passer despite Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey (thigh) missing a game for just the third time in his career, the Broncos forced three turnovers and sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times.
The Steelers (4-2), who had allowed just five touchdowns all season, surrendered four on this night, including Cutler's throws of 15 yards to Brandon Stokley and one yard each to Tony Scheffler and Cecil Sapp.
Elam, who has the game-winner in all three of the Broncos' wins, nailed his kick to cap a seven-play, 49-yard drive that covered the final 1:10 after Pittsburgh had rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to tie it.
The Broncos, who lost running back Travis Henry for the night with bruised ribs in the third quarter, snapped a three-game skid and handed the Steelers their second loss in three games.
Pittsburgh pulled to 28-21 with a 94-yard drive capped by rookie tight end Matt Spaeth's 13-yard touchdown catch one play after Roethlisberger barely got the first down on a fourth-and-1 sneak.
Without Henry, the Broncos went three-and-out and Pittsburgh got the ball at its 22 with 7:47 left after a 61-yard punt by Todd Sauerbrun.
Roethlisberger completed all eight of his passes on the 80-yard drive, which he capped with a 12-yard TD pass to tight end Heath Miller.