The Broncos unexpectedly got another home game when the Pittsburgh Steelers upset Indianapolis on Sunday. But the Broncos respect the Steelers and aren't taking a victory for granted.
"This is something we worked for, to have that bye and to have home-field advantage, but it doesn't win you football games," Broncos safety John Lynch said. "The longer you play in this league, you understand you have to go win football games. You got to go out-execute your opponent."
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he was impressed watching the Steelers handle the Colts on Sunday. Pittsburgh controlled the game and held on in the end to win.
"There's a good reason they went into Indy and beat Indy, and really had a chance to dominate the game," Shanahan said. "Other than a few calls here and there, they dominated the game."
Denver does feel pretty good about getting another game at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Broncos said before Sunday's games that they would openly be rooting for Pittsburgh to beat Indianapolis. They said they didn't mean any disrespect to Pittsburgh, but they are undefeated at home this season and wanted to host the AFC title game.
"That's what you work for, to try to get home-field advantage," Shanahan said. "We felt very fortunate to get a game back here. Pittsburgh's one heck of a football team but obviously if you had your druthers you'd rather be at home."
-- Like most NFL fans around the country, the Broncos had a wild ride on Sunday watching the final minutes of Pittsburgh's win at Indianapolis. Denver wanted the Steelers to win so they could host Sunday's AFC Championship Game, which made the ending pretty dramatic.
"I watched it all," Broncos safety John Lynch said. "I felt like I played another game after I watched that."
-- With Indianapolis and New England out of the playoffs, suddenly the Broncos might be the best team remaining in the postseason, although they haven't gotten a lot of attention all season. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he didn't care too much about the perception of his team.
"I think we've been down that road before," Shanahan said. "It really doesn't matter what people say until you get to the playoffs, and once you get to the playoffs, it doesn't really count what you've done in the past, it's what you do during the playoffs."
-- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he and Steelers coach Bill Cowher have been friends for many years, dating back to when Shanahan interviewed for Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator job in 1992. Shanahan chose San Francisco over Pittsburgh and two years later he got the head coaching job in Denver.
"I just have a lot of admiration for what he's done and how he handles himself," Shanahan said of Cowher.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--CB Darrent Williams said he didn't feel great against New England and his injured groin won't be 100 percent all season. But Williams said he feels good enough to play and will continue to play through the injury.
--C Tom Nalen will once again be a big part of Denver's running attack. He will again be covered by a nose tackle in Pittsburgh's 3-4 defensive alignment. Denver's last two games were also against 3-4 defenses.
--S John Lynch is being used in many different ways by the Broncos. Denver has used him often to blitz, but he can also drop back and be the lone safety deep downfield.
--TE Jeb Putzier had another solid game against New England. Putzier presents unique matchup problems because he has more speed than most tight ends but is too big for a cornerback to handle.
--LB Al Wilson played through a broken thumb. He said the thumb didn't bother him, but he did drop an interception that he normally would have had a chance to catch. Wilson said the only part of his game that would be affected by wearing a cast was catching a pass.
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