Denver — Nose tackle Shelby Harris picked off Ben Roethlisberger’s 2-yard pass to Antonio Brown in the end zone with 1:03 remaining to seal Denver’s 24-17 win over Pittsburgh that snapped the Steelers’ six-game winning streak Sunday.
“I never thought in a million years a defensive lineman would get blocked off the ball that far, right into an interception,” Roethlisberger said. “But, good play by him. A.B. was coming, I just never thought that guy would make that play.”
Why not, wondered Harris.
“I got to prove to everyone that I have the best hands on the team,” he said.
Harris, who missed Friday’s practice for the birth of his daughter, kept the football from his first career interception and was going to take it to the hospital when he went to see his wife and baby afterward.
Roethlisberger said he never saw Harris.
“No, not at all. He’s not dropping. He got blocked right into the play so there’s no way to ever think he’s going to make that play,” Roethlisberger said. “Of all the interceptions I’ve thrown it’s one of the most fluky I’ve been associated with.”
The Broncos (5-6) used four takeaways to counter a 97-yard touchdown toss from Roethlisberger to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“It’s going to be a quiet plane ride home,” Smith-Schuster said after the Steelers (7-3-1) lost for the first time since September.
Roethlisberger was 41 of 56 for 462 yards, but was intercepted twice and the Steelers lost two fumbles.
Phillip Lindsay rushed for 110 yards and the game-deciding touchdown on just 14 carries for Denver, which also ended the Chargers’ six-game winning streak last week and would have snapped Houston’s five-game roll were it not for a missed field goal as time expired.
Cornerback Bradley Roby and safety Darian Stewart were burned on Smith-Schuster’s long touchdown grab, but they made up for it when they teamed up on the final play of the third quarter for Denver’s third takeaway.
Roby forced James Conner to cough up the football after a 23-yard gain and Stewart recovered it at the Denver 21. The Broncos then went 79 yards in 11 plays, with Lindsay scoring from 2 yards to break a 17-17 tie.
Earlier in the third quarter, Roethlisberger was backed up into his own end zone after the Broncos downed a punt at the 3, and he was knocked down by Harris as he uncorked the pass while backpedaling.
Smith-Schuster, who raced past Roby, hauled it in at the Pittsburgh 35, then evaded Roby and Stewart the rest of the way, stiff-arming Stewart to the ground in front of the Broncos bench.
Roby tripped over Stewart and both watched from the ground as Smith-Schuster scored to break a 10-10 halftime tie.