Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak says watching all four home team's lose in the wild card round of the playoffs, "tells you it’s not about where you play, it’s how you play."
Kubiak said facing the Pittsburgh Steelers this coming Sunday will be a big test and yes, he hasn't forgotten what happened in December when the Broncos had a big lead on Pittsburgh, then lost the game in the second half.
"It was a tale of two halves for both teams," Kubiak said. "We played well as a team in the first half. They dominated the second half. This time of year, if you’re going to win, you’re going to have to play great regardless of who you play. We understand that."
"They’ve been exceptional," Kubiak said. "I know they’ve won a lot of road games this year and they’ve found a way to win close games. [Steelers QB] Ben [Roethlisberger] gets them in position to win. Very impressed with them, but we understand that and we’ll have to play as good as we can play.
Kubiak said he's looking forward to playing the Steelers and that he'll use new information since that game to prep for the next one.
"Anytime you prepare for somebody in this league, you’re very thorough in all phases," Kubiak said. "We’ve each played two or three games since then, so you take that information, you get some new information over the course of the last few weeks and get ready to play."
Kubiak also talked about naming Peyton Manning as the starting quarterback for Sunday. He said it wasn't about experience, it was about health.
"It was about his health and how I thought he was playing and preparing and where he’s at right now," Kubiak said. "Strictly that."
He did admit, the games during the playoffs are different.
"To me, they really speed up," Kubiak said. "Obviously the emphasis on any given play is just so big. One of the things that stood out to me this weekend—not a lot of offense. When you watch—there was one game where there wasn’t even 400 yards of offense between two teams. A lot of great defensive football teams in the tournament right now, so to speak. You’ve got to play well, you’ve got to protect the ball and you’ve got to do all the little things if you expect to win this time of year."
Kubiak said he expects a physical game Sunday.
"You’re going to get everybody’s best," Kubiak said. "We understand that.”
"Of course we want to avenge our loss, but it’s the playoffs now," said defensive end Malik Jackson. "It’s not regular season. We just have to go out there, be smart and do what we know how to do, play within ourselves and our defense. We just can’t go out there and make dumb penalties."
"You kind of remember what they kind of like to do in certain situations and things like that," said cornerback Bradley Roby. "It's definitely good that we just played them."
The Broncos-Steelers game is Sunday at 2:40 p.m. MT.