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Steeler Hitman

2020 Week Two GDT Steelers vs. Broncos

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Who: 1-0 Pittsburgh Steelers home opener versus 0-1 Denver Broncos

When: Sunday, September 20, 2020 @ 1 pm EST

Where: Heinz Field Pittsburgh, PA

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Steelers vs Broncos Series History:  The Broncos hold a 20-11-1 series advantage over the Steelers including winning 4 of the last 5 meetings (those four games were also in Denver). Last game was won by the Broncos in 2018 (also in Denver) 24-17. A game that the Steelers out-gained the Broncos in yardage 527 - 308. They lost the turnover battle and most importantly a shot at a the win. Last game in Pittsburgh (2015 season) was won by the Steelers in dramatic fashion 34 - 27. After being down 27 - 10 the Steelers stormed back and scored 24 unanswered points and shut the Broncos out in the second half 21-0.  Big Ben threw three TD's to Markus Wheaton and two to AB including the game winner. 

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Steelers Offensive Game Plan

1. Establish he run again.  The Steelers did a great job of not abandoning the rushing attack and becoming one dimensional. The Giants huge interior DL gave the Steelers OL some fits early and there was very little room to consistently run the ball.  The coaches made some adjustments and Benny Snell's downhill style actually boosted the rushing attack and allowed the passing game to make an impact.  I would like to see some more play action passes. You have to run to do this.

2. Ball Security. This always seems to be an issue versus the Broncos, especially in the losses. The Steelers must not give the ball away. Ben did a solid job of keeping the ball out of the opposing defenses hands. Our RB's must concentrate and hold onto the ball and avoid tipped passes that go for int's. 

3. Patience and adjustments. Some teams just historically match up well with you. Don't give the game away as in the past. Stick to your plan and be disciplined. The Steelers did not have a lot of pre-snap penalties and drive stretching penalties (the early PI on Joe Haden was a horrible call).  Play smart and disciplined football. See what Denver is doing and adjust accordingly if your game plan is not successful. 

4. Mix it up on first down. The majority of first down plays in New York were runs. Nothing wrong with that, but you have to not be predictable as well. There were a few times that the play action may have been effective in the same situation. Get the ball to some of your other weapons: Ju Ju, Ebron, Vance, Washington and Johnson. 

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5. Jump on them early and often. The Broncos are coming off a close home game loss, on a short week, and traveling to the EST for an early game.  It's early in the season, but use that to your advantage. Take Denver out of their game plan by putting pressure on their defense. Attack, attack and attack. In 2019 this team never had an opening drive TD or enjoyed playing with a huge lead. With our defense, that could spell a long afternoon for the Broncos. 

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Steelers Defensive Game Plan

1. Stop the run. In 2018 Phillip Lindsey ran wild over the Steelers defense. They added Melvin Gordon to give the Broncos a very capable 1-2 punch of running the ball effectively and making it easier to convert third downs for the young, but very capable Drew Stanton at QB.The Broncos OL has always been very solid and versatile in being able to move defenders and protect the QB. The Steelers DL and LB'ers will have a much stiffer test/resistance from the Broncos OL at the LOS. While neither of these RB's are Saquaan, both can hurt you running or catching, so you have to stay disciplined. Penetrate early and often to disrupt Gordon or Lindsey before they can get going is the best run defense. 

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2. Great game for our secondary to bounce back.  Giants OC Jason Garrett had the Steelers defense on its heels at times with quick throws from Daniel Jones and limiting the pass rush of Dupree and Watt from wrecking anymore havoc than they did. The Steelers run defense was stellar and Nelson, Haden, Minkah and Edmonds did not have one of their typically stellar games. Mike Hilton made an impact in the run blitzing attack and getting a sack on Daniel Jones. Denver is young, but has some speed and a solid QB.  This is game where Minkah may be able to disguise what he is doing and hopefully Edmonds can make a splash play or two with all of his physical talents. 

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3. Don't let TE Noah Fant run wild. The Steelers did a solid job of defending both Giant TE's, but I think the Giants also made a mistake in not trying to exploit this more. I think they got a little caught up with trying to throw on the outside. The Broncos also have former Seahawk and Steeler Nick Vannett, Jake Butt and rookie Albert O.  If I am Denver, I might employ some two and three TE sets to run and pass from. Fant can certainly kill you over the top, but I think the other three can hurt you underneath. Especially Vannett whom I see as being very capable.  

4. Get off the field on third downs.  The Steelers did an exceptional job stuffing the Giants run on first and second downs. In the third quarter they had problems getting off the field and when the Giants had success, they converted a key third down (Phantom PI call on Haden withstanding). 🤬The offense showed that it can play balanced football, so give them the ball and more opportunities to put points up for the team.

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Steelers Special Teams are "Special" and not Exceptional.  The New York Giants won the battle of special teams coverage, returns, punting and kicking. 

1. Boz missed his first EP in more than a season. However, he also has a new holder and it was typical Boz after the missed EP that fortunately did not come back to haunt the Steelers. Boz knows Heinz Field and will kick well. I expect the work with the holder will improve. McManus has a strong leg and is use to utilizing the Mile High Stadium advantage.  The winds at Heinz Field can be crazy. McManus missed an EP in 2015 at Heinz Field. 

2. Punting can be a curse or advantageous to both kickers. Colquitt has been around forever and has kicked here in regular season games and pre-season dating back to 2005. Sam Martin kicked in Pittsburgh a few times during a pre-season game and when the Steelers played the Lions at home in 2013. He kicked well with 50.7 yard average. The difference may be in which punter can allow his coverage teams to get downfield first. Colquitt kicked some returnable punts last week and Jabril Peppers nearly broke one and had some success on returns as a result.

3. Coverage Teams and Returns - - Ironically a penalty on a PR in the last game at Heinz Field probably changed the outcome for the better for Pittsburgh. If I recall, the Broncos broke a PR for a TD that was called back and never again saw the end zone. Worst part of the Steelers game versus the Giants. Peppers outplayed Johnson in returns and the Giants coverage teams seemed to be a little better at attacking the return man.

4. Keep an eye out on Ray Ray McCloud. He looks to be very explosive and could  get loose on a KOR. Not that I want the Steelers returning a lot of kick offs. Hopefully he does well in his one or two opportunities.🤪

 

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Prediction: In the immortal words of Clubber Lang, "Pain!" Will the Broncos continue to be a PAIN in the side of the Steelers or will the Steelers use some home cooking to start out 2 - 0 for the first time since 2017 and send send Denver back home 0 - 2? Either way, someone will be hurting by 4:15 pm or so Sunday.

Steelers over Broncos 33 - 24 Steelers nation is happy at 2 - 0 and 0-2 Denver will be search of their first win of 2020. Pittsburgh seeks a little home-cooking payback. It won't be easy, but then again it never is with the Steelers. 

Wednesday Injury Report to come: Zach Banner is confirmed out as the Steelers signed former fourth round draft choice Gerald Hawkins from the Texans PS. Banner will have surgery on Friday(09/18/20). Awaiting confirmation on OL Wiz and RB Connor. Coach Tomlin stated at his Tuesday Press conference that their injuries "may not" be as bad as first thought. He is also waiting to see if DeCastro will be able to practice this week. See corresponding posts below.

Edited by Steeler Hitman
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if there are any details on injuries, would it be preferred to include them  here in the GTD threads?

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feel confident about this game. although I am concerned about the O-line and no fans will be a bummer. I think our D will overwhelm a young Den offense and since we now have a NFL offense again.. I like the steelers 27-14

Edited by August4th

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anyone else think this will be a low scoring game ? I don't know what I see for a score, but if denver has a decent pass defence, it could be down to the running game.  I expect t Snell to have 20+ carries.  

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17 hours ago, 3rivers said:

if there are any details on injuries, would it be preferred to include them  here in the GTD threads?

I can always add injuries to the GTD. Good suggestion. I also do not typically finish these in one sitting so to speak. I do them between work and other projects. I would love any additional ideas and or suggestions. 

 

Quote

anyone else think this will be a low scoring game ? I don't know what I see for a score, but if denver has a decent pass defence, it could be down to the running game.  I expect t Snell to have 20+ carries.  

You never know with the Steelers. However, if the weather conditions are fine, I can see this team putting up some points. Prior to the Ben injury, we would talk about Home Ben and Road Ben. The offense typically puts up more points and has been more explosive at home. Even in losses, it was usually more lack of defense stopping someone than our offense scoring KC game of a few years back comes immediately to mind.  

Edited by Steeler Hitman
Working on Gameday Thread

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I thought Phillip Lindsay was hurt? But anyways after the performance against a top 3 back I’m not too worried. Especially if Sutton and Hamler are out again. Means focus on Fant. 

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4 minutes ago, warfelg said:

I thought Phillip Lindsay was hurt? But anyways after the performance against a top 3 back I’m not too worried. Especially if Sutton and Hamler are out again. Means focus on Fant. 

I think the first official NFL injury reports come out each week on Wednesday. Then they are updated daily until game day/time. 

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1 hour ago, Steeler Hitman said:

I think the first official NFL injury reports come out each week on Wednesday. Then they are updated daily until game day/time. 

 

Edited by warfelg
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36 minutes ago, jebrick said:

It is turf toe on  a RB.  He will be on IR in 3-4 weeks

 

He torched us last time we played, granted that was a while ago. I wouldn't be upset if he didn't play.

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4 hours ago, warfelg said:

I thought Phillip Lindsay was hurt? But anyways after the performance against a top 3 back I’m not too worried. Especially if Sutton and Hamler are out again. Means focus on Fant. 

He is hurt but will he play and if so how effective. AJ Bouye is out, that's a break we need to help the passing game. I still hope we run Snell 25 times. 

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19 hours ago, warfelg said:

 

Here's a link on Steelers Depot with the Wednesday practice report.

https://steelersdepot.com/2020/09/steelers-wednesday-injury-report-week-two-decastro-several-others-fail-to-practice/

Also courtesy of Pittsburgh Steelers News & Updates & Schedules FB Group web post

Pittsburgh Steelers Participation/Injury Report, Week 2
Wednesday, September 16
QB Ben Roethlisberger (Coach's Decision) - DNP
WR Diontae Johnson (Toe) - DNP
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Knee) - DNP
RB James Conner (Ankle) - DNP
C Maurkice Pouncey (Coach's Decision) - DNP
G Stefan Wisniewski (Chest) - DNP
G David Decastro (Knee) - DNP
T Zach Banner (Knee) - DNP
T Alejandro Villanueva (Illness) - DNP
DE Stephon Tuitt (Achilles) - DNP
Denver Broncos Participation/Injury Report, Week 2
Wednesday, September 16
ILB Mark Barron (Hamstring) - DNP
CB A.J. Bouye (Shoulder) - DNP
S Kareem Jackson (NIR) - DNP
RB Phillip Lindsay (Toe) - DNP
T Garrett Bolles (Elbow) - Limited
WR Tyrie Cleveland (Hip) - Limited
S Trey Marshall (Wrist) - Limited
WR Courtland Sutton (Shoulder) - Limited
OLB Bradley Chubb (Knee) - Full
WR KJ Hamler (Hamstring) - Full
TE Albert Okwuegbunam (Hip) - Full
 
Heard this morning (Thursday, 9/17/20) via Sirrius XM Radio broadcast that the Broncos placed CB AJ Bouye on IR

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for a class that did not have a lot of picks, we're already getting playing time out of them. Claypool, Highsmith and now Dotson and hopefully Mcfarland dresses soon

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