Jump to content

Week 5 GDT: Denver Broncos (3-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)


Recommended Posts

Sunday, October 11th, 2021

Location:  Heinz Field

Time:  1 PM ET

DVOA:  Denver 15th (15th Offense; 7th Defense, 29th Special Teams);  Pittsburgh 24th (25th Offense, 22nd Defense, 22nd Special Teams)

 

So, full respect to @lomaxgrUK for taking the first 3, figured I'd fall on this sword next.

Keys to the game as I see it:

1.  Can our pass rush get to Big Ben and make him turn it over - this is not the Big Ben we've been used to seeing.  His decline into 2015 Peyton corpse territory started in the 2H of last year - and it's painfully obvious.   He cannot push the ball downfield.   So the Q is - can we take advantage?   Their retooled OL is really not playing well...at all.  That's a pretty lethal combo.  The thing is, our pass rush hasn't been that dominant - we've faced terribly easy competition until last week.   Von Miller is still the Von we know - but sadly, Malik Reed hasn't stepped up.   This graph sums it up perfectly:

Malik's getting one-on-one - and not winning.    This needs to improve, against a very suspect OL, otherwise Von's going to see double-triple teams soon.  I loved the S blitz feature with Caden Sterns, maybe we include some there - but bottom line, our D should be able to generate pressure, and get TO's.  That's matters, because...

 

2.  Can our OL bounce back vs. the PIT front 7 - let's be clear, the PIT run D is still very stout, top 10 (7th by DVOA).   And their pass rush when TJ Watt is there, is still a force to be reckoned with.   So, getting run game success and pass pro for Teddy B / Lock, is key.   The OL was miserable last week - no one gets a pass.   Can they rebound?  I do hope one o the G's comes back, because as @lomaxgrUK pointed out, the G's and especially Muti got killed in pass pro.   That's important for the next matchup...

3.  How does our speed-deprived WR/TE corps do against PIT's leaky secondary - where the PIT D can be exploited - in coverage.  Why protection is so key - their secondary is how you win.  If we had Jeudy/Hamler and a healthy Fant, I'd feel great about this matchup.   As it is, I think we should find success, but it's a lot iffier to predict, given the D doesn't need to respect the deep ball.   The trench battle and how our WR/TE's do against the secondary are likely the game swinging results. 

4. Can our ST's match Pittsburgh's - PIT usually has great ST's, so their 20's rank is shocking.   But as we've covered, we're abysmal here.   Can we at least match up and not lose badly here?   

5.  Will Teddy B return and bounce back - if fans recall, Lock's horrible struggles vs. PIT really hurt us with the pick leading to Sutton's ACL, and then him going down.   His weaknesses play right into what PIT does best - disguised looks, pressure from different areas.   Teddy B has a much better chance to handle this - I'd imagine he should get cleared if this is his 1st concussion, but always tricky to know.    If he does, let's not let him off the hook for injury vs. BAL - he wasn't playing well in that game b4 he got hurt.   Hopefully he bounces back.

6.  Can our secondary / LB's cover their WR's &  Najee Harris in the short - intermediate game - while Big Ben can't throw it deep, they have 4 viable weapons in Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Najee Harris and Juju Smith-Schuster (the latter who's becoming more of a short area guy only, the other 3 can really make magic happen with YAC).   Diontae is a big problem in beating coverage - Surtain, Fuller & co. had a real off day, do they bounce back?  This is where no Darby hurts too.

7.  Will Fangio's game management get back to Week 1, or will it be his usual bad MO - in a close game, this could be the difference.   I know it's scary when your QB play is bad, but playing to not lose fails far more in close contested games (as opposed to facing lesser teams, and taking the safe play reduces the variance helping a worse team out).    This is a matchup where clock management, and some aggression would be nice to see.   Gotta admit I'm worried after seeing it last week - could be excused Week 2-3 as not wanting to give lesser teams a chance to get a fluke bounce their way...but in close games, being aggressive usually wins out.   A huge test for Fangio if this is close, and he needs to make the tough call.


If we didn't have Jewell, Darby & Chubb out on D, and Jeudy/ Hamler, with a depleted OL and bad Big Ben, I'd love our chances.  I still think we could win this - but the early start, and that PIT D pass rush, and our lack of explosion / multi-level threats from our WR's and a gimpy Fant, I could easily see a 20-17 L (if TJ Watt is healthy, that's a problem).     Either way, going to be a massive bellweather test - we were by far the inferior team to the Ravens.   We're not by any means a lesser team to Pittsburgh's team they are throwing out there now.   Time to see if Fangio, the OL & whoever is QB can bounce back in a big way.

Edited by Broncofan
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

A trip to Pittsburgh is always scary but we really need to be winning this if we want to be a genuine playoff contender. This is an all time bad Steelers team.

 

 

I don’t see them scoring much at all on us so it’s a question of whether our offense can do just enough to win the game.

 

 

13-10 Denver. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Steelers offense is horrific. The defense will probably cause us issues, especially being on the road. I don't see this being a high scoring game in any form or fashion. It's the type of game we should win, and probably won't given the injuries. I'd love to be wrong about that one. 4-1 would be a huge morale boost all around at this point of the season.

I'll say 20-10 Pittsburgh.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Watching this with my girl's younger bro (both of which are from the burgh). Going to be very hungover and heading to third day of ACL. I need a jolt of energy and some crap to talk broncos. Hoping Teddy is healthy 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish I could be more optimistic about this game. As has been pointed out, the Steelers are severely lacking in several key areas that should be exploitable. 

The problem, however, is that the Baltimore game looked far too similar to what we've seen the previous two years of the Vic regime; poor clock management, inept play-calling and an overall poorly thought out game plan. Were the first three games a mirage or was the last one? The Steelers are an inferior team to the Ravens right now, but I do think they are still a superior team to the Giants, Jags and Jets. 

I agree with the comments that this is likely to be a boring, ugly, low-scoring game. I think the outcome could go either way but we seem to never fare well in Pittsburgh. 

Steelers 20, Broncos 16 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, champ11 said:

Watching this with my girl's younger bro (both of which are from the burgh). Going to be very hungover and heading to third day of ACL. I need a jolt of energy and some crap to talk broncos. Hoping Teddy is healthy 

Sorry to hear about the ACL - elective reconstruction?  Still a bear to get through, hope you have a PS4/5 or Xbox or something to pass the time.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Broncofan said:

Sorry to hear about the ACL - elective reconstruction?  Still a bear to get through, hope you have a PS4/5 or Xbox or something to pass the time.

Austin City Limits music festival haha, sorry bro, not clear on that one. Thankfully fully healthy, tho like I said, will be in rough shape all the same Sunday 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, champ11 said:

Austin City Limits music festival haha, sorry bro, not clear on that one. Thankfully fully healthy, tho like I said, will be in rough shape all the same Sunday 

Well that's self-induced, and temporary.   Pro tip - take some ibuprofen, and drink up on water with your good times - literally best thing for hangover prevention (actually a stronger NSAID helps more, but you need a prescription usually for that).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings from Steelers Nation to Bronco's Nation. I just posted our GDT, so please feel free to provide some insight and thoughts into the game. I enjoy seeing/reading the views of our team from others outside of the circle. I agree with many of the comments and analysis.

I think that the team who can run the ball best will win. That concerns me as a Steelers fan with injuries to Tyson Alualu and Tuitt. Double team Cam Heyward and Chris Wormley, Isaiah Buggs, and Henry Mondeaux do not strike fear in most teams offensive lineman. The Steelers run defense has shown some holes the past two weeks. You have our former OL coach who we desperately miss and he knows this team. I think h pounds the rock and the pass will open up. It's the same formula/game plan that the Bengals employed. They softened and then wore the defense down rushing and then hit some passes. The Steelers offense couldn't keep up or do anything especially when they became one dimensional.

Last year Melvin Gordon had success in the first half rushing the ball. The Steelers offense has sputtered the past two times they played the Broncos. Even the game in Denver 2018 when the Steelers offense put up nearly 500 yards of total offense. They couldn't punch the ball into the endzone. Turnovers and redzone issues killed them.  If I recall Phillip Lindsey ran for over 100 yards that game.

I know it's a new year and newly constructed teams, but with the injuries on both teams, being able to run will open some things up passing wise and slow the pass rushes that neither of our QB's want to see. Because of injuries and some defensive issues, I am predicting a higher scoring game than many. But then again, I am 1-3 in predictions with this team, so go the opposite of what I think.😁 24-19 Steelers because Denver kicks some FG's and the Steelers break a few runs with Najee Harris to open up a few passes for TD. Short passes. 😁

Ironically, I have been pounding the table for the Steelers to use the 2015 Broncos model with Peyton Manning.  Get him an OL and a rushing attack on offense. Keep the defense off the field and healthy. They are capable of being far better than average or below average statistically. I think Ben is physically in better shape than Peyton, however, Peyton has been from the neck up. 

I don't think Ben's arm is linguini or alfredo like many think. I also am not suggesting he has the arm strength of the 2016 version of Big Ben, but I think his issue is his passing touch. He can throw deep. He can throw with some velocity. He doesn't like throwing over the middle, intermediate routes (10-20 yard range), and  most of his deep passes have been to the sideline. I ask always, "What happened to the post route? Can I get an 8 or 9 route? He also has hurt ribs on his left side, no doubt that is affecting his passing as he is in pain every time he throws. I think his confidence is getting to him some as well. This could bode well for your strong secondary and pass rush. 

Ben threw a perfect pass on the opening drive when the Packers jumped offsides. Free play and he had perfect height, arc, and touch. Then later Ju Ju was wide open for scores with Ben standing in the pocket and he overshot him on both. If he takes a little off the ball..... Then again as I always say, "if I met Beyonce' before Jay Z!"😁

Forget the fact he is a talented billionaire, I am much better looking! 😝

 

I wish you the best and I hope both teams can get out of this healthy (no more injuries). 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Last year's game was uglllllly. Their interior DL just destroyed us. Hayward and Tuitt just ruined our entire gameplan, forced 1v1 matchups outside and I am pretty sure it was a Bud Dupree (legal) hit that injured Lock in that game. 

I only just read about Stephon Tuitt and why he's not playing right now. That's awful - I hope he can find a way to move on life after such a tragic incident.

Whilst I am certainly not willing to just throw away all of last week from our Defense's perspective, that was a very unique challenge. Lamar Jackson changes absolutely everything you do Defensively. You can't just play your scheme and hope you are better than him. Literally every aspect of your Defense changes.

All signs point towards Darby being back and potentially Surtain being out.

So, let's see how we bounce back against the polar opposite type of QB. As @Broncofantouched on - will someone (ANYONE) step up to provide consistent pressure in their 1v1 matchups? Malik Reed is one name, but what about DreMont Jones? Shelby Harris? Jonathan Cooper in his increased snaps? Anyone besides Von would be nice.

You correctly mentioned Special Teams. In open stadiums in harsh climate, you can often have games that see multiple return opportunities and I am pretty sure we gave a kickoff return TD to Claypool last year? It's beyond a joke we have to discuss this every week but it's relevant.

I still worry about our ability to stretch the field. Firstly, from a athleticism standpoint at WR. Secondly, from a OL protection perspective. Expect to see blitz packages, heavy boxes and the same old "go on, I dare you to throw deep on early downs" that we saw ALL of last year. 

Obviously our QB situation isn't ideal. We've either got Bridgewater playing who can't be on the practice field until Friday (I think) or Drew Lock who hasn't had reps with the 1's since Training Camp and isn't suited to an Offense that struggles to stretch the field.

I've not seen a single Steelers snap from this year so I can't offer an opinion on how the game is going to go.

Edited by lomaxgrUK
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, lomaxgrUK said:
Quote

Last year's game was uglllllly. Their interior DL just destroyed us. Hayward and Tuitt just ruined our entire gameplan, forced 1v1 matchups outside and I am pretty sure it was a Bud Dupree (legal) hit that injured Lock in that game. 

Correct on all fronts there. The Steelers defense was much healthier and intact. I recall Melvin Gordon having some decent runs and gashing the defense in the first half. Some of that may have been on the Steelers ILB play. Tuitt and Cam are monsters. The sad thing is they rarely get to play together. Tuitt has been hurt a lot and then one year Cam tore a pectoral muscle and was out the rest of the year. Definitely two of the better 3-4 type DL's. 

Quote

 

I only just read about Stephon Tuitt and why he's not playing right now. That's awful - I hope he can find a way to move on life after such a tragic incident.

Whilst I am certainly not willing to just throw away all of last week from our Defense's perspective, that was a very unique challenge. Lamar Jackson changes absolutely everything you do Defensively. You can't just play your scheme and hope you are better than him. Literally every aspect of your Defense changes.

 

We see Lamar at least twice a year and he is no doubt a spectacular athlete and QB who can give you fits even when you think you have him contained. He has helped take that franchise to the next level post Joe Flacco. The Ravens also have a lot of defensive injuries and a great coach in Harbaugh. Although, I understand that Coach Fangio wasn't too happy with him. 

Quote

All signs point towards Darby being back and potentially Surtain being out.

The Steelers passing offense has been a mess. They throw 3-5 yard patterns, check downs, or 50/50 deep balls to the left or right (never down the middle of the field). 

Quote

So, let's see how we bounce back against the polar opposite type of QB. As @Broncofantouched on - will someone (ANYONE) step up to provide consistent pressure in their 1v1 matchups? Malik Reed is one name, but what about DreMont Jones? Shelby Harris? Jonathan Cooper in his increased snaps? Anyone besides Von would be nice.

The Steelers offense self destructs at times with penalties, poor communication, missed, holes, missed blocks, and just plain old bad fortunes. If you can get them behind in the offensive down in distance, they are probably not going to convert and even the most pedestrian of rushers have given our OL problems with pressure, hits, and sacks. Ben is not comfortable with them (new OL) and he is battling some bumps, bruises, dings, and father time. 

Quote

You correctly mentioned Special Teams. In open stadiums in harsh climate, you can often have games that see multiple return opportunities and I am pretty sure we gave a kickoff return TD to Claypool last year? It's beyond a joke we have to discuss this every week but it's relevant.

Ray Ray McCloud almost broke one last year. Chase hasn't returned many kicks for us. This game could turn on a kick return, a blocked punt or fg, etc. I think the teams are that close and it could be the difference maker.

Quote

I still worry about our ability to stretch the field. Firstly, from a athleticism standpoint at WR. Secondly, from a OL protection perspective. Expect to see blitz packages, heavy boxes and the same old "go on, I dare you to throw deep on early downs" that we saw ALL of last year. 

Oddly, I don't think that the Steelers are blitzing much. They have at times (when healthy) done a good job of generating pressure without blitzing. They caught A-A-Ron once on a well disguised blitz, but for the most part (that game and all year) have tried to generate pressure with their front four. It worked very well against Buffalo. Our secondary is hungry for turnovers. With no  Tyson and Tuitt and their replacements are Wormley and Buggs, I am running to set up the pass. It has worked every other week. The Raiders, Bengals, and Packers have had success doing this.  The Steelers offense has had many three and outs and the defense gets worn down and gets gashed for a few runs. Then they get beat on a deep pass late in the half or game. 

Quote

Obviously our QB situation isn't ideal. We've either got Bridgewater playing who can't be on the practice field until Friday (I think) or Drew Lock who hasn't had reps with the 1's since Training Camp and isn't suited to an Offense that struggles to stretch the field.

I don't know what it is about this Steelers team and the back-up QB's. Jeff Driscoll torched them with some passes and actually outplayed Drew Locke in my opinion. Ryan Finley didn't do much passing in the Bengals win last year but did enough with his legs to seal a win late.  I take no QB for granted. I think this is a winnable game for both teams. It is a matter or which team plays their best football and holds onto the football. I still believe it will be won or lost in the trenches. 

 

Quote

I've not seen a single Steelers snap from this year so I can't offer an opinion on how the game is going to go.

You haven't missed much quality football. A great defensive effort against a Bills team that is killing everyone they play now. The offense is a huge work in progress. I saw some signs of life along the OL against the Bengals and Packers, but the Steelers have not played a complete game of football on both sides. The offense doesn't compliment the defense. Then the offense does something good and the defense is gassed or injured. 

I do think this is an important game for both teams and they will both be clawing and fighting to win. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/6/2021 at 3:27 AM, paul-mac said:

A trip to Pittsburgh is always scary but we really need to be winning this if we want to be a genuine playoff contender. This is an all time bad Steelers team.

 

 

I don’t see them scoring much at all on us so it’s a question of whether our offense can do just enough to win the game.

 

 

13-10 Denver. 

Is this actually a thing? Fans actually think this team can be a playoff contender in AFC? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, big_palooka said:

Is this actually a thing? Fans actually think this team can be a playoff contender in AFC? 

BP, if nothing else, I enjoy when both our teams have winning records so we can get back to the glory days of the rivalry 😁

I don't think realistic fans think this team is a *contender,* but I do think it's feasible that we're fighting for a WC spot. In part because of the weaker schedule, in part because of the defense.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, broncos67 said:

BP, if nothing else, I enjoy when both our teams have winning records so we can get back to the glory days of the rivalry 😁

I don't think realistic fans think this team is a *contender,* but I do think it's feasible that we're fighting for a WC spot. In part because of the weaker schedule, in part because of the defense.

Comes down to coaching and QB and the Broncos have neither. I can see 6 more wins on your schedule. 

Similar to the Raiders. Hot start, but fas were fooling themselves thinking their Oline would not eventually become a problem.

I feel the same way about both teams. They are good enough things stay the same. But not good enough to compete in December. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...