Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Steelers

Denver Broncos Lose Again vs Free Falling Pittsburgh

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The Denver Broncos came off their worst performance of the year against the Ravens. Then laid an even bigger egg in week 4 until Pittsburgh went to prevent in the 4th quarter of a 27-19 loss.

That final score does not tell the story of just how inept and out-coached this Denver Broncos squad was Sunday morning. The Pittsburgh Steelers were coming off 3 consecutive losses and Big Ben had more INTs than TDs. All of that changed over the course of 60 minutes on Heinz Field. The Broncos would go down by 7 after an early dime from Big Ben to Diontae Johnson for 50 yards and a TD put them up 7-0 at the 12:09 mark in the first quarter. The Denver Broncos would never threaten that lead, never getting to within more than 4 points the rest of the game.

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The Broncos were so inept on offense they didn’t score their first TD until the 10:19 mark in the 4th quarter. Even that would take a bigger screw-up by the Steelers D (blowing over-the-top coverage) and an absolutely ridiculous catch by Sutton to bail out his quarterback than anything the Broncos did right. Before the 3 final drives for the Broncos, Teddy Bridgewater had less than 60 net yards and only 83 passing. Look at this tweet I put out about it:

Every Teddy Troll has tried to grill Drew Lock for his 55 net yards in 1+ quarters against the 4-game win streak Ravens who stayed blitzing against a weakened O-line. But want to give a pass to Teddy who had just as low a net yard total through 3+ quarters against a much worse Pittsburgh defense that had lost 3 in a row.

The only mistake Drew made in his half of play was a meaningless INT with 3 ticks on the clock. Teddy throws a pick in the same place in the end zone, to the same player, with the same throw, but it actually lost the game as the Broncos had a chance to tie the game with a TD and 2-point conversion. I keep hearing that “he brought them all the way back”. But he didn’t, unless they resumed the game after the INT that even the NFL record keepers missed, the Broncos are still listed at 3-2, not 4-1.

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It’s amazing to me that Teddy can lose and be called a “winner”. But Drew does better in a worse situation, and he’s a definitive bust? This is what Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Tropical Thunder meant by “you never go full retard.” I need to know why the double standard? I obviously need to be clear because people have trouble with words. I do not sit in the camp that Drew Lock is the second coming of John Elway. What I am saying is nobody knows, nobody. Eighteen, that’s the total number of starts Lock has in his career, is barely enough to fill the weeks in this year’s entire schedule. But somehow people that have never so much as seen Drew practice somehow just know he is not the man because he is sitting on the bench.

Have we all forgotten Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson? Where when they finally got into the right system (one we will not mention) they went on MVP tears or won a Super Bowl. Drew Lock is more talented than both of those men by leaps and bounds. Yet you “experts” sit here and say that Teddy had a “great game” and Drew is a scrub. Give me a break. I don’t want this to be a pure Teddy bashing session, I really have no ill will towards the player. But his fans are insufferable and idiotic.

Let’s move on from the QB position though as it was not completely Teddy’s fault. This vaunted Broncos defense has looked more like a doormat the last 2 weeks. After giving up Lamar Jackson’s 2nd ever 300-yard game last week. Big Ben found a fountain of youth and after 5 INTs in the first 4 games, gave up nothing but a lost fumble that lead to an FG by Brandon McManus in the 2nd quarter. He ended the day 15/25 for 253 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs. I know that’s not a flashy stat line. But when you allow the 32nd ranked running game (55 YPG) to go off for 147 yards. Najee Harris had 122 all by himself, the first 100-yard game for the rookie. After that, Big Ben doesn’t need to light it up, just not screw it up.

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I still don’t understand why the best pass rusher on the team was covering Chase Claypool from the slot instead of, you know, pass-rushing, is beyond me. Justin Strnad’s hesitancy in coverage and attacking the LOS during run-plays is concerning as well. If Mike Purcell misses anytime or is limited due to a back injury he suffered trying to make an insane interception in the first half. This run-D will fall off a cliff. The depth behind Purcell is light, figuratively obviously. The Denver Broncos front-7 was manhandled by a Pittsburgh O-line that was ranked dead-last in the NFL during the pre-season and has done nothing to change that before Sunday.

The Broncos have a little reprieve with the reeling Raiders coming into Denver this Sunday after the insanity that is the Jon Gruden scandal. If you would like to hear our takes on that, as well as how we feel about Javonte Williams and this Broncos rushing offense. You can listen to the Breakin’ Broncos podcast here.

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So for the second week in a row, we saw Shurmur sabotage himself by abondoning from the running game with just a 4-point deficit despite his running backs averaging more than 6 yards per carry. You saw the Pittsburgh Steelers put. on a clinic of the use of 2 and 3 TE sets. It’s amazing to see a coach look across the sidelines and say “see what you could do” and the coach on the receiving end going “but I don’t wanna!”

The Steelers have far inferior talent at the TE position when compared to the Broncos, yet their use in Denver is like a giant squid. We know they’re out there somewhere, we just don’t know exactly where. Also, can someone explain how Javonte Wiliams has 0 rushes inside the 5? This offense with Teddy looks absolutely identical to 2020 with Lock who had no offseason to prepare. Teddy has had a full offseason with the team and looked just OK when playing inferior teams.

As I have said since week 1 in this article and everywhere since. Teddy would give a lot of fools gold through the first month, then Broncos Country will claim the sky is falling by the time they played the Raiders. It didn’t even take that long. And here we stand, right where scared money gets you, desperation and people under the bus. Things will get much worse in Dove Valley before they get better.

Denver Broncos vs Pittsburgh Steelers Preview

What looked like the first start of the year for Drew Lock got a lot murkier on Friday as Teddy Bridgwater has cleared concussion protocol.

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After a tough week against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens that saw the Denver Broncos drop from 1st in Pass/Rush-D, Total D, Points Against, and Time of Possession, drop anywhere from 2nd-5th in their respective categories. The Broncos manhandled the Jaguars, Giants, and Jets through the first 3 weeks. Then hit the brick wall that was the Ravens who exploited warts across Denver’s roster the less talent-laden teams they faced beforehand simply couldn’t. I believe the latter is where the Steelers lie, and I will break down just how a Teddy or Drew lead team can escape Heinz Field with a victory.

Heinz Field is a notoriously hard place for visitors to play, regardless of the Steelers’ talent on the field. The Steelers are 400-238-9 (including playoffs), a ridiculous .625 winning percentage. But it’s not like they are blowing every opponent out, the average margin of victory is less than 4 points. Pittsburgh also holds the all-time record for winning percentage (.713) and wins (309) against visiting AFC opponents. The Denver Broncos is second on that list in wins (288) and 3rd in win% (.679). There were second in win% before the loss to the Ravens on Sunday, which put Baltimore in the 2nd spot. You may ask, how is he going to spin this into a positive for the Broncos? I’m glad you asked.

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As I stated, despite the dominance the Steelers’ all-time home record eludes too, don’t forget that small margin of victory. The Broncos all-time on the road have scored the 3rd most average points (20.2) 1.4 points behind the Patriots. That brings the average margin of victory down to 1.3 points. An easily beatable margin in a game with an oblong spheroid that tends to bounce in funny ways.

The Broncos are only 1 of 2 teams in the AFC with multiple road victories. Yes, they came against the Giants and Jags, but winning on the road in the NFL is incredibly hard. As the team with the most road victories in the AFC all-time is this Steelers franchise as well (both wins and win%) with the only winning record of 214-207-2. The Cowboys are the only other team with a winning record on the road in its own conference. All the records/stats so far are courtesy of StatMuse.

That 20.1 road points average aligns well with the Denver Broncos Offense so far in 2021 which has averaged 20.8 PPG. That’s only 21st in the league, but they face the 3rd worst offense in the league as far as PPG at 16.8 in the Steelers. The Steelers look like they may be getting back 2 of their top 3 targets in Chase Claypool and Juju Smith-Schuster. But the Steelers have the worst rushing offense (55.5 YPG/32nd), which looks at a one-dimensional game as Denver D is 5th against the run at 70 YPG. The Broncos D is also 6th against the pass even after Lamar torched them for 300+ last week. The Steelers O is 19th in passing at 258.3 YPG. All the stats in this paragraph are courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.

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The biggest thing going for Denver Offense is the Steelers Defense. The Steelers D is ranked 16th overall giving up 357.75 YPG and only has 1 INT and 5 total sacks through 4 games. That with what I said in this article, that whoever starts at QB will get guards Dalton Risner and Graham Glasnow back to improve their protection against a one-dimensional pass rush. Outside of T.J. Watt, no one really scares you. This should mean a relatively clean pocket for a QB to work out of, especially if Shurmur gets out his own way and utilizes the 2/3-TE sets that were so successful in their 3-0 start to the season.

I also do not see the Denver Broncos carrying over a misguided Cover-Zero game plan they used defensively last week. I see Denver getting back to the suffocating defense they played the first 3 weeks against another bad offense with a statue at QB. Von Miller and Co. should feast in this game. As well as the Denver running game that should be leaned on heavily regardless of the QB under center.

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Speaking of QB’s, up until Friday afternoon, this looked like Drew Lock’s first start of the year. But after Teddy practiced fully Friday after being cleared by an independent specialist earlier in the day. This worries me not as a person that wants to see Lock play. But schematically, as Drew has taken all the reps with the 1’s this week. I know Teddy was in the building and viewed practices.

But that is not the same as actually taking the reps. Then after no practice reps with the starters while at home is a stretch. Going into a hostile environment like Heinz Field is a completely different animal. This is the edge a team in desperation like the Steelers needs. This was also a serious concussion that caused Teddy to have involuntary body movements. No concussion is “small” or “little”, but this one looked nasty. Coming back in 6 days doesn’t sound like you are putting player safety first Vic.

So in summary, regardless of the QB, if the Broncos can run the rock, expand the 2/3-TE sets, and go back to the defense that dominated the first three weeks, they can win. But if they play a less than 100% Teddy, run the offense out of 3 wide sets, and continue the communication issues on the defensive back end from last week, they will lose. This is one of the closest matchups on paper in the NFL this week. But I do believe the Broncos defense will be the deciding factor in a hard fought game.

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Final Prediction:

Denver 20-Pittsburgh 13