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Broncos Back On The Field - A Sneak Peek At The Steelers


Date: Sunday, October 21, 2007

Time: 2:15 p.m. MST

Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at Denver Broncos (2-3)

Location: Invesco Field @ MileHigh - Denver, CO


Photo of the Week --

The Broncos play the Steelers,
known for Dick LeBeau's aggressive 3-4 scheme.
30 years ago this week, SI did a feature on the 3-4 defense,
starring none other than our Denver Broncos.
The Broncos got back to work on Monday, returning to the practice field after a weekend off to rest, to heal, and most importantly to reflect on what needs to happed the final 11 games of this season if the Broncos are going to save their season.  It certainly was nice to see Javon Walker get back on the field, though that was tempered a bit by the absence of Champ Bailey.  Bailey says he'll be ready  for Sunday and he'd better be, the Broncos will need a full compliment of players if they are going to beat a solid Steelers team.

Before I move forward, I'd be remiss if I didn't congratulate the 2007 National League Champion Colorado Rockies.  I don't live in the City of Denver, but have grown very fond of the city through several trips there.  The sports fans are as passionate as any fans anywhere, and have bought into the Rockies hook, line and sinker.  A shout out as well to loyal MHR reader RussPR, who is also one of the head bloggers over at Purple Row, a Rockies blog, and a fan through the good times and bad, mostly bad.

Trivia Question -- What do the Manning Brothers have to do with the Rockies??  Answer Below....

Time to go full-steam ahead towards the Steelers, the Broncos first appearance in Prime-time in 2007.  It is the first of back-to-back prime-time home games, with the Packers coming to town on October 29th.  

Here are some early notes about the Steelers --

For the first time since 1997, the Broncos' opponent coming off their bye week (Pittsburgh) also will be coming off its bye week...

The Broncos' 14-4 (.778) record after the bye week (since 1990) ties for the best mark in the NFL with Minnesota and Philadelphia, and the club is 10-2 (.833) in these games played at home...

Denver is 9-3 after the bye under Head Coach Mike Shanahan (1995-Pres.) and has won its last four such games...

Denver is 13-8 (.619) all-time when facing a team coming off its bye week and will look to improve that mark on Oct. 21 vs. Pittsburgh and on Oct. 29 vs. Green Bay--Those two contests will mark the first time since 1997 that the Broncos will play consecutive games against teams coming off their bye week...

The Broncos own a better winning percentage (.646 / 62-34) in games played after their bye week than in games played before (.624/ 63-38) since the bye was introduced in 1990...

Denver owns a 12-6-1 (.658) all-time regular-season record against Pittsburgh, which it will face after the bye, and is 6-2-1 against the Steelers in home games... Denver has won its last two regular-season games and four of its last five such contests against Pittsburgh, including a 31-20 road win last year...

The Steelers are the Broncos' most common postseason opponent with the two clubs facing each other six times in the playoffs--The Broncos have a 3-3 record in those games, including a 34-17 loss in the AFC Championship Game during the 2005 season in Pittsburgh's most recent visit to Denver...

Here are some specific things to watch for on Sunday Night --

TEAM (14-4 REC. AFTER BYE) - Can improve its 14-4 record in the game after the bye week with a victory. That .778 winning percentage after the bye ties for the best in the NFL since the bye week was introduced in 1990.

TEAM (4 CONSEC. WINS AFTER BYE) - Can win its fifth consecutive game after the bye week with a victory.

MIKE SHANAHAN (99 HOME GAMES) - Is set to coach his 100th career regular-season home game as Denver's head coach (75-24 record through 99 games).

CB CHAMP BAILEY (22 INTS) - Needs two interceptions to tie Steve Atwater (24) for eighth and four to tie Louis Wright (26) for seventh in Broncos history in career interceptions.

CB CHAMP BAILEY (301 INT YDS.) - Needs 34 interception return yards to tie Randy Gradishar (335) for 10th, 39 to tie Tom Jackson (340) for ninth and 59 to tie Louis Wright for eighth in Broncos history in career interception return yards.

CB CHAMP BAILEY (3 INT RET. FOR TDS) - Needs one interception returned for a touchdown to tie Tyrone Braxton (4) and Mike Harden (4) for the most interceptions returned for a touchdown in Broncos history.

QB JAY CUTLER (60% COMP PCT. IN 4 CONSEC. GMS.) - Can extend his personal-best four-game streak of having a completion percentage of at least 60 percent.

DE ELVIS DUMERVIL (2 MULTI-SACK GMS.) - Can become the first Bronco since Bert Berry and Trevor Pryce in 2003 to post at least three multiple-sack games in the same season with 1.5 sacks.

K JASON ELAM (471 FGA) - Needs six field goal attempts to tie Norm Johnson (477) for ninth in NFL history in career field goal attempts.

K JASON ELAM (377 FGM) - Needs six field goals made to tie Nick Lowery (383) for fifth in NFL history in career field goals made.

K JASON ELAM (577 PATA) - Needs seven extra point attempts to tie Pat Leahy (584) for seventh in NFL history in career extra point attempts.

K JASON ELAM (574 PATM) - Needs six extra points made to tie Jan Stenerud (580) for sixth in NFL history in career extra points made.

K JASON ELAM (1,705 PTS.) - Needs six points to tie Nick Lowery (1,711) for seventh in NFL history in career points scored.

DE SIMEON RICE (121 SACKS) - Needs half a sack to tie Clyde Simmons (121.5) for 12th and 5.5 sacks to tie Derrick Thomas (126.5) for 11th in NFL history in career sacks.  

P TODD SAUERBRUN (50+YD. GROSS AVG. IN 4 CONSEC. GMS) - Can extend his personal-best four-game streak of having a gross punting average of at least 50 yards.

P TODD SAUERBRUN (40+YD. NET AVG. IN 4 CONSEC. GMS) - Can set a personal best by recording a net punting average of at least 40 yards for the fifth consecutive game.

WR JAVON WALKER (53-GAME RECEP. STREAK) - Can extend his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 54 games.

Trivia Answer -- The Manning Brothers, Peyton and Eli, are well-known quarterbacks in the NFL and have a significant connection to the Colorado Rockies.  While at Tennessee, Peyton Manning was backed up by none other than Rockies' First Baseman Todd Helton.  Helton is easily the most well-known Rockie.  Not to be out-done, Eli Manning, while at Ole Miss, was backed up by one of last night's heros - Seth Smith - who's first two RBI's of the season came on a bloop double to kick-start the Rockies' 6-run 4th inning.  The reach of the Manning family never ends!