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What it will take to bring the Steelers down

Don’t worry, Broncos Country, it’s possible.

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving, Broncos Country!

Today is my favorite holiday of the year. It means food, football and family (not necessarily in that order, but...maybe in that order!) And I love reflecting on what I’m thankful for because it’s a long list and it always deserves more attention than it gets.

Of course, near the top of my list are the Broncos and Mile High Report, so I’m sending vibes of gratitude to all of you and hoping your day allows you to feel thankful for your life - and thankful for this team.

But now that I’ve reflected on my thankfulness - and in honor of “T” for Turkey Day - I do have some alliterative advice for Vance Joseph & Co to help on Sunday:

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers.

There are a lot of key matchups in this game, not the least of which will be the secondary keeping eyes (and a few hands) on Antonio Brown and Juju Smith Schuster.

But in order to beat Big Ben and his high-powered offense, the Broncos defense has to create and get turnovers - interceptions, fumbles, strip sacks...all of it.

“Yeah, 100 percent,” Von Miller said about turnovers being crucial for the defense. “Turnovers are killers, especially in close games like that. You want to get turnovers, you want to make big plays, you want to get sacks, interceptions, especially against a great offense like that. So, me Chris, Bradley, all of the guys, we’ve got to be ready to go this week.”

Chris Harris Jr. is down for that - particularly since he plans on being paired against Antonio Brown.

“It’s the best versus the best. You’ve got to embrace it. I’ve had an All-Pro receiver every week, so it doesn’t stop,” he said. “You’ve just got to continue, like I said, playing my game and being consistent. I’m hoping to come out with some more turnovers.”


Ben Roethlisberger may be listed as 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, on the roster, but he looks like a 400-pound mack truck on the field, and he kind of runs that way too. But with his size and strength, Big Ben can seem impossible to bring down.

But the Broncos defense is going to have to do it.


Or at least harass him so much that Roethlisberger is unable to extend the play while his all-star receivers wear out the Broncos’ secondary while running around before finally making a play.

Just getting to Big Ben won’t always enough; you also have to bring him down.

“We have to first contain Ben. Most of the plays they’ve made down the field are busted plays, so I think your first duty is to contain him with the pass-rush plan,” said head coach Vance Joseph. “The second, how you tackle Ben, is tackle the arms. If you don’t tackle the arms, he’s getting the ball off. I’ve seen guys on his legs and he’s throwing the ball 50 yards in the air. ...It’s a tough, physical group, so when you’re playing these guys, you have to first match the physicality. If you don’t match the intensity and the physicality, you have no chance of beating this team. That’s why they’re so good.”

Tame the Steelers’ defensive beast

While the Steelers’ defense has been good, it has not been impenetrable, and with such consistently good rushing from running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, the Broncos’ offense has an opportunity to quiet that defense early and often.

More up tempo scheme early in the game should also wear down the defenders - particularly at altitude - and help the Broncos’ offense establish some rhythm and get the lead. The Steelers have become sloppy against the run when they are trailing in the game.

Turn on the jets

Between Emmanuel Sanders’ and Phillip Lindsay’s speed - along with Keenum’s strength in the play action and comfort with a fast-pace offense, the Broncos could easily overwhelm the Steelers defense right away.

The Steelers are one of the best teams on the road according to their away game record of 15-1-1 since November 2016, which Roethlisberger attributed to their focus when going into enemy territory.

The Broncos - and the Mile High crowd - need to take that comfort away from the Steelers immediately...and then never let up the gas.

Team effort

No, I’m not just saying the most obvious cliché in the world (though it will be a “great team win” when the Broncos pull it off!)

The fact is, every single player needs to have his best game.

Against the Chargers, Harris Jr. admitted he had a bad game but Bradley Roby stepped up and had one of his best of the season. While Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon are a threatening trio of talent, Big Ben and the Steelers have a history of being able to overcome bad play and still score when necessary.


Broncos are wearing “throwback” helmets with the Color Rush unis on Sunday, so let’s throw back to the 1977 divisional playoff game when the underdog Broncos upset the dominant Steelers to head to later beat the Raiders in the AFC Championship game and then head to their first Super Bowl appearance.

No need to get ahead of ourselves on what winning against Pittsburgh could mean. Let’s just “take it one game at a time” but play like the Orange Crush team of the 70s.

Horse Tracks - docllv’s picks of the day

The Match Game, Part 3: The Mahomes Conundrum | Touchdown Wire | Page 2
In the conclusion of "The Match Game," our writer posits that NFL defensive coordinators must install a new coverage--now.

RIP passer rating. 2018 revealed the need for better quarterback metrics – The Athletic
The old-school metrics we’ve long used to evaluate quarterbacks are becoming largely meaningless. So what's next?

Rams vs. Chiefs Scorepalooza Is the Consequence of N.F.L.’s New Safety Rules - The New York Times
An N.F.L. crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits has helped an offensive explosion.

Horse Tracks

Numbers That Matter: The key stats for #PITvsDEN
The Broncos will have to control the ground game against a talented Steelers team.

Phillip Lindsay provides reason for hope for Broncos offense - Denver7
Phillip Lindsay sits on history's doorstep. He needs 60 rushing yards to set a Broncos record.     

Denver Broncos news: Team makes 3 moves at cornerback
The Broncos have waived Adam Jones and made two other moves at cornerback, the team announced.

In midst of historically tough stretch, 'battle-tested' Broncos ready for next challenge
The Broncos are facing a three-game slate of games that no NFL team has seen since 1976.

Former Denver Bronco Chris Young sues NFL
Former Denver Broncos safety Christopher Young has sued the NFL Player Retirement Plan claiming he is owed $345,000 in benefits due to a traumatic brain injury.

Champ Bailey headlines list of Broncos named modern-era semifinalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame
In addition to Bailey, four other players with Broncos ties were named semifinalists.

10 Things I Think I Thought while watching the Steelers nearly kill me - Behind the Steel Curtain
It wasn’t pretty, and nearly gave this BTSC author a heart attack in the process. Such is life as a Steelers fanatic.

Ben Roethlisberger gives his take on the Steelers success on the road - Behind the Steel Curtain
The Steelers’ regular season road record is ridiculous, and Ben Roethlisberger talked about what might be the reason for their success.

Any Given Sunday: Broncos over Chargers | Football Outsiders
How do you lose a game you had a 90 percent chance to win twice in the last three minutes? Some Chargers Shit.

Quavaris Crouch, top running back recruit, is changing positions. 'Smart guy,' says Adrian Peterson. - The Washington Post
Running backs used to be football’s biggest stars, but NFL teams no longer value them the same way.

Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh Steelers says John Elway a hero of his
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who passed John Elway on the all-time list of game-winning drives on Sunday, said Wednesday that Elway was "a hero of mine growing up" and passing him was "an honor."

NFL All-Star officiating crew doesn’t get All-Star reviews | Touchdown Wire
Did you happen to notice the officiating crew in last night's amazing game between the Chiefs and the Rams? It was impossible not to notice. There were flags. So many flags that it was distracting. Flags on plays that deserved flags. Flags on play that didn't deserve flags.

Streak alert: Which teams are most likely to extend their good or bad fortune in Week 12? | Touchdown Wire
NFL teams can be streaky. Let's take a look at the league's hottest and coldest clubs and try to determine whether their good or bad luck will continue in Week 12. New Orleans Saints (9-1) Who can beat the Saints? Probably not the Falcons, who have firepower on offense but a shaky defense.

Raiders QB Derek Carr doesn't 'want the first pick' -
There appears to be little for the Raiders' fan base to look forward to, other than acquiring a high draft pick. But Derek Carr has no interest in losing his way to a top-five selection.

Top 10 'old' QBs: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers lead list -
With Tom Brady showing signs of gradual decline in 2018, he fails to crack the top five in Chris Wesseling's ranking of the league's 10 best aging quarterbacks. See where Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers land on the list.

Lamar Jackson: We're going to be throwing vs. Raiders -
It's still unclear whether Lamar Jackson will be filling in for Joe Flacco when the Ravens play the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, but if he does play, expect to see more passing from the rookie.

Aaron Rodgers donating $1M to fire relief efforts -
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is donating $1 million to help assist the relief efforts after two wildfires spread across California.

Phillip Lindsay provides reason for hope for Broncos offense - Denver7
Phillip Lindsay sits on history's doorstep. He needs 60 rushing yards to set a Broncos record.     

Denver Broncos news: Team makes 3 moves at cornerback
The Broncos have waived Adam Jones and made two other moves at cornerback, the team announced.