It felt like a playoff game, I swear. Seems football fanatics are getting a head start in a sneak preview, and how a fascinating postseason may square off. Two bottomless defensive teams, and two flawless defensive coordinators describe the kind of teams assembled. As it turns out, the Denver Broncos are subjected to an unbelievable year, and survived disastrous turmoil that nearly battered an entire organization.
So now, it’s hard admitting that the Broncos are near the top of the AFC conference in the same year of a grotesque divorce with franchise quarterback Jay Cutler. Lack of communication between him and egotistic coach Josh McDaniels had apparently dismantled morale, including disputes with discontent wideout Brandon Marshall.
Judging all the disruptions, the Broncos weren’t speculated to have a flawless season. Although, they seemed unbeatable before losing to the Ravens last week, Denver musters likely the deepest defense in the league, an essential factor to their powerful rampancy facing most teams this season.
Of course, against Pittsburgh, exploiting defensive schemes normally doesn’t fair too well. In the game, hard-hitting, physical bulrushes and unsympathetic sacks identified physical toughness, which unleashes the heart of ambitious competitors willing to encounter an action-packed fray confirming legitimacy.
By now, our society can discern why the Steelers are defending champs, and the lone franchise with six Super Bowl titles. Despite a usual sluggish start, their reckless and daredevil quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lives up to his nickname Big Ben.
From most viewpoints, he’s the league’s best quarterback managing big plays and conserves the clock in critical moments. Considering he’s the greatest quarterback in clutch situations and rallies the Steelers to victories, the tenacious and fierce defense keeps the sluggish offense alive.
Coming off a bye week Pittsburgh might have been rusty, but recharged in the second-half against the resurgence of the Broncos. It’s a usual trait seen often by the Steelers, recovering from first-half droughts and escapes at the end with victories. After all, we are accustomed to the late heroics and savior defense salvaging applause at the end of the night.
Again, the defense was too massive and energetic, accelerating and rushing to force Denver’s Kyle Orton into three interceptions. Again, the defense pressured the Broncos, outplaying the flawless frontline and secondary and bullied an uneasy Orton.
Again, the Steelers had a matchless offense, arranged by a crafty Big Ben, who orchestrated three second-half touchdown passes en route to a 28-10 victory.
But bigger worries are the Broncos. In the Mile High City, folks are worried about Denver, whose record is 6-2 when two consecutive losses increase panic attacks. Being in a weak division there’s not much to worry about. Instead, they should be strongly bothered by the Steelers.
Later in the season, of course when postseason play arrives, the Broncos will need to garner concepts in ways to trounce the defending champs, a challenging mode to breakthrough in the playoffs. A Steelers-Broncos rematch is likely to reoccur in the playoffs, and contemplating sufficient tactics for mitigating a pesky defense of rushing on nearly each possession, is obligatory for defeating Pittsburgh.
Putting more pressure on Roethlisberger is pragmatic as well as limiting probability of the Steelers pulling off a heartbreaker in final moments. Known for stinginess and greediness, the Steelers are more powerful than Denver, unless they’re equipped to hinder Pittsburgh by outscoring them.
More staggering was their ability to dominate the Broncos on Monday night, scorching in the second-half and outscored Denver with an overwhelming score of 76-10.
Its painful not having the similar pedigree of a high caliber offense that could compile points instantly on the scoreboard. The Steelers were just prepared and formed the Blizburgh, trapping the line of scrimmage to disallow Orton of duplicating similar patterns, which led to early success.
But more problematic, the Broncos defense weakened, intimidated by the Steelers toughness and amazed with guru defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s intellectual play calling on the sideline. To be straightforward, his play calling was productive and usually finished on good terms, outcoaching Denver’s defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and the disappearing defense.
Where were the tough-minded defensive backs, such as Brian Dawkins or Champ Bailey? Where was rookie linebacker Robert Ayers, after the second-half when he sacked and forced a fumble before returning it 54-yards for a touchdown? Lastly, where were the nimble play calls by Nolan?
For much of the season, the Broncos have been very impressive in their pugnacious secondary. Instead the Steelers entered a hostile territory, sprinted out of the visitors’ tunnel rusty but pumped and comfortable for the challenge.
At halftime, Pittsburgh trailed 7-0 in a neutralized environment, where Pittsburgh fans swung the Terrible Towels spoiling a home game for the Broncos. Mostly, throughout, an uptight night Denver faithful booed Orton for throwing three interceptions.
Was it really his fault? The Broncos failed to run the no-huddle offense, designed to make opponents fatigued. I also think the Steelers were a better defensive force, in which the Broncos offensive line failed to cease. Hate to say this, but it felt like a game played in Pittsburgh. With less than two minutes left, Terrible Towels started swinging, and Steelers’ fans terribly celebrated in front of petulant Broncos fans.
Much of the game, the Steelers pushed the ball on the ground with the quickness of Rashard Mendenhall, blowing by Denver defenders in the low altitude for 155 yards. The sixth-ranked Steelers defense, though, shut down a swaggering rushing game. Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno were limited in stomping the Steelers knack on defense.
Of course, momentum shifted in the second quarter, when safety Tyrone Carter picked off one of his picks and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown. Most games don’t pass without a relentless Troy Polamalu slowing down the rush or picking off a wayward throw.
As usual, he exploited his speed and read all angles of the field in Denver. His intercepted pass on the Broncos’ 25-yard line put the Steelers in position to capitalize, and dictated the final outcome of an AFC showdown when Roethlisberger fired a pass to rookie Mike Wallace completing 21 of 29 passes for 233 yards.
By evaluating the game, the Broncos are working progress and have much to work on. In the upcoming weeks, Denver needs to accumulate defensive awareness and enhance tactics to trounce the Steelers. For now, if the Broncos look to thrive, they must beat the Steelers. Like getting off to a fast start, the Broncos will have to make adjustments fast.
If Denver ignores defensive woes, what a waste it would be.