Dec 13, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) prior to the play against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
With the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers facing off this weekend, we decided to have a talk with the Steelers Fansided site, Still Curtain on the state of the Steelers.
The Broncos and Steelers are set to face off on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. This will be the biggest game for both teams as they look to make some ground in the postseason race.
I, for one, am looking forward to a classic offense vs. defense game. This will certainly be the Broncos toughest game as a defense this season with Antonio Brown and Big Ben doing running the offense.
For the first time since interviewing Bear Goggles Down, I have interviewed Still Curtain’s Kim Myers, who is the editor over at the site. We got to talking about the State of the Steelers and what she thinks will happen during the game between the two teams.
PO: The Steelers have started to turn up the heat going down the stretch. They are currently the 7th seed in the playoffs. What do you think is the reason behind their winning streak?
SC: The Steelers offense has scored at least 30 points in the last five games which shows that when Ben Roethlisberger is healthy this team is really hard to stop. They’ve been hot in December the last couple of seasons so hopefully they can keep it going this year.
The defense has to maintain the balance of getting after the quarterback and creating turnovers. They give up a ton of yards but they’ll hold stiff in the red zone and create turnover opportunities which allows the offense to get back to work on the field.
I credit the coaching staff for battling through all these injuries this season. You look at a team in our own division like the Ravens and the injuries have just decimated them and they weren’t ever able to recover. If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that the Steelers would lose Le’Veon Bell again, Maurkice Pouncey, Ben Roethlisberger (for four games) and be on their fourth kicker but still be in a position to make the playoffs I would have wanted whatever you were drinking.
The early losses against AFC teams have put them in the position they’re in where they have to win out to secure a playoff spot without needing help so that is frustrating but sometimes it’s all about getting hot at the right time. The Steelers right now are the hot team.
Dec 13, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) calls out a play prior to the snap against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
PO: Despite missing a few games due to injury, Big Ben has had a solid season by throwing for almost 3,000 yards. What makes him one of the best quarterbacks in the league?
SC: He’s like Liam Neeson in “Taken” he’s got a particular skill-set he can use like no other. His durability, his agility, his accuracy, everything seems to be improving with age. He was scary-accurate in training camp and he’s just carried that along throughout the season when he’s been healthy.
It helps that in their fourth year together he and offensive coordinator Todd Haley are pretty much in harmony. Haley has been the subject of so much criticism from local fans but the reality is that he’s created this offense that Roethlisberger is really thriving in. It doesn’t hurt that he has weapons like Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Martavis Bryant, etc.
PO: Emmanuel Sanders will be making his return to Pittsburgh after spending his first four seasons with the Steelers. How do you think he will be greeted by the fans during the game?
SC: I think Sanders will get a warm reception. I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t. The Steelers have been very fortunate to be able to draft and develop wide receivers the last few years that Sanders’ departure wasn’t an ugly one.
When Emmanuel Sanders left it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as when Mike Wallace left and both of their departures ended up not hurting the Steelers one bit.
Sep 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) gestures as he takes the field against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field. Carolina won 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
PO: Which player do you think needs to step up for the Steelers in order to secure a win?
SC: Honestly this is a big game for the entire offensive line. This Steelers offense has to score points to have a shot and to do that they’ll need to contain Denver’s pass rush and run defense. The tackles; Marcus Gilbert and Alejandro Villanueva had a rough outing against the Bengals front seven so they need to really step it up to keep the pressure from outside away from Roethlisberger.
A good pass rush can make any secondary look great so in that regard I think Denver’s pass rush is under-rated, with all due respect to Aquib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. If the Steelers’ offensive line can win the battle in the trenches I think the advantage falls with the Steelers offense.
PO: What is your final score of the game? Do you have any bold predictions?
SC: This is a tough game to predict. I thought at first the team would be going through a let-down after a hotly contested divisional-rival game last week but so far the coaches and players are saying all the right things to show that they’re focused on the task at hand.
This is the league’s best defense going up against arguably the best offense so it’s going to be the little things that make the difference. It’s going to come down to whoever controls the time of possession and doesn’t turn the ball over.
I’ll say my bold prediction is that Antonio Brown lights up the Broncos secondary and they can’t find an answer for him all day. He’ll have 100+ receiving yards and a couple of touchdowns. Steelers win 36-28.
Alright Kim. We shall see what happens in the game. I look forward to an exciting game. Go Broncos!