View Full Version : Five keys to the game for Denver

11-08-2009, 10:18 PM
Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

DENVER -- Here are five keys to Monday night’s game for Denver against visiting Pittsburgh:

Start fast: If Denver has had a problem this season, it is starting slowly. It has had to rely on great second-half play. The second-half luck ran out in Baltimore last week, but the Broncos need to take pressure off of themselves and jump out to a lead. It will be interesting to see how this team would react to not have to scramble back into games. Plus, there’s bound to be a lot of Pittsburgh fans at the game (the streets of Denver were teeming with folks in Steelers’ gear Sunday), so the Broncos need to take the Steelers fans out of the game early. In the 2005 AFC championship game, the Steelers took early control of the game and their fans took over the stadium in a 34-17 Pittsburgh win. Denver can’t allow that to happen again.

Control the no huddle offense: There’s been talk that the Steelers will try to use more no huddle to keep the Broncos off balance. The Ravens had great success using the no-huddle last week. Denver has responded well to everything thrown at them this season, so if the Steelers come with the no huddle, the Broncos have to be ready.

Take advantage of the Steelers injury issues on defense: The Steelers may be without three key defensive starters because of health issues. Defensive end Travis Kirschke, inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons and safety Ryan Clark are all unlikely to play. The Broncos have to take advantage and get their offensive going against the limping Steelers. This is a great opportunity for the Broncos.

Run the ball: The Broncos have to keep Pittsburgh’s defense and be able to run the ball. Correll Buckhalter and rookie Knowshon Moreno have made a good tandem for most of the season. But the pair struggled at Baltimore. These two have to establish the run to create an offensive rhythm. That will allow Denver quarterback Kyle Orton to play his game and be more effective than he was against the Ravens.

Tighten the special teams coverage unit: Denver allowed a punt return for a touchdown against San Diego and a kick return for a score last week against Baltimore. It can’t surrender a special teams touchdown for the third straight game. This game will likely be closely contested. Denver can’t give an excellent team like Pittsburgh a freebie like it did the past two games.

I know its been discussed here, but this is so rediculous with all the Steeler fans at Mile High. I really wish I could be there.

11-08-2009, 10:32 PM
The Broncos need to take the steelers fans out of the game early? haha does Bill think its gonna be 70 percent steeler fans. I still say 20 percent tops.

11-08-2009, 10:38 PM
I don't think that it is a "key" for Denver to start off fast. Obviously, it would help, but its hardly a "key to the game". Denver's offense has started slow pretty much the whole season and they've found a way to make proper halftime adjustments and put points on the board in the second half (DAL,NE etc). Again...it would be nice, but its not absolutely critical. It's not like PIT has destroyed every team its played or anything.

I actually wouldn't mind if Pittsburgh chose to throw alot on Denver. BAL's OT's in Gaither and Oher are very high quality and they were able to stymie Doom and our other pass rushers from the outside. Max Starks and Willie Colon are not comparable. Denver's second in sacks and its not all from Doom. In fact, the majority of our sacks are from others...which is impressive considering Doom has 10. Pittsburgh's also given the ball away 13 times. The defense, as oppurtunistic as it, will feast on Pittsburgh's sloppiness if they can just wrap people up. Obviously, Roethlisberger is difficult to wrap up due to his strength. Arizona would have won the Super Bowl last year had they simply been able to just bring him down when they had a chance. That's the real key. I'm sure we'll get the better of those OT's...but they've got to finish the job when they are in the backfield and bring Ben down.

On offense, I wouldn't be surprised if McD continued to heavily rely on the screen game. You know PIT will be bringing heat as they always do. While it didn't work last week, screens are, at least in theory, the proper antidote for a heavy rush. Unfortunately, BAL's CBs did a nice job sticking to the recievers and avoiding getting blocked by the inside WR's on rocket screens. Since we're going to be seeing them send those OLB's early and often, the RB screen might be more effective, so as to draw those defenders in and then burn them when they are too far into the backfield. That delayed TE screen to Graham will probably also be in the gameplan. I'm virtually certain they're going to emphasize pressure from Harrison on the strongside, especially since Harris is out. We're going to have to make them pay on the screens...we're going to have to slow the pass rush down that way and disincentivize blitzing. With Harris out, McD will continue to use more shotgun and alot of quick 3-step passes to get it off before they can get there.

This should be a pretty good game. Could go either way.

11-09-2009, 12:33 AM
I'm just hoping the Broncos put up more of a fight this week than they did last week. Although BAL played lights out but it was hard to watch. I didn't think we'd get blown out at all but there it was last week. So i'm hoping we're competitive down to the wire and if we are i think we take it. Special Teams messes up again time to get a new special teams coach.