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Mike Tomlin perfectly describes the Week 2 win: “We were good enough to win”

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 1:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers throw style points out of the window, as long as they win.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-0, but the global fan base was certainly left scratching their heads after the team’s Week 2 win over the Denver Broncos. There were times when the game looked to be in hand, but the end result was a 26-21 game which was way too close for comfort.

Once the players left the field, Mike Tomlin addressed the media and, as he normally does, put the win into perspective.

“We made the necessary plays. We understand early in the season we are not going to be perfect. We were good enough to win.” Tomlin said via Zoom. “We will make the necessary corrections tomorrow and then push forward.”

While being “good enough to win” is great, Tomlin also realizes his team left a lot of plays on the field, and helped the Broncos remain in the game longer than they should have.

“We helped them some. We have a lot of growth ahead of us but it’s good to grow while you win. Today, I thought we were loose with the ball some. We turned the ball over, particularly at a significant period in the game.

“We were highly penalized. We’ll look at the penalties and look to play cleaner. It was an Achilles heel for us today. It extended drives. It allowed those guys to remain in the game.”

Tomlin was specifically asked about the team’s Special Teams units, an area where Tomlin’s teams have lacked in the past, and he applauded Danny Smith’s units and what they were able to do in Week 2 at Heinz Field.

“I am really excited about it,” said Tomlin of the special teams play. “I thought Diontae [Johnson] was dynamic. I know we got a penalty on that punt return. But we had explosive plays in the return game. We had some splash with some other guys. I like the overall trajectory of it and we have to continue to grow.”

Offensively the Steelers scored 26 points, but they did it differently on Sunday. Most notably they did it with a rookie right guard, and a backup right tackle. Tomlin was pleased with the performance of both Kevin Dotson and Chukwuma Okorafor, but wasn’t about to heap praise their way until he checked the tape.

“I’ll wait to look at the tape in terms of evaluating it,” said Tomlin. “I just appreciate the effort and attitudes, particularly of the young guys. Kevin Dotson starting his first game and missed time in team development. You have to tip your cap at him for his efforts. Chuks, we know what he is capable of, so we are not surprised by his performance. It was enough to win. We will comb through it in the a.m. and get critical.”

Towards the end of the post-game press conference, Tomlin was asked about the aggressiveness of the defense, and whether it is sustainable considering how it can leave the secondary exposed.

Tomlin’s response was simple...we are an attacking group.

“We’re capable of bringing anybody, except the field corner,” said Tomlin. “That is our philosophical approach. We are a blitz group. It’s tough to bring the field corner because of the distance he plays from. Anybody else is capable of coming and that is just the code that we live by. It’s our personality. We’ll bring anyone. We’re an attacking group.”

The Steelers now turn their attention to the Houston Texans who will invade Heinz Field in Week 3 for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold.

3 areas of growth for the Steelers after their first two games

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 12:30pm
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have done plenty of things right in order to get to a 2-0 record to start the season, but what can they continue to work on moving forward?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have started their season with a pair of wins for the first time since 2017. Although there’s been times where they looked unstoppable on offense and immovable on defense, they have been other times where their production has not been as thorough. Of course, it’s early and teams did not have the luxury of any preseason games to work through the kinks. But the Steelers should not be complacent with just earning their victories and look at specific areas where they need to improve if they are going to continue to stack wins.

In looking to improve, here are three key areas for growth for the Steelers as they continue on in their 2020 season.

Securing the football

I don’t need to go into great detail about the Steelers 25 game streak where they have had at least one turnover. It’s been talked about a lot. But the Steelers do need to work on securing the football better even though it is in the early stages of the season.

Although the Steelers only turnover in Week 1 was on special teams, they had two other fumbles which they were able to recover. In Week 2, the Steelers lost a fumble, had another fumble they recovered, and threw an interception while having another which should have been. Yes it’s early in the season, and hopefully these things will remedy themselves as the Steelers get a larger body of work. But the Steelers turnover situation in 2020, although it is not good, could even have been worse.

Starting quickly on offense

The Steelers scoring off of there opening drives is something which has plauged them for more than a season. In 2019 they only scored six total points in their opening drive of the game. So far in 2020, The Steelers have gained a total of 8 yards on six plays with no first downs on their opening drives. Additionally, the Steelers have officially fumbled the ball on two of those six plays (one was a backwards pass which had to be scooped up) on opening drives in 2020. Luckily the Steelers have recovered the ball both times, but both plays resulted in negative yardage. This does not even include the muffed punt in Week 1 where the Steelers offense didn’t even get a chance to take the field in what should have been there first possession.

Even if the Steelers do not produce points on the opening drive, they at least need to gain some yardage, get some first downs, improve their field position situation, and give the defense a little bit of a break. Whether it’s an issue with the scripted plays going into the game or merely just a lack of execution, there may be times if the offense takes too long to get rolling they’re going to find themselves in a bigger hole then they can crawl out of.

Getting off the field on third down

In the first two weeks of the 2020 season, the Steelers have given up a third down conversion 15 times by either penalty or yardage gained. Facing third down 34 times this far this season, The Steelers are having drives extended 44% of the time. Of course, not every situation is the same as third and short can often be difficult to stop. But of the 15 conversions the Steelers have surrendered, only six of them were with 3 yards or less to go (one of which was gained on a penalty) and have stopped third and short three times.

When it comes to third and long when the Steelers have forced teams to convert 10 yards or more, they have converted 4 out of 14 chances with two of the four conversions coming on penalties. While this number doesn’t seem huge, an elite defense does not give up third-down conversions of 10 or more yards at a near 30% rate.

For comparison sake, the Steelers allowed third-down conversions at a 39% rate in 2019. The Steelers also only allowed nine first downs by penalty in all of 2019, so having three so far in 2020 is a pace they definitely need to clean up. Additionally, the Steelers only allowed 17 conversions of 10 yards or more on third down in 2019. At their current pace, the Steelers would have almost double this amount in 2020.

So there you have it. These are the three biggest areas for growth that I believe the Steelers should work on as they move forward in 2020. Do these areas sound reasonable? Is there something else you feel is more important for the Steelers to improve on? Please let us know in the comments below.

The Behind the Steel Curtain Steelers FanShop

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 12:14pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is one which takes pride in their colors.

Black and gold. They represent the city, their teams and everything in between.

This is why you see Steelers fans everywhere. They wear their colors, and they wear them with pride.

Never back down, never give in and always represent the Steelers no matter where you are. Steelers Nation isn’t just a label, it is real.

Snap counts in Week 2 make you question the Steelers use of several players

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 11:35am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Derek Watt leads the way in players who deserve more time on the field.

The Pitsburgh Steelers won an ugly, close game in week 2, defeating the banged up Denver Broncos by 5 points. The Steelers still have a lot of room to grow, and as Mike Tomlin stated in his post-game press conference, “It’s good to grow while you are winning.”

Looking at the statistics, the film and the snap counts from week 2, a few players stood out.

Offense

There were two new starters on the offensive line, and the entire line played the entire game, always a good sign. There is no rotation on the offensive line, so the only real question there is what the Steelers will do if Kevin Dotson is playing at a high level when David DeCastro comes back? Dotson and right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor both played well on the right side.

At tight end the pecking order is becoming more clear, last week Eric Ebron led the position with 2 more snaps than Vance McDonald, and in week 2 that increased to 14 snaps as Ebron played the highest percentage of offensive snaps (77%) in a game since week 4 of 2018. Vance McDonald played 55% of snaps as the Steelers averaged 1.32 tight ends per play, meaning they had both tight ends on the field for a minimum of 21 snaps this week.

Jaylen Samuels dropped from 20 snaps in week one to 5 snaps in week two. James Conner is a good back on third downs, so Jaylen Samuels wasn’t needed as much, and his bobbled screen pass didn’t help him any either. Benny Snell was on offense for only 10 snaps, carrying the ball 3 times for 5 yards and catching the only ball thrown his way for -4 yards. a net gain of 1 yard on 4 touches isn’t a great game following his fantastic performance in week 1, and the trend of either James Conner or Benny Snell producing when the other doesn’t continues.

Chase Claypool continues to rank fourth in snaps played among Steeler wide receivers, despite being second on the team in receiving yards. Chase Claypool is currently averaging 25.4 yards per target, and an equally astounding 2.95 receiving yards per offensive snap. Steelers receiving yards leader Diontae Johnson is averaging 1.37 yards per snap.

Small sample size? You bet. But with numbers like that he has to play more and get more targets. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t thrown a pass to Claypool yet that he hasn’t caught. The young man needs to be more involved, defenses are going to have to respect him, and as much as I like James Washington, his 3 targets and 34 yards in 68 snaps doesn’t come close to Claypool’s 127 yards on 43 snaps.

Diontae Johnson in 2019 played 50 snaps in the first two weeks, and put up 42 receiving yards. In 2017, JuJu Smith-Schuster played 63 snaps in his first two weeks, with 16 receiving yards. James Washington played 77 snaps in his first two weeks as a Steeler, and didn’t get over 100 yards on the season until week 12. Chase Claypool is destroying those numbers, even if you take his 84 yard TD out of the discussion.

Chase Claypool has to play more. His small sample of plays demand a larger sample. Until those numbers come down to a reasonable level he isn’t playing or getting targeted enough.

Speaking of players that need to be playing more, Steelers fullback Derek Watt has been a huge boost to the Steelers run game when he gets on the field. The Steelers have run the clock out with two game ending drives in two weeks, with 4 straight runs in both game ending drives. When the Steelers want to run the clock out, and they put in Derek Watt they pick up first downs, and they end the game with the victory formation. I can’t believe he doesn’t offer any value during the rest of the game

Defense

The Steelers have no plans of giving inside linebacker Devin Bush pays off. Two weeks playing 100% of defensive snaps, and he’s done well, as long as the Steelers don’t ask him to go outside of what is reasonable to ask of him.

Speaking of what is reasonable though, Vince Williams played 83% of snaps, and while he played well and the defense seems to be avoiding miscommunications, Vince Williams continues to be exploited by the opposing offense. Teams with athletic tight ends and good receiving backs are going to be able to attack the Steelers linebackers like the Broncos did. With Bush and Williams in at linebacker the Broncos were able to get Devin Bush on Noah Fant and Vince Williams on Melvin Gordon. Both of those were mismatches that led to both of the Broncos touchdowns and their 2-pt conversion.

When the Steelers had Terrell Edmunds covering Noah Fant and Devin bush covering Melvin Gordon the results were much better. When the Steelers have a 2 score lead there isn’t a good reason to bring Vince Williams on the field when the opponent has 3 wide receivers, a receiving tight end and a running back out there. I’d like to see Sean Davis get some snaps in those situations, and a big dime look from the Steelers with Terrell Edmunds matched up with receiving tight ends. Devin Bush is a destroyer of runningbacks, and while he’s solid covering tight ends, he can’t handle the better receiving tight ends reliably. The Steelers shouldn’t personnel match Vince Williams with a good receiving tight end, and they shouldn’t match a blocking tight end with a nose tackle, especially when they have a two score lead in the second half. Make the opposing team run the ball, don’t keep giving up chunk plays and touchdowns to tight ends and running backs.

Podcast: Steelers throw style points out the window again in Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 11:00am

Jeff Hartman brings an AM studio show to the BTSC family of podcasts with the latest episode of “Let’s Ride“.

Some call it almost blowing it. There are those that call it winning ugly. The there’s the fans that describe the Steelers performance on Sunday against the Denver Broncos as throwing style points out the window, But the fact of the matter remains that the Steelers are undefeated to start 2020. This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the morning flagship show in the BTSC family of podcasts. Join Co-Editor Jeff Hartman with his show, “Let’s Ride” as he looks backto the 2020 home opener for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Film Room: Ben Roethlisberger’s “above the neck” play leads to Chase Claypool TD

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 10:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Broncos defense tried to be clever, and got burned for a big touchdown.

Ben Roethlisberger loves tall receivers, and he loves throwing the ball deep. But Chase Claypool’s 84-yard touchdown in the second quarter against the Broncos was more about the vision and experience Roethlisberger brings to the field. This film room is going to look deeper into this play, and for that, we need to back up a bit and set the scene.

T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward sacked Bronco quarterback Jeff Driscel to bring up 4th and 13. The Broncos punted the ball to Diontae Johnson, who returned the punt for a touchdown. That touchdown was called back on a questionable penalty to Cameron Sutton, you can see below, Sutton enters the screen from the bottom right corner.

Certainly looked like a dive for the returner, but Sutton was called for an illegal block, and instead of 6 points, the Steelers had 1st and 10 at their own 16 yard line. That’s a pretty big swing in momentum, and it could have really hurt the Steelers, except the very first play of that drive went like this.

Chase Claypool is the receiver to the top of the screen.

What you can’t see in the TV angle is the defensive alignment that told Ben Roethlisberger to make that throw before the ball was even snapped. Here’s the pre-snap alignment.

The Broncos show a 2-deep safety look, and if that was what they were running, Claypool’s route would be right into a double team. But it wasn’t, and Ben Roethlisberger knew it wasn’t. Take a look at the slot receiver, and his defender. The slot corner has moved off of JuJu Smith-Schuster and is clearly blitzing. If he is blitzing, then the safety behind him is covering Smith-Schuster, and not dropping into deep zone. This means the safety to the bottom of the screen is most likely going to be moving into the deep middle, and the only help the corner on Claypool has is going to be coming from the far side of the field.

All the Steelers quarterback has to do is read the safety right after the snap, and if he is coming up to cover Smith-Schuster’s slant, Roethlisberger has Claypool one-on-one on a deep route.

And that is exactly what happens.

Chase Claypool is the wide receiver to the top of the screen.

The slot corner blitzes, the safety comes up to cover the slot, Claypool beats his defender, and Ben Roethlisberger drops a beautiful deep ball to Chase Claypool for 84 yards of football justice.

If you watch Roethlisberger, he takes a hit right after throwing the ball. The blitz worked and the Broncos got a free runner and hit on the quarterback, but because Roethlisberger read the defense pre-snap he wasn’t looking for the right throw as pressure was coming as he already knew which throw to make.

This is the difference Ben Roethlisberger brings to the Steelers offense, and why Chase Claypool will continue to be a big weapon for this team in his rookie season.

Winners and Losers after the Steelers win over the Broncos in Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 9:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

After every game there are players who play well, and those who don’t. This is where the ‘Winners and Losers’ column comes from.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Sunday when they played the Denver Broncos in Week 2 of the regular season. After the AFC game on Sunday, it is time to see who performed well, and who left a lot to be desired.

Improvement was evident in some ways, and hopefully will continue, but the judgement process must go on. Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left plays on the field can be deemed ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.

Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after Week 1...

Winners

Pass Rush
Stat Line: 7 sacks / 19 QB Hits / 13 TFL

The Broncos quarterback situation changed quickly Sunday when Drew Lock was knocked out of the game, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered as it pertains to the pass rush. The Steelers’ pass rush is absolutely lethal, and they seem hell-bent on administering pain to the opposing quarterback every week. It makes me think of the scene in Rocky III when they ask Clubber Lange to predict the outcome of the upcoming fight. His response is one word, “Pain.” That describes the Steelers’ relentless pass rush.

Kevin Dotson
Stat Line: 1st career start / 2nd career game / Game Ball

I am pretty sure if someone took a script to Disney and told them the following would happen, they wouldn’t believe it. Young offensive guard playing in Louisiana doesn’t get invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. Gets drafted in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Suffers knee injury causing him to miss two weeks in training camp, gets his first start in his second career game. Gets the game ball. That is the story of Dotson, and it is pretty amazing.

Chuks Okorafor
Stat Line: Was noticeable, in a good way

When Zach Banner was lost for the season I noted how there wasn’t going to be much of a drop off with Okorafor in the lineup. And I was right. You didn’t notice Okorafor in Week 2, and that is phenomenal news for a young tackle. If there were areas he was noticeable, it was in the running game. Okorafor looked like a very solid tackle, and handled the Broncos’ pass rush with relative ease.

Special Teams
Stat Line: All around great day

I can’t believe I am typing this, considering I am a founding member of the Danny Smith can’t coach special teams fan club, but the Steelers’ special teams units were great Sunday. Whether it be Ray-Ray McCloud’s kick return ability, Diontae Johnson’s punt return capabilities, Chris Boswell remains solid and Dustin Colquitt is solid and a tremendous holder. Oh, and the units haven’t been highly penalized, which is also nice. Don’t look now, but the Steelers’ special teams were outstanding Sunday.

T.J. Watt
Stat Line: 4 tackles / 3 solo / 2.5 sacks / 2.5 TFL / 4 QB Hits

It may sound redundant, but T.J. Watt could be a winner almost every game, but there are games when he is extremely disruptive. Sunday was one of those games, and if it weren’t for Lock being athletic enough to keep his feet in the first quarter, Watt could have had 3.5 sacks. With Watt and Bud Dupree, offenses have to pick which player they want to stop, and the other one takes over. This week Dupree was held in check, while Watt did damage.

Chase Claypool
Stat Line: 3 rec. / 88 yards / 1 TD / 3 tackles / 1 solo tackle

What can you say about Claypool which isn’t a glowing endorsement for more playing time? So far he has been a playmaker in every sense of the word. On top of that, he seems to be a team-first player who is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. The Steelers have a lot of weapons at their disposal, but I feel the time is coming for No. 11 to get more offensive snaps.

Mike Hilton
Stat Line: 8 tackles / 8 solo / 1 sack / 2 TFL / 1 Pass Defense / 2 QB Hits

Entering the regular season, the discussion was Mike Hilton or Cam Sutton? While some can still make a case for Sutton, Hilton is making his own case on the field. Keith Butler has been blitzing Hilton early and often, and his timing has been precise. Hilton plays the line of scrimmage possibly better than any other slot cornerback in the league. He is proving his value every game day.

Losers

Penalties
Stat Line: 10 penalties for 89 yards

Yes, some of the flags were bogus, but there were plenty which were justified. If you want to beat legitimate teams in the NFL you can’t beat yourself, and the Steelers almost did just that in Week 2 with those 10 penalties.

Benny Snell Jr.
Stat Line: 3 carries / 5 yards / 1 fumble

After finding his way on the winner list in Week 1, Snell is now on the other side of the docket. His lone fumble, and second of the season, came at a costly time. Right after the safety and a Diontae Johnson fumble, Snell gets the ball and gives it right back to the Broncos. Inexcusable timing, but a bad trend for the second year back is developing.

Secondary
Stat Line: Surrendered 256 yards / 2 TDs to Jeff Driskel

I am not about to suggest the Steelers’ secondary success in 2019 was a flash in the pan, but for the second week in a row it looks as if there have been some cracks in the armor. Joe Haden continues to be flagged for pass interference calls on critical third down plays, and Minkah Fitzpatrick and Mike Hilton added to those penalties in Week 2. The unit isn’t in dire straits right now, but things will need to improve quickly with stiffer competition on the horizon.

Not using Derek Watt as FB
Stat Line: Watt only 6 offensive snaps

When the Steelers signed Derek Watt fans knew what to expect. A full back who doubles as a special teams ace. Watt has lived up to the billing as a special teams ace, but the team simply isn’t using him as a fullback. And it isn’t as if they aren’t seeing success when Watt is in the backfield. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter when Watt was inserted into the offense, and it was when James Conner broke off a 59 yard run. It is time to infuse Watt, who can also be more than a blocker, into the offense more than just 6 plays.

Steelers look several gift horses in the mouth, still beat the Broncos 26-21

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 8:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

In a game that wasn’t as easy as it should have been, the Steelers rejected many gifts by the young Broncos at Heinz Field on Sunday and hung on to improve to 2-0 on the season.

The Steelers’ Week 1 match-up against the Broncos at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon had the makings of a blow-out victory—several times.

The game didn’t turn out quite that way, thanks mainly to Pittsburgh’s refusal to accept any of the Broncos’ fine gifts that would have made Sunday’s affair a laugher. But all was well that ended well in the end, and the Steelers won 26-21 to improve to 2-0 on the young 2020 season.

Let’s count the many gifts Denver delivered to the Steelers, and let’s count how many times they looked that horse in the mouth and simply said, “No, thank you!”

The Broncos first invitation to hand Pittsburgh the game on a silver platter came late in the second quarter, when veteran cornerback Joe Haden intercepted a pass by backup quarterback Jeff Driskel and returned it to the Denver 11. The Steelers were already ahead, 14-3, thanks to a two-yard plunge by healthy running back James Conner, an 84-yard catch-and-run by rookie receiver Chase Claypool and a relentless defense that had just recorded five first-half sacks. The Steelers had knocked starter Drew Lock out of the game, and just secured their second takeaway. A touchdown at that point likely would have put Pittsburgh on easy street. Unfortunately, the drive stalled at the Broncos three-yard line, and kicker Chris Boswell came on to extend the lead to 14 points at halftime.

But no big deal, right? The Steelers received the second-half kickoff and looked to be in great shape when Ray-Ray McCloud returned it 49 yards to the Pittsburgh 47. Sadly, the Steelers rejected this free drink, when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw up an ill-advised pass on third and 16 that Broncos safety Justin Simmons gladly intercepted.

Denver took advantage and turned this takeaway into three points to make it 17-6.

And what once looked like a laugher soon turned into a bit of a thriller, when Driskel connected with tight end Noah Fant on a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to five points late in the third quarter. The Broncos cut the lead even more, when Driskel and Fant connected again on the two-point conversion to make it 17-14 in a stadium lacking the fan support needed to help calm the home team’s nerves.

But fear not, because the Steelers answered right back with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to receiver Diontae Johnson early in the fourth quarter to make it 24-14.

The Broncos made their final blow-out offer to Pittsburgh a few plays later, when punter Sam Martin fumbled a snap from inside his own end zone, and the ball rolled out of bounds for a safety to extend the lead to 26-14. Johnson returned the ensuing free kick to the Denver 48-yard line. But just when it looked like the black and gold-clad good guys were about to start laughing, running back Benny Snell Jr., the youngster who spent the previous week being called the “Snell Cow,” will now be known as “Benny Smell” for the next few days after fumbling the football right back to the Broncos.

Denver took advantage of that return to sender by making it 26-21 on a Driskel 16-yard touchdown pass to running back Melvin Gordon III.

There was still over a half a quarter left to play, and forget blow-out, the Steelers were just hanging on for dear life.

Late in the fourth quarter, with the Broncos facing a third and two from the Pittsburgh 15, the Steelers defense remembered it was good and stymied Denver’s offense on back-to-back plays—including a sack by safety Terrell “Splay Play” Edmunds on fourth down with 1:51 remaining.

The Broncos still had all three of their time-outs, but it wouldn’t matter, as Conner took over and raced for 59 yards on second and five to snuff out Denver’s final chance.

It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t nearly as easy as it should have been, but the Steelers have won their first two games for the first time since 2017.

After getting off to slow starts and missing the playoffs the past two seasons, a 2-0 start, no matter how it was achieved, is an early Christmas gift that could help the Steelers reach a lot of goals in 2020.

Report Card: Grading the Steelers Week 2 win over the Broncos

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 7:15am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Breaking down the success and failures of Pittsburgh’s Week 2 performance.

The Pittsburgh Steelers returned back to the friendly confines of Heinz Field Sunday in a Week 2 showdown with the Denver Broncos. There were points in the game where it looked as if a run-away win was evident, but those pesky Broncos just wouldn’t go away.

Time to evaluate the game, and time for me, the substitute, to step in and deliver some grades. You might agree, you might disagree, and that is fine. Feel free to rip me apart in the comment section below.

My red pen is ready...here we go.

Offense

Grade: B-

This was a tough performance for me to grade. At one point it looked as if the offense was clicking on all cylinders, ready to blow the doors off the Broncos. Next thing you know it looks as if the unit is searching for an in-game identity. I don’t chalk this all up to play-calling, but more to the fact this group still hasn’t found what they do well, and what they strive to be.

It is early in the season, so some slack is given, but that won’t always be the case. You won’t always be going against a Jeff Driskel led offense. Eventually things have to start clicking. I thought the offense took a step forward today, but not big enough to get them to an ‘A’ grade.

Defense

Grade: B+

The Steelers’ defense is turning into a feast or famine unit. Get home with a big play, or get burned in the back end. Some say it is due to playing two young quarterbacks in Daniel Jones and Drew Lock in Weeks 1 and 2, but when Deshaun Watson comes to town next weekend they better have it straightened out.

All in all, you can’t complain too much when your team registers 7 sacks, 19 QB hits, 11 tackles for loss and forces two turnovers, but the secondary was burned on multiple occasions. Throw in some really bad penalties and you hope things get rectified quickly. This defense is still brimming with potential, and they too will continue to improve as the season goes on.

Special Teams

Grade: A

I cannot believe I am typing this, but I was extremely impressed with the Steelers’ special team units Sunday. Ray-Ray McCloud gives the team a return man who can actually, you know, return the ball. Diontae Johnson had a beautiful punt return go back for a touchdown had it not been for a bogus block-in-the-back call against Cam Sutton. Chris Boswell seems solid as a rock and the coverage units are really starting to turn things around.

Throw in Dustin Colquitt’s consistency and a tremendous hold on a bad snap Sunday and I have to give Danny Smith’s group an A. I feel like I need to go take a shower now...

Coaching

Grade: B

There was nothing egregious from the coaching staff Sunday. Mike Tomlin lost another challenge, Randy Fichtner’s opening script remained awful, but Keith Butler and Danny Smith seem to counter balance those aforementioned issues to give this group a B.

Say what you want about any of these coaches, but they have the team 2-0. I don’t care who they are playing, or where, they are 2-0. You can only beat the teams on the schedule, and the Steelers have done just that this season.

Job well done.

Overall

Grade: B+

After the game my wife asked me who won, and I told her the Steelers. She asked how they played and I said, “I’m still thinking about that.”

There were so many positives, Chase Claypool’s 84-yard touchdown catch, the defense’s 7 sacks, two takeaways, but those were countered by the Benny Snell Jr. fumble, Ben Roethlisberger’s bad interception, Noah Fant doing a Rob Gronkowski impression through the defense and Diontae Johnson losing a fumble on the opening series.

It was a very weird game, but the better team won. The winning team made one more play than the losing team.

Literally.

It wasn’t pretty, and left fans anxious, but it was a victory. Win and correct is a lot better than lose and correct. With that said...

Now the team must prepare for the Houston Texans to invade Heinz Field in Week 3. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers preparing for Deshaun Watson and company to come to town.

Analyzing the Steelers Week 2 win over the Broncos, by the numbers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 6:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

It was closer than what many felt it should have been, but it was still the Steelers’ second victory of the season.

Sometimes teams come out and do everything right and win in a decisive manner. Other times, every time a team is on the cusp of putting a game out of reach something just doesn’t go right. Unfortunately for the Steelers, it was the latter example for Week 2. Fortunately, the Steelers still found a way to win and push their record to 2-0 on the season. When it comes down to it, the win is all that matters as margin of victory means nothing in the NFL.

Even if the game stayed competitive longer than it appeared, here are some of the numbers which helped lead to the Steelers win on Sunday at the Heinz Field against the Broncos.

300+; 100+

The Pittsburgh Steelers had both a 100 yard passer and a 100 yard rusher in Sunday’s win over the Broncos. With Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 311 yards and James Conner rushing for 106 yards, it was the first time the Steelers had a 300 yard passer and 100 yard rusher since Week 6 of the 2018 season. It was the same duo who shared this feat in 2018 in Cincinnati when Ben Roethlisberger threw for 369 yards and James Connor rushed for 111.

59

The main reason James Conner was able to go over 100 yards rushing for the day was due to his 59 yard run to seal the game with 1:44 remaining. Had it not been for this rush, instead of Conner finishing with 16 attempts for 106 yards and an average of 6.6 yards per carry, he would have only had 47 yards and an average of 3.1 yards per carry. So not only did the big run put away the game, it really helps to pad the stats.

2/2

With James Conner going over 100 yards rushing in the game, the Steelers are now the only team in the NFL to have a 100-yard rusher in each of their first two games in 2020. Ironically, it was not the same player each week as Benny Snell Jr rushed for over 100 yards in Week 1. In 2019, the Steelers only had a 100-yard rusher in one game. Two games into the 2020 season, they have already doubled their mark from last season.

84

How does a team follow up having a punt return for a touchdown called back on the penalty? They throw an 84 yard strike courtesy of Ben Roethlisberger to rookie Chase Claypool for his first NFL touchdown. With 127 receiving yards in his first two NFL games, Claypool has the third most receiving yards of a rookie in their first two games in Steelers history. Claypool is only behind Louis Lipps who had 260 yards in his first two games in 1984 and Ron Shanklin who had 196 receiving yards in his first two games in 1970.

59 & 25

The Steelers extended two league-leading streaks again in Week 2. The first one is continuing the frustrate Steelers’ fans as they have reached 25 staright games with at least one turnover. Ben Roethlisberger’s interception was the play which extended the streak, but it was Benny Snell’s fumble which really broke the hearts of Steelers’ Nation as it looked like they were just about to put the game away.

The other streak which continued for the Steelers was 59 regular season games with at least one sack. Recording the sacks for the Steelers were T.J. Watt (2.5), Tyson Alualu (1), Terrell Edmunds (1), Bud Dupree (1), Mike Hilton (1), and Cameron Heyward (0.5)

7

The Steelers managed to sack the Broncos quarterbacks seven times on Sunday. With five sacks occurring in the first half, it’s the most the Steelers had in the first half of a game since Week 1 of 2007. With 10 sacks through the first two weeks of the season, it was the first time the team hit double-digit sacks in only their second game since 2007.

10

The Steelers continued to turn their takeaways into points in 2020. This week, Steelers turned two takeaways into 10 points. Through their first two games, the Steelers have produced points on every takeaway this season with 19 points on three interceptions and a fumble recovery.

10/89

After being praised for their lack of penalties in Week 1, the Steelers had a rough day with the officials as they were flagged 10 times for 89 yards. Several of the flags came at key times after the Steelers had apparently made a third-down stop only to find the laundry on the field. The legitimacy of some of these penalties is open to interpretation. Regardless, this is an aspect of the Steelers’ game they need to clean up moving forward.

69

It’s not a stat, but to not recognize the great effort given by rookie offensive lineman Kevin Dotson is something I have to continually bring up. Forced into action due to injury very early in his career, Dotson stepped up in a big way and even earned a game ball from Ben Roethlisberger.

So there are some numbers to help evaluate the Steelers’ performance Sunday against the Broncos. There were times the Steelers seemed to dominate while at others the outcome seemed to be highly in doubt. Although they are still a work in progress, it is great for the Steelers to pick up wins along the way as they continue to improve.

Were there any other numbers which stood out to you? Please leave your answers in the comments below.

Post-Game: Steelers survive more than thrive with a 26-21 win over Broncos

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 5:30am

Join BTSC for immediate reaction after the Steelers 2020 home opener against the Denver Broncos.

The Steelers threw a sack party on Sunday and looked like they could run away with their home opener, but then it got ugly and the Steelers nearly blew a 14-point lead. They ended up surviving and not thriving. But the 26-21 win still feels good. Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield and Bryan Anthony Davis break down the game like no one else does on the latest podcast, the Steelers Post-Game Show.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel.

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Steelers players take to social media to talk about their win over the Broncos in Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 4:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers take to social media after their win over the Broncos in Week 2.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won their second game of the regular season! After their latest win moves their record to 2-0 for the 2020 regular season after beating the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field in Week 2.

Following the Steelers’ win, players took to social media to celebrate the big win over the AFC West opponent.

Take a look at what was said on different platforms following the game! I also added some interesting video which I felt fans might enjoy.

(Editor’s Note: This article may be updated as more players take to social media to talk about the team’s victory.)

2-0!! They can’t all be pretty! pic.twitter.com/0K78pYyDuZ

— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) September 20, 2020

2-0‼️ Let’s Go! pic.twitter.com/JmIkU7K11A

— Derek Watt (@DerekWatt34) September 20, 2020

pic.twitter.com/6ushmKgTp6

— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) September 20, 2020

Great Team Win! 2-0 #HereWeGo #SteelersNation

— Mike Hilton (@MikeHilton_28) September 20, 2020

Yessir, 2-0! Big shoutout to the defense holding us down today! On to the next! #HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/Wt2HIupNEb

— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) September 20, 2020

1-0 every week

— Jaylen Samuels (@JaySam1k) September 20, 2020

I swear we got the best OLB’s in the league. #BigFacts #SteelerNation

— Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (@Love_Ola_9) September 20, 2020

It’s been a great week pic.twitter.com/bAenfmwH6L

— 6IG 9ASTY (@kdd7696) September 20, 2020

My guy a DAWG!!! Hell of a first game brotha!!! Future is bright @kdd7696 pic.twitter.com/u0F5qoXtBP

— Chukwuma Okorafor (@Chuks__76) September 20, 2020

We beat two teams today! #WeAllWeGot

— Vince Williams (@VinnyVidiVici98) September 20, 2020

2-0!!!

— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) September 20, 2020

2-0 baby!! @steelers!!

— Jerome Bettis (@JeromeBettis36) September 20, 2020

2-0‼️‼️‼️ #HereWeGo

— Willie Parker (@3williethadude9) September 20, 2020

Let’s rock out @Bud_Dupree https://t.co/rwdFbd6vGb

— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) September 20, 2020

2-0

— Isaiah D. Buggs (@BigPooh_91) September 20, 2020

2-0 #HereWeGo

— Arthur Moats (@dabody52) September 20, 2020

Just got the W!@ChaseClaypool | #HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/rfYkqiVLsj

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2020

Unlike many teams who lost big name players, the Steelers leave Week 2 injury free

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 8:20pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers remain a fairly healthy unit heading into Week 3.

The injury bug is a nasty thing for any NFL franchise, but it sure did rear its ugly head in Week 2 across the entire league. At every glance all you saw on social media, and during live in game updates, were players who were injured.

Some injuries just knocked players out of the game, while others were the season-ending variety.

Pittsburgh Steelers fans get how tough Week 2 can be. After all, it was Week 2 last season when Ben Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury which ended his season and saw him undergo elbow surgery in the offseason.

Sadly, many players, and some of the marquee players in the NFL, will be undergoing surgeries of their own in the coming days.

Just look at the list of high-profile players who are, or could be, done for the year, this per Field Yates of ESPN:

Yeah, it was like the body bag game, just across the entire league.

But, for once, the Pittsburgh Steelers left their Week 2 game unscathed. For those who are superstitious, I just knocked on wood. But in all seriousness, the Steelers, who were only without David DeCastro (knee) and Stefen Wisniewski (chest and put on Injured Reserve), there were no names which were added to the list after the contest.

This could all change by Tuesday when Mike Tomlin addresses the media, but as of Sunday night the Steelers look to be as healthy as expected. In fact, if they get DeCastro back before the Week 3 game against the Houston Texans at Heinz Field they very well might not have any names on the injury report.

Wouldn’t that be something, but we all know it is unlikely that happens.

Injuries are a part of the game, but when you see players like Nick Bosa and Saquon Barkley being lost for the year, you count your lucky stars for the health of the skill players on the Steelers.

I just knocked on wood again...just in case.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they now turn their attention to the Houston Texans in Week 3.

Kevin Dotson given the game ball for Steelers after their Week 2 victory

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 5:48pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers rookie was forced to a start in his second game, and he stepped up to the challenge

The Pittsburgh Steelers returned the Heinz Field for their Week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos. After emerging victorious with a 26–21 win, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gave rookie fourth-round draft pick Kevin Dotson the game ball after his first career start at right guard according to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com.

'I had confidence they would,' - @_BigBen7 on if he thought the right side of the line, with Kevin Dotson and Chuks Okorafor, would hold up

Ben gave the ball at the end of the game to Dotson and told him to give it to his dad, who has been a life-long Steelers fan.

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) September 20, 2020

Dotson was the first player selected in the 2020 NFL draft who did not receive an invitation to the NFL combine. Even without the chance to impress in Indianapolis, the Steelers selected Dotson with their second fourth-round pick of the 2020 draft.

Going into the season third on the depth chart at guard, Dotson was called into action much earlier than expected as All-Pro guard David DeCastro has been unable to take the field with a knee injury. Following the loss of reserve guard Stefen Wisniewski, Dotson filled in the final six snaps in Week 1 and got the start in Week 2.

For some, judging the play of an offensive lineman is not something which stands out while watching a live contest. Because I was interested in how Dotson and Chukwuma Okorafor would perform as they were both getting their first start of the 2020 season, I rewound the majority of the Steelers offensive plays in order to see specifically how they did. While it was not an in-depth breakdown as I was trying to not miss the next snap, both Dotson and Okorafor performed admirably. But if having to choose which player stepped up their game the most, Dotson stood out even more on several plays.

As for the game ball, Dotson took to social media to share some images from the game along with the ball he was awarded from the Steelers.

It’s been a great week pic.twitter.com/bAenfmwH6L

— 6IG 9ASTY (@kdd7696) September 20, 2020

With two new players starting in Week 2 after the injuries sustained to the right side of the offensive line which also included losing Zach Banner for the season, both players silenced critics early and throughout the game. But when it comes specifically to Dotson, Steelers’ fans should be highly encouraged with the future at guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers if Sunday’s game against the Broncos was any indication.

Make sure you tune in to BTSC as there will be continual post-game breakdown of the Steelers 26–21 victory over the Denver Broncos, including the performance of Kevin Dotson.

Knee Jerk Reactions after the Steelers 26-21 win over the Broncos

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 3:40pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

A quick look at the Steelers first home game without fans in the stadium during 2020 season.

Let’s get this Week 2 party started. I only wish it were December and Myron Cope was still with us. I always loved his ‘Deck the Broncos‘ version of Deck the Halls. I will say this, Heinz Field looks very odd without fans in it. I guess I will have to bring the noise all the way from my living room.

Nonetheless, a simple reminder, a knee jerk reaction is an immediate and unthinking, emotional reaction. It’s basically shooting first and apologizing later (forget that, I apologize for none of my emotion). I can safely say that’s a true definition of your’s truly and a good lot of Steelers’ Nation. Here’s my real-time (and possibly a little bit of my son Kyle’s) reactions during the Steelers’ chance at starting the 2020 season off with two straight wins.

Quarter 1
  • Steelers to kick off. I like starting with the defense on the field.
  • I hate giving up 20 yards on the first play.
  • First third down of the game. I thought they were off the field but that was a very late flag.
  • Pressure by Devin Bush on that third down to cause the incompletion. Thankfully the D gets off the field.
  • Nice return by Diontae Johnson after running into his own guy. Bring out the offense.
  • Diontae catches the punt but manages to fumble the handoff on the first play from scrimmage. Are you kidding me? At least he recovered it himself.
  • Is anyone surprised that Randy Fichtner's offense went run, run, pass, punt on the first possession?
  • The defensive line is getting blown off the ball right now. This is not looking good.
  • Another big run. This defense better stiffen up.
  • Got to hold on this third down.
  • Watt and Dupree combined on the sack fumble recovered by the Steelers!!!!! Lock was not very secure with the football there.
  • The Steelers need to turn that turnover into points.
  • Kyle: "Hopefully this drive isn't the double R double P".
  • Getting Ebron involved early. I like it.
  • The Broncos knew we were going to run it there and James Conner still gets 12 yds.
  • Big third down catch and run by JuJu. Keep that drive alive!
  • James Conner touchdown!!! Turn that turnover into six.
  • Lock out, headed to the locker room. Jeff Driskel in.
  • Driskel made a nice completion, but he paid the price as Cam Heyward crushed him.
  • The defense holds. Steelers have the ball back. Points here would be huge.
  • How did the referees miss that face mask on Roethlisberger?
  • That was a very ugly offensive series. And it looks like that will end the first quarter. 7-0 Steelers, but Broncos start in Steelers territory
Quarter 2
  • They're picking on Edmunds. Shouldn't be a surprise there.
  • Big sack by Mike Hilton followed up by a tackle for a loss by Heyward. Third and forever.
  • Hilton with another big play to foil a screen.
  • Gave up a field goal, how will the offense respond.
  • Diontae Johnson made up for that holding penalty with a nice play on first and 16.
  • Drive stalls. At least Denver starts at their own 10-yard line this time.
  • Had them third and long deep in their own territory, rush four and give up the first down. Geez Louise.....help the offense out would ya!!!
  • A sack on third down. Wish we would have done that on the last 3rd down.
  • A flag on the return I can't believe it!!!! Didn't need it. Take a return TD off the board. Really the zebras see that and call it but miss the face mask earlier on Ben?
  • Ben to Claypool, deep route for the touchdown!!!!!!!!
  • Wow, turn around and Joe Haden gives up the big pass play.
  • Watt with pressure, Tyson Alualu finishes off the sack.
  • 58-yard field goal attempt no good. Steelers still hold a 14-3 lead and get the ball back in good field position.
  • When will Fichtner ever learn that a second and 18 draw play doesn't fool anybody and leaves them with 3rd and 16.
  • Nine yards on 3rd down is great, except they needed 16.
  • Joe Haden with a pick off the tipped pass. Steelers in business under 2 minutes to play in the first half.
  • Third and one at the two yard line and they lose a yard. A touchdown could have been huge here, instead Boswell trots out. 17-3 Steelers.
  • WATT!!!!
  • 17-3 good guys at the half. Steelers receive the second half kick off.
Quarter 3
  • Great return by Ray-Ray McCloud. Good starting field position.
  • After an initial first down, offense loses yardage on the next two plays.
  • Ben gets all day to throw on third down, and then throws a pick. The turnover streak continues.
  • Is this an instant replay? Third and eight the Steelers rush four and give up a first down.
  • Give up another third down completion. Go ahead and tack on a horse collar tackle. Steelers are imploding.
  • Lucky to hold them to three there. 17 to 6 Steelers.
  • A drop on first down, 2-yard pass on second down, leaves third and 8.
  • A neutral zone infraction and a quick pass to Samuels complete for the first down.
  • A couple more completions and now Ben is looking to be in a rhythm.
  • Third and two pass was a telegraphed play, Denver had it snuffed out easily.
  • Go for it on 4th down. That play didn't look pretty, couldn't tell if Ebron was held like he was claiming. Turnover on downs.
  • And now the defense is letting them drive the ball. I am feeling a little less confident right now.
  • Stupid penalty by Hilton there.
  • Very next play give up a touchdown. I don't know if the Steelers can win this game or not.
  • Two-point conversion good. Devin Bush cannot cover Noah Fant. If that issue isn't fixed, the Steelers will lose.
  • Steelers 17 Broncos 14. End of three.
Quarter 4
  • Somebody get me some Tums or something. I am really nervous about this one.
  • Steelers have got to stop throwing passes five yards behind the line iof scrimmage. You cannot gain enough yards that way.
  • Lucky play there quick reaction by JuJu.
  • Third down and nine, let's throw it for seven yards.
  • Thank God JuJu converts that forth down.
  • Touchdown Diontae Johnson. Boy did they need that one.
  • Defense did its job there. Held them deep. The offense will get the ball back in decent field position.
  • Dropped the punt snap, got a safety and the Steelers get the ball back. Steelers 26 Broncos 14.
  • Offense gets the ball back on the Broncos side of midfield.
  • Handed off to Benny Snell and he fumbles it. Broncos recover in decent field position.
  • Every time I think the Steelers have a chance to put it away, somebody messes it up.
  • Get them with first and 20, and Joe Haden gives up 19 yards.
  • There's another flag for pass interference. Devin Bush is not having a good day.
  • Third down and seven. Soft zone. Give up 15 yards.
  • Steelers give up a touchdown on a pass to the RB. The Steelers just refuse to put this game away.
  • Another ball batted down at the line of scrimmage. Ben has had several of those today.
  • Diontae Johnson drops the third down pass.
  • Now is the time for the defense. If they don't step up here this could turn into a loss.
  • 10 yard run on first down. As dominant is the defense looked last week they are not looking anything like it this week.
  • Penalties are killing the secondary.
  • Still picking on Devin Bush.
  • Sack by Terrell Edmunds on the blitz on the 4th down play! Steelers take over.
  • Big run by James Conner there. That should put the nail in the coffin.
  • I love victory formation when the Steelers are the ones in the victory formation. Three, two, one, win! That wasn't pretty, but it still goes into the W column.

Once again, I just fired off what was going through my head at the time. All reactions were in real time. Basically, it is the equivalent of watching the game with me, you just don’t have to go to another room because I am screaming at the television. Now time process it, some quick analyzing for the Scho Bro Show, and then put it behind me as we move toward Week 3. Make sure you get your voice heard in the comments below.

Steelers barely outlast the Broncos 26-21 in Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 3:21pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos delivered a classic game at Heinz Field in Week 2.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos had a lot of similarities heading into the Week 2 matchup at Heinz Field. Both teams were working off a short week after Monday night games, and there were plenty of injuries across both rosters.

Nonetheless, while the Steelers were hoping to move their record to 2-0, the Broncos were just hoping to get their first win of the season after losing to the Tennessee Titans in Denver in Week 1.

It was the Steelers who won the opening coin toss and chose to defer their possession to the second half, giving Drew Lock and the Broncos’ offense the opening offensive possession. Even after the opening drive was aided by a Joe Haden pass interference call on third down, the Broncos were forced to punt on their first drive of the game.

Ben Roethlisberger and company took over at their own 20-yard line, but after a fumbled handoff by Dionate Johnson on the first play, it killed the drive before it even began. The result was a Dustin Colquitt punt after three plays.

The Broncos’ second drive was highlighted by some magnificent running by Melvin Gordon. After gashing the Steelers’ defense, Denver got away from the run and decided to throw the ball. It took only a few plays before T.J. Watt flushed Lock out of the pocket and Bud Dupree cleaned it up, causing a fumble which was recovered by Mike Hilton.

OUR BALL!!!@bud_dupree forces it out, @MikeHilton_28 picks it up!#DENvsPIT on CBS pic.twitter.com/4vmCJFOrnz

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2020

With the extra possession, Roethlisberger connected with Eric Ebron, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington and quickly got the offense into field goal range. But the offense wasn’t settling for 3 points, and James Conner plunged into the end zone after a tough Smith-Schuster catch-and-run. The Chris Boswell point-after made the score 7-0 with 4:23 left in the first quarter.

On the sack by Dupree on the Broncos’ previous possession, Lock left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return for the next drive. With Jeff Driskel under center the offense sputtered and gave the ball back to the Steelers with 1:22 left in the quarter.

After a Steelers three-and-out, the Broncos started the second quarter with tremendous field position, and Driskel was able to do enough to get the Broncos on the board. The Brandon McManus 49-year field goal gave the Broncos their first points, making the score 7-3 with 12:07 left in the second quarter.

Pittsburgh had to settle with just flipping the field position game on their ensuing drive, giving the ball back to Driskel and the Broncos’ offense at their own 10-yard line. After one first down it was the Broncos punting the ball back to Roethlisberger and company.

The first play on the next possession was an 84-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to rookie Chase Claypool for the second Steelers touchdown of the game.

84. Yards. To. The. House.@_BigBen7 | @ChaseClaypool

#DENvsPIT on CBS pic.twitter.com/joAKC0p7cz

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2020

The Boswell point-after was good, making the score 14-3 with 6:23 left in the half.

On the very next play Driskel delivered a deep pass of his own, but following the big play over Joe Haden the defense stiffened and moved the Broncos backwards. Denver attempted a 58-yard field goal by McManus, but it sailed wide right, giving Pittsburgh great field position following the miss.

A three-and-out resulted from the great field position, but it was a tipped ball on Driskel’s next pass which landed in the hands of Joe Haden for the Steelers’ second takeaway of the game.

Give him that ‼️ @joehaden23

#DENvsPIT on CBS pic.twitter.com/m82t4ThmLg

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2020

The turnover didn’t result in a touchdown, but a Chris Boswell field goal making the score 17-3, and that score would hold as both teams went into halftime.

The Steelers received the kickoff to start the third quarter, and when it looked like Pittsburgh was, at worst, going to flip the field, Roethlisberger threw his first interception of the season, giving Denver hope.

With a short field, Driskel was able to move the Broncos into the red-zone, but failed to punch it in for a touchdown. Instead, they settled for another McManus field goal to make the score 17-6 with 8:00 left in the third quarter.

Following the field goal, both teams exchanged possessions, but Denver drew next blood when Driskel drove the offense down the field and hit Noah Fant for the Broncos’ first touchdown of the game. A successful two-point conversion made the score 17-14 with 1:07 left in the third quarter.

Desperately needing a drive, Roethlisberger delivered in a big way. After converting on a 4th and 2, Roethlisberger was flushed out of the pocket and hit Diontae Johnson in the end zone for the first points of the second half.

You love to see it‼️@_BigBen7 to @Juiceup__3

#DENvsPIT on CBS pic.twitter.com/25FtYFPcOg

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2020

The Boswell point-after made it a two score game again, making it 24-14 with 11:25 left in regulation.

After the Broncos ran three plays for zero yards, Broncos punter Sam Martin bobbled the snap and was tackled in the end zone for a safety. With the score 26-14, and the Steelers with the ball again, the first play from scrimmage was a Benny Snell Jr. fumble giving the ball right back to Denver with 9:40 left to play in the fourth quarter.

Driskel and company would not give up, and proved so by driving down the field and adding to their point total. A beautiful pass to Melvin Gordon made it a one score game again, 26-21 with 7:43 left.

Pittsburgh failed to do anything with the ball on their next possession, and Driskel and company continued their hot second half by driving down the field and putting them in position to take the lead in the game. In the red-zone on 4th down Driskel was sacked by Terrell Edmunds to turn the ball over on downs.

Needing just a first down to end the game, James Conner broke off a huge run putting the Steelers in the red-zone and sealing the win for the Steelers.

The 26-21 win moves the Steelers’ record to 2-0 on the season as they prepare for the Houston Texans to visit Heinz Field in Week 3. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they continue to roll through the 2020 regular season.

Steelers vs. Broncos: 3rd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 2:29pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

The Steelers received the kickoff to start the third quarter, and when it looked like Pittsburgh was, at worst, going to flip the field, Roethlisberger threw his first interception of the season, giving Denver hope.

With a short field, Driskel was able to move the Broncos into the red-zone, but failed to punch it in for a touchdown. Instead, they settled for another McManus field goal to make the score 17-6 with 8:00 left in the third quarter.

Following the field goal, both teams exchanged possessions, but Denver drew next blood when Driskel drove the offense down the field and hit Noah Fant for the Broncos’ first touchdown of the game. A successful two-point conversion made the score 17-14 with 1:07 left in the third quarter.

The Steelers had possession near midfield to end the third quarter.

Steelers vs. Broncos: Second-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 1:45pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2020 regular season continues with the Steelers and Broncos locking horns in Week 2. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field, and this time for the second time in the 2020 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Denver Broncos in Week 2 at Heinz Field.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

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Steelers vs. Broncos: 2nd quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 1:39pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

The Broncos started the second quarter with tremendous field position, and Driskel was able to do enough to get the Broncos on the board. The Brandon McManus 49-year field goal gave the Broncos their first points, making the score 7-3 with 12:07 left in the second quarter.

Pittsburgh had to settle with just flipping the field position game on their ensuing drive, giving the ball back to Driskel and the Broncos’ offense at their own 10-yard line. After one first down it was the Broncos punting the ball back to Roethlisberger and company.

The first play on the next possession was an 84-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to rookie Chase Claypool for the second Steelers touchdown of the game.

84. Yards. To. The. House.@_BigBen7 | @ChaseClaypool

#DENvsPIT on CBS pic.twitter.com/joAKC0p7cz

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2020

The Boswell point-after was good, making the score 14-3 with 6:23 left in the half.

On the very next play Driskel delivered a deep pass of his own, but following the big play over Joe Haden the defense stiffened and moved the Broncos backwards. Denver attempted a 58-yard field goal by McManus, but it sailed wide right, giving Pittsburgh great field position following the miss.

A three-and-out resulted from the great field position, but it was a tipped ball on Driskel’s next pass which landed in the hands of Joe Haden for the Steelers’ second takeaway of the game.

Give him that ‼️ @joehaden23

#DENvsPIT on CBS pic.twitter.com/m82t4ThmLg

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2020

The turnover didn’t result in a touchdown, but a Chris Boswell field goal making the score 17-3 with :39 seconds left in the half.

The score would hold as both teams went into the locker room and the Steelers set to receive the kickoff to start the third quarter.

Drew Lock out with right shoulder injury

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 12:57pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Broncos young QB left the game after getting sacked by Bud Dupree.

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have to adjust their defensive strategy for the remainder of their Week 2 game against Denver as Broncos’ starting quarterback Drew Lock has been taken to the locker room with a right shoulder injury and is questionable to return.

And now, #Broncos QB Drew Lock is questionable to return with a right shoulder injury, and Jeff Driskel is in at QB for Denver.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 20, 2020

Lock injured his shoulder on a play where he was sacked from behind by Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree. Dupree also forced a fumble on the play which was recovered by Mike Hilton.

Lock was nearly sacked first by T.J. Watt only to escape and get tackled by Dupree. The Steelers subsequently finished off the drive which began with the turnover with a James Conner touchdown.

Lock has been replaced by backup quarterback Jeff Driskel. Driskel has appeared in 12 games in the NFL consisiting of nine games with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018 and three games with the Detroit Lions in 2019. In his career, Driscoll has a record of 1-7 as a starter and has 10 touchdowns and six interceptions in all of his appearances.

Stay tuned to BTSC for continued coverage throughout the Steelers Week 2 matchup with the Denver Broncos.

UPDATE: Drew Lock has now been ruled out for the remainder of the game.

QB Drew Lock has been ruled OUT

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 20, 2020

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