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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!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, this is a message here from NFL Manager Jeanna Thomas about the new Coral commenting system:

Here are a few features that you might want to include in game day thread articles, to help your community enjoy the game day threads more:

If you change the ‘Sort By’ option to “Oldest,” you can read all the comments in chronological order, and the comment box moves to the bottom. If you leave it as “Newest”, the latest comments will appear at the top.

If you’re using a computer, you can move down the comments using C, and move back up using shift-C by clicking once inside the comments area. This can also be used to ‘load more’ comments.

Under the ‘My Profile’ tab, you can keep track of replies to your comments, and also sign up for email notifications of replies

If you want to auto-show all images/GIFs/Tweets, you can opt into this under My Profile - Preferences

As always, we’re continuing to improve the system, and will be watching how everyone is using it on game days – and if you or your community have suggestions on how we can further improve the game day thread experience, we’d love for you/them to join our commenting feedback group: https://forms.gle/2FTSCHRgnggxH6SR6 or you can email support@coralproject.net.

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO 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

Steelers vs. Broncos: 1st quarter in-game update

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 12:42pm
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.

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 three-and-out the Broncos had the football to start the second quarter.

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

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 11:35am
Photo by Jim McIsaac/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!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, this is a message here from NFL Manager Jeanna Thomas about the new Coral commenting system:

Here are a few features that you might want to include in game day thread articles, to help your community enjoy the game day threads more:

If you change the ‘Sort By’ option to “Oldest,” you can read all the comments in chronological order, and the comment box moves to the bottom. If you leave it as “Newest”, the latest comments will appear at the top.

If you’re using a computer, you can move down the comments using C, and move back up using shift-C by clicking once inside the comments area. This can also be used to ‘load more’ comments.

Under the ‘My Profile’ tab, you can keep track of replies to your comments, and also sign up for email notifications of replies

If you want to auto-show all images/GIFs/Tweets, you can opt into this under My Profile - Preferences

As always, we’re continuing to improve the system, and will be watching how everyone is using it on game days – and if you or your community have suggestions on how we can further improve the game day thread experience, we’d love for you/them to join our commenting feedback group: https://forms.gle/2FTSCHRgnggxH6SR6 or you can email support@coralproject.net.

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

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Who is the Steelers X-Factor vs. the Denver Broncos?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 11:00am
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Who is the X-Factor for the Steelers in their Week 2 game vs. the Broncos?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Denver Broncos in Week 2. It is the Steelers’ first game of the season, and hopefully their first win of the 2020 regular season.

When looking at the matchup between interconference foes, there are players who can be viewed as ‘X-Factors’.

What is an ‘X-Factor’?

I would describe an ‘X-Factor’ as a player who can truly alter the outcome of the game, single-handedly. Not just a plug and play type player, but a player who always has to be accounted for, no matter what.

As a clear-cut example of what an ‘X-Factor’ player would look like, think Troy Polamalu. Polamalu’s skill set made him a force to be reckoned with on every play. So, who are the ‘X-Factors’ for the Steelers Week 1 game vs. New York?

Let’s take a look...

Jeff Hartman

X-Factor: Eric Ebron

Why: The Broncos’ defense will be without their top cornerback in A.J. Bouye due to a separated shoulder, and don’t think they won’t be looking to do whatever they can to stop the versatile wide receiving corps of the Steelers. With the secondary likely being put into deep quarters to not allow JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool or James Washington to burn them.

A smart decision by the defensive coordinator, but the one tool the Steelers didn’t unleash in Week 1 was Eric Ebron. Ebron just had one catch vs. the Giants, but could run wild over the middle with him screaming a mismatch against linebackers or safeties.

Dave Schofield

X-Factor: T.J. Watt

Why: Why not? If an X-Factor is someone who can single-handedly alter the game, T.J. Watt is the definition of an X-Factor. If Watt is wreaking havoc against the Broncos offense, quarterback Drew lock we have to both worry about his pass rush and his ability to go up and pull down an interception much like he did against the Giants. While the Steelers have plenty of impact players on their defense, I think Watt is a player primed for a big game at Heinz Field.

Joe Rowles (Mile High Report)

X-Factor: Drew Lock

Why: It has to be Drew Lock. The Broncos will need him to make more plays than he did last week against this defense.

Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 2 game at Heinz Field? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Anthony McFarland active Week 2 vs. the Broncos

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 10:33am
Handout Photo

The Steelers have their rookie running back active against the Broncos

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released their inactives for their Week 2 game against the Denver Broncos. With one players ruled out due to injury, the list is made up of 4 healthy scratches. With new roster rules for 2020, teams will only need to have 5 players inactive each game unless they elevate any players from the practice squad. After messing up their inactive list last week where they had one more player on the list than needed, the Steelers have corrected their error and only have 5 players inactive for Week 2.

Inactives for the #Steelers today in their 1 p.m. game vs. Denver: QB Dobbs, ILB Gilbert, G DeCastro, DL Carlos Davis, TE Gentry

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) September 20, 2020

All-Pro guard David DeCastro once again was unable to practice this week and was ruled out on Friday. Much like last week, the focus now turns to Week 3 for DeCastro to see if his knee can be ready for next Sunday against the Texans. Steelers’ guard Stefen Wisniewski is not on the inactive list as he was placed on the Reserve/Injured List and Derwin Gray was promoted from the practice squad.

With no other players even having an injury status, the remaining spots on the inactive list are filled with healthy players. It appears a few players who will become regulars on list are Josh Dobbs, Carlos Davis, and Zach Gentry. For obvious reasons, Dobbs should be inactive each week as the alternative is something which I will not even mention. For Davis, he would need one of the five active defensive linemen to have an injury for him to have a helmet. In the case of Zach Gentry, it would also come down to injury, or for the Steelers to have a game plan where they would use a lot of tight ends.

The biggest question for who would be the final person on the inactive list for the Steelers in Week 2 came down between rookie running back Anthony McFarland Jr. and Ulysees Gilbert III. Unsure which way the Steelers would go, McFarland ended up getting the helmet for Week 2 while Gilbert is on the inactive list. Whether or not this is the way the Steelers will go each week remains to be seen. But for this week, McFarland is the player who gets to show their skills for the Steelers against the Denver Broncos.

As for the Broncos’ inactives, they can be seen below. Since Denver elevated two players off of their practice squad yesterday, their inactive list has seven players. Most notable is running back Phillip Lindsay who was already ruled out for the game previously. Additionally, former Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo who signed this week is inactive. Missing from the list is wide receiver Courtland Sutton who will play for the Broncos in Week 2.

Courtland Sutton is ACTIVE for #DENvsPIT.

our inactives » https://t.co/QXe0FedBjd pic.twitter.com/I8lwPgLtnO

— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 20, 2020

Behind Enemy Lines: How the Broncos plan to use TEs to test the Steelers defense

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 10:00am
Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have some talented, and athletic, tight ends, so I go behind enemy lines to try and find out what this means for the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Denver Broncos in Week 2 of the regular season Sunday, but who are they preparing for?

The Broncos don’t have a lot of big name players anymore on their offense. It seems light years since John Elways or even Peyton Manning were under center for the high-powered Broncos offense. But that doesn’t mean Drew Lock can’t make plays with the players he has around him.

With so much unknown, I spoke with Mile High Report writer Joe Rowles to get a feel for what this opponent has to offer in Week 2.

When the Broncos have the ball, how will they try to move the ball with Drew Lock entering his second year under center?

I’d expect the Broncos to try and lean on both the screen and quick game. Lock ran into trouble against the Titans when the offense got into situations where he had to read the field, so I would think controlling the down and distance will be an emphasis. Melvin Gordon will get his totes this week, even if they’re not all that efficient.

One thing I’m really intrigued by is how the Giants had success with their 13 personnel. So far Shurmur’s only run out of it, but with Noah Fant, Nick Vannett, and Jake Butt, Denver has the personnel to lean into it more. This could also help to limit the snaps for Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler if they play.

When the Steelers have the ball, how will the Broncos’ defense attempt to stop Ben Roethlisberger and company?

Minus A.J. Bouye it’s going to be really tough for the Broncos to match up with the Steelers’ receiving corps one on one. I expect more zone coverage this week than last. In order to make up for the loss of Von Miller, Fangio will bring more heat than people are used to. Stunts were a big part of the game plan against Tennessee and their shaky right tackle. I expect Fangio to go after the Steelers now that Zach Banner’s out.

Who is your X-Factor for the game (a player who will be a linchpin for the success of the DEN in the game)

It has to be Drew Lock. The Broncos will need him to make more plays than he did last week against this defense.

One player to watch no one is talking about but could impact the game.

He isn’t a player, but if you loved Mike Munchak during his time in Pittsburgh he’s a huge X-factor in this game. There aren’t many fans who love offensive line play, but the Broncos tackles are really overmatched this week against T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. How Munchak protects them in order to give his young quarterback time in the pocket should be huge.

A prediction for the game.

Since I first saw the schedule I hated this matchup for the Broncos offense. Pittsburgh’s defense is going to be special this year and their best players matchup with Denver’s weaknesses. With all of the injuries I have my doubts Fangio can pull it out unless Big Ben melts down.

Steelers 28 - Broncos 24

(For the best content on the other side of this matchup, be sure to check out Mile High Report for the best on the Broncos.)

Bold and Bizarre predictions for Steelers vs. Broncos in Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 9:00am
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Much to the chagrin of most, BTSC’s Nostradumbass predicts the Steelers’ matchup with the Broncos.

The Steelers are back at home and looking to start 2020 at 2-0, but there are many questions to be answered.

Will the roster be managed correctly when the inactive list comes out? How will the right side of the Steelers offensive line hold up? Will James Conner get the start or will Coach T go with the hot hand, Benny Snell Jr.? Will the unfathomable 24-game streak of the Steelers committing a turnover continue? Can the Steelers secondary rebound after being put on an island last week?

With these questions, story lines, and more, I’ve compiled a list of predictions (some basic, and some utterly idiotic) to look for in this opening contest.

Last week, I came close, but ultimately whiffed on most of my predictions. Let’s see if I can rebound this week.

  • Boujee Smith-Schuster, having been denied the honor of singing the Star Spangled Banner, seeks revenge by becoming amorous with Art Rooney II’s leg during warmups.
  • A large man wearing a Steelers-customized Kylo Ren helmet is seen sneaking into Heinz Field a few hours before the game. Moments before being tazed, the gentleman is heard bellowing “the game day roster spots are different this year. for the love of Preston Gothard...use the appropriate spots allocated to you. Don’t screw it up this week!”.
  • For the second consecutive week, the Steelers find a way to not use the full allocation of game day spots when the inactive list comes out.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is sacked three times on the afternoon, but throws for two scores against zero interceptions.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster catches one of those TD pass from Ben. Despite no crowd, JuJu still manages to wow the fans at home by grabbing Boujee, putting a long-haired blonde wig on both himself and his pooch and belts out the song (Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection. The performance honors both the 30th anniversary of that song hitting No. 1 and the 53rd birthday of the tune’s artists, twins Matthew and Gunnar Nelson.
  • The Steelers’ hold on to the football and the turnover streak ends at 24 games.
  • Eric Ebron catches seven balls in his Heinz Field debut, including the game-winning score in the fourth quarter.
  • Joe Haden and Mike Hilton both record interceptions of Drew Lock.
  • T.J. Watt gets back on the sack train with two. All in all, the Steelers take down Lock on five separate occasions.
  • James Conner gets the start to the stunned silence of the cardboard cutouts in the stands.
  • Speaking of the photo-processed fans, a fight breaks out when one cutout pulls a box cutter on a fellow standup sporting an Elway jersey. The subsequent incineration isn’t nearly as harsh as the revoking of their seat licenses.
  • Renegade is played, despite the lack of fans.
  • It isn’t absolutely the prettiest of contests, but the Steelers raise their record to 2-0 with a 24-19 victory.

Will any of this actually happen? I’ll bet at least one or two. Heck, maybe every one of them. Be sure to post your predictions — basic or bizarre — below.

Steelers vs. Broncos: A unique approach to an AFC rivalry

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 8:30am
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

A Steelers/Broncos preview article with many non-Steelers/Broncos-related opinions and statements peppered throughout.

In the politically and socially-charged times we currently find ourselves in, it appears one of our newest pastimes is deciding not to enjoy something if it includes statements and opinions that really don’t have much to do with that something. The Pittsburgh Steelers have certainly found themselves in a few PR messes in recent years for adding statements and opinions to their football performing duties that a lot of people don’t agree with, even if those statements and opinions don’t really affect the team’s football performing duties.

“Don’t mix that statement/opinion with football!” people who have been fans of the team for years have been known to say. They say it detracts from the football experience, it lessens the fun, it makes them not want to watch.

Therefore, I’d like to conduct an experiment while writing a bit of a preview article about the Steelers Week 2 match-up against the Broncos this Sunday at Heinz Field. While discussing this game, I will pepper in non-Steelers/Broncos-related statements and opinions about subjects that are important to me. Just to be fair, you’ll know when a non-football-related statement or opinion is coming because it will be in bold italics. I’m doing this because I want to see if these statements and opinions detract from the Steelers/Broncos information I’m giving you and/or make you want to boycott me.

Before I get started with my Steelers/Broncos article, I’d like to take this time to say that Rod Woodson was a better cornerback than Mel Blount.

The Steelers, fresh off an impressive 26-16 victory over the Giants last Monday at MetLife Stadium, take on the Broncos this Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. No fans will be allowed inside Heinz Field, but I still think Pittsburgh will have a significant advantage, thanks to the Broncos having to fly cross-country and play a 1 p.m. (EST) game.

If you skydive for anything other than military purposes, you’re crazy. You can’t think of another hobby where plummeting to your death isn’t one mistake away?

Denver, led by young quarterback Drew Lock, could pose a formidable threat to the Steelers’ secondary, thanks to receivers Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, as well as tight end Noah Fant.

The '80’s were great for television, movies and sports, but they kind of sucked for music, with the exceptions of Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Michael McDonald and INXS.

However, Denver does come to town a bit injury-compromised. As you probably know, famed outside linebacker Von Miller will miss a large portion of 2020 after having surgery to fix a dislodged tendon in his ankle. Joining him on the Injured Reserve list for Week 2 is cornerback A.J. Bouye, who suffered a separated shoulder in Denver’s 16-14 Week 1 loss to the Titans on Monday Night Football. Also, running back Phillip Lindsay, who did some damage against the Steelers in a critical late-season loss at Denver in 2018, is currently dealing with a turf toe injury that will keep him out of Sunday’s game.

I don’t plan on going hunting after Thanksgiving. I hate hunting and I think it's a questionable activity.

The Broncos may not have Lindsay, but Melvin Gordon III is no slouch at running back, and he could prove to be a handful.

I never watched Game of Thrones, but it was probably stupid.

Unfortunately, the Steelers are also dealing with a rash of injuries—at least along their offensive line. Right guard David DeCastro, who barely practiced during training camp and didn’t play in New York, is out for this Sunday’s game. Joining him is right tackle Zach Banner after he suffered a season-ending ACL tear late in Pittsburgh’s win against the Giants. Compounding matters, veteran backup Stefen Wisniewski, who filled in for DeCastro in Week 1, also left the game with a pectoral injury that has now landed him on Injured Reserve.

Tailgating is pointless, and I hope it’s permanently banned even after this pandemic passes.

The injury situation along the offensive line means that some youngsters will have to step up and start on Sunday. Chukwuma Okorafor will start at right tackle, while rookie Kevin Dotson will get the nod at right guard. I’m not that worried about Okorafor, given that he’s already had four-career starts. Also, the camp battle between Okorafor and Banner for the right tackle spot was reportedly pretty close and really high-quality. And besides all of that, Banner literally has zero track record at the position, so it isn’t like Okorafor will be replacing a perennial All-Pro. Speaking of replacing All-Pros, Dotson is the literal unknown, given his inexperience and total lack of preseason action. But that’s the great thing about the NFL, sometimes you never know if a player has what it takes unless you just throw him into the fray and find out.

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The Steelers obviously have to take advantage of the Broncos young and injury-depleted defense. This might be a week where the receiving depth really pays off for Pittsburgh. If you add tight end Eric Ebron to the mix, that may be too many targets for Denver to handle.

There are many people who come online with screen names that pay tribute to Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert, and for whatever reason, a lot of them are really mean, nasty and aggressive.

Conversely, what will Denver do to create match-up problems for the Steelers defense? As stated by BTSC’s own Geoffrey Benedict while previewing the game on Know Your Enemy on Wednesday night, one way Denver could neutralize Pittsburgh’s potent pass-rush is by using a lot of two-tight end sets, which could commit the outside linebackers to dropping back into pass-coverage.

I like it when football players stage really elaborate touchdown celebrations. In fact, as Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster did just that after scoring both of his on Monday night, I said, “That’s it, JuJu, make Twitter angry!”

Finally, it remains to be seen how this Sunday’s game will play out, and whether or not injuries will affect either team’s performance. But I am confident the Steelers are the better team and will leave Heinz Field with a 2-0 record.

Dave Chappelle is the greatest stand-up comedian of all time.

So, there you have it, a Steelers/Broncos preview with a lot of my own strong statements and opinions on non-Steelers/Broncos issues peppered in. How did you feel about that? Did it lessen your enjoyment of the preview? Should I expect the readership of my next article to decline?

Before I go, I’d like to dedicate this article to all the left-handed people around the world.

The young WR corps is the fountain of youth for Ben Roethlisberger

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 8:00am
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ franchise quarterback has been revitalized by the team’s young receivers.

The saying about Father Time being undefeated is 100% accurate. Even the best athletes to ever live watched their prowess fade away at some point and result in them stepping away from the game.

However, that doesn’t mean aging athletes, and the organizations who employ them, can’t do little things to help get every last bit of life out of their careers before calling it quits.

One of those is to surround your aging quarterback with young, vibrant and dynamic receivers.

This is exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers have done with 38 year old Ben Roethlisberger and his current receiving corps. When you think about it, Roethlisberger is surrounded by youthful exuberance.

JuJu Smith-Schuster
Diontae Johnson
James Washington
Chase Claypool

All within their first four years in the league, and obviously on their rookie contracts. It can make an impact on players like Roethlisberger, and this is something offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has noticed this season.

“No doubt keeping him young. Maybe giving him a little bit more gray hair, he is catching up to me. There’s no doubt.” Fichtner joked. “That communication has been awesome to see. I don’t know how you couldn’t feel rejuvenated about things like that. You watch a play like these guys were out there making and JuJu jumping in a pile and fighting 11 guys for a ball and things like that. There’s enough to be excited about that group and then Ben has just jumped into it with them.

“That’s exciting, because they are a young group. We are all always developing. Coach Hilliard has done a fabulous job with those guys in the short period of time that he is able to be here. Like I said, a lot of that is just to improve Ben’s communication and interaction with them as well.”

Don’t think this hasn’t been noticed by Roethlisberger himself. Just a few weeks ago he talked about the receiving corps, and what it means to have such a young group paired with one of the most veteran quarterbacks in the NFL.

“I know JuJu [Smith-Schuster] a little bit. I’ve enjoyed working with him in the seasons that I have gotten to do that and I’m excited to get back out there with him and Diontae [Johnson]. I got to watch him last year and what an incredible talent. It has been a lot of fun to actually get more reps with him and more plays.” Roethlisberger said. “I’m looking forward to getting out in an actual game feel with him because I think sky is the limit in terms of talent with that guy. He is fast, he’s quick, he can get open, he’s got great hands. He’s one of those receivers you look forward to playing with.

“James Washington is another guy that I have gotten to play with for a few years and really stepped his game up and I expect him to keep getting better. He shows that he can. He knows the offense in and out and he’s not making mistakes. He’s running fast, he has great conditioning. So, excited for what he can bring. Obviously, the young guys Chase [Claypool], none of us know what to expect yet. I think we are all a little excited there as well.”

At the end of the day, the youth on the Steelers’ offense can equate to more than just positive vibes in the locker room. Giving Roethlisberger this many weapons at receiver could equate to a renaissance for the Steelers’ offense. So far, so good for this group after the Week 1 win over the Giants, but can they keep it going vs. the Broncos in Week 2?

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the Broncos at Heinz Field in Week 2.

Know Your Enemy: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 7:00am
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The complete break down on the Denver Broncos from the Steelers perspective

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in action against the Denver Broncos. The Week 2 clash will be the Steelers home opener.

Location/Time Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

At 1PM EDT Sunday, the Steelers will go to battle within Heinz field for the first time of the season. The Steelers are a perfect 2-0 against the Broncos at Heinz including a 34-27 comeback victory back in 2015. Despite the Steelers success against the Broncos at home, Denver owns the all-time series at 20-11-1, and have won the previous two games against the Steelers.

Mounting Injuries Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The right side of the Steelers offensive line has been hammered with injuries. Perennial Pro Bowler, David DeCastro has been ruled out for a second consecutive week and his back-up Stefan Wisniewski is also out nursing a pectoral injury. That means that Steelers fourth round pick, Kevin Dotson will make his first career start. At right tackle, starter Zach Banner just underwent surgery to repair his ACL and will be out the remainder of the season. Chuks Okorafor will take the reigns at tackle and the Steelers made the move to bring Jerlad Hawkins back into the organization for depth.

The Broncos have been hit much harder by the injury bug early in this season. Former Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller is expected to miss most of the 2020 season with an ankle injury, and Pro Bowl corner is also expected to miss the game with a shoulder injury. Philip Lindsay is also on the injury list, meaning Melvin Gordon likely shoulders the load of a full game.

On the bright side for the Broncos it’s sounding like their young receiving core of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Juedy, and KJ Hamler will all be good to go on Sunday.

Best Player Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

This should be titled best healthy player. Jurrell Casey gets the nod here followed closely behind by safety Justin Simmons. Casey gets the nod from me this week especially because he will be lining up against the inexperienced and unpolished, Kevin Dotson. Casey is coming off of five consecutive Pro Bowls and has the kind of matchup which could potentially see him play the role of game wrecker. Expect a big week from Casey.

Steelers West 2.0 (Steelers elevated?) Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Nick Vannett, Mark Barron, Anthony Chickillo, P.J. Locke, and Diontae Spencer (+OLine coach Mike Munchak) have all spent time on the Steelers roster and now call Denver home. Formerly Arizona was known to be the landing place of former Steelers players but it now appears the the Broncos hold that title. Are they just spare parts or do their knowledge of the Steelers organization hold the key for the Broncos success on Sunday?

Weakest position group Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The injury riddled Broncos have a number of position groups weaker than usual and it reflects in my choice. With out the services of AJ Bouye the Broncos will call on Former Chicago Bear Bryce Callahan and former Cincinnati Bengal Davontae Harris as its starting corners. Harris was just signed to this Broncos team back on September 2nd after being cut by the Bengals and I would expect the Steelers to target him early and often with their outside receivers. This could be the breakout game for Diontae Johnson.

Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Vic Fangio isn't in the good books for many Broncos fans after his play clock management gaff at the end of the Broncos Week 1 loss against the Titans. The pressure will only mount for Fangio if his team were to fall to 0-2. Sunday also marks the return of former Steelers OLine coach Mike Munchak, who joined the Broncos to be closer to his grandkids back in 2019.

How will the Broncos attack the Steelers defense Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Much like the Giants in Week 1 the Broncos have a monster at tight end in Noah Fant. If Devin Bush can take Fant out of the game like he did to Evan Engram then I would expect the Broncos to try to spread the ball around to any of its young receivers. Broncos quarterback Drew Lock is a gun slinger and will toss the ball up to the likes of Courtland Sutton if he believes he's just a little open. The Steelers defensive backs will need to pick off a pass or two to keep the Broncos from stealing this game.

How will the Broncos defend the Steelers offense Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos will need to attack the injury depleted right side of the Steelers offensive line. Twists, stunts, blitz’s, and a ton of pressure will be on the way. With the sheer amount of injuries along on their defensive side of the ball, if Ben Roethlisberger can get some protection he can methodically move the ball down the field all day long. The Broncos have a great safety duo, so look for a ton of underneath routes until the Broncos adjust, which should open up the running game.

X-Factor Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There are two for the Broncos this week. Both Drew Lock and Melvin Gordon are big question marks in this game. Drew Lock has looked good thus far in his short career but has never faced a defense quite like the Steelers. If he gets hit a couple times, or turns the ball over it will be interesting to see how the young buck will react.

As for Melvin Gordon, we saw what the Steelers defense did to Saquon Barkley. However, the Steelers will not game plan this one to strictly take Gordon out of the game. He’s still a solid back but after a week where the Steelers held one of the best running backspin football to just 9 yards it will be interesting to see if the Broncos will stay patient when they try to establish the run.

Sunday, 1PM EDT. We will see how this all plays out.

Crunching the Numbers: Heading home for a big Week 2 matchup against the Broncos

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 6:00am
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

A win for the Steelers to push their record to 2-0 would mean a lot for their post season aspirations.

In the NFL, it is extremely important for teams to take their season one game at a time. The Steelers took care of game one and started the 2020 season on the winning path. Their next task is to push their record to 2-0. Unfortunately, standing in their way is a team who is notorious for tripping up the Steelers even when they aren’t picked to do so.

In this installment of Crunching the Numbers, we’ll take a look at the importance of getting to that 2-0 record, the Steelers current Week 2 home streak, and how the Steelers do early in the season when they are heavily favored.

8 of 10

Since the NFL established there 12 team postseason format in 1990, the Steelers have started 2-0 10 times in those 30 seasons. Out of those 10 seasons, the Steelers reached the postseason in eighth of them. The only seasons they did not qualify for the playoffs were back-to-back in 1998 and 1999. Interestingly enough, all four seasons in which the Steelers reached the Super Bowl since this format was adopted, they all came in seasons where the team started 2-0.

Does starting 2-0 mean the Steelers are destined for Tampa? Not in the least. But would it go along way in qualifying for the postseason in order to have a chance to get there? Absolutely.

61.9%

Since adopting the 12 team playoff format in 1990, teams who start to season 2-0 go on to qualify for the postseason 61.9% of the time. Of the 244 teams who have started the first two weeks of their season winning both games, eams finished with an average record of 10-6 and 151 qualified for the postseason. Of the last 30 Super Bowl champions, 19 of them begin the season 2-0.

41.4%

The other alternative for the Steelers would be finishing 1-1 after the first two weeks of the season. Since 1990, 41.4% of teams that started the first two weeks of the season at .500 have gone on to make the playoffs. Of those 179 teams out of 432, eight of them went on to win the Super Bowl.

6

With the Steelers having a streak of six straight years opening the season on the road, they consequently have returned home in Week 2 in all six of those seasons. The five games in which the Steelers have played, they are a combined record of 3-2 but are currently on a two game losing streak. Of those 5 previous team, all of them finished the previous season with a record of at least 8-8. For 2020, the Denver Broncos come to Heinz Field with record of 7-9 in 2019.

0-4-1

The Steelers and Broncos have faced off 32 times in their history between the regular season and playoffs. Of those 32 matchups, they have met in the first two weeks of the season five times. Unfortunately, the Steelers have never defeated the Broncos while playing them this early in the season. The closest the Steelers came to a victory was in Week 3 of 1974 where they finished in a 35–35 tie. So if the Steelers were to defeat the Broncos on Sunday, it would be their first time doing so this early in an NFL season.

14

Going back to 1978, the Steelers have been favored to win a game by a touchdown or more in the first two weeks of the season 14 times. Although the Steelers have only covered the point spread seven times while not covering the other seven, the more important issue of winning the game has gone in the Steelers favor a majority of the time. With a record of 12-2 in these games, the Steelers currently have an eight game winning streak against teams where they are favored by a touchdown or more in the first two weeks of the season. Ironically, the last time the Steelers lost one of these games was in 1983 when they were seven-point home favorites against the Denver Broncos and were defeated 14-10.

0

Once again, the Steelers will be playing a game with zero fans in the stands. Although this is something they did Monday night against the New York Giants, it will be the first time the Steelers have played without fans at Heinz Field. With the Steelers normally holding a nice home-field advantage at their stadium, Sunday will be the first test as to how the team responds without the sea of twirling terrible towels.

So there are some numbers in regards to the Steelers when it comes to securing a victory in Week 2 over the Denver Broncos. Although past history means nothing when the teams kick off at 1 PM on Sunday, every game is critical in the NFL when there are only 16 which determine who goes to the postseason. For the Steelers, getting every victory they can when they can is all that matters.

Podcast: Low TV ratings, but high excitement for the Steelers after Week 1

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 5:30am

There is plenty to discuss on the latest episode of the popular new podcast Steelers Brunch w/ Tony.

The television ratings were 17% lower than last year for the Steelers opener against the Giants on Monday Night, but that can’t temper the excitement for fans of the black-and-gold after their 26-16 victory. This is going to be just one of the talking points for the latest podcast featuring Tony Defeo. Welcome to Steelers Brunch with Tony! Join the veteran BTSC contributor as he discusses the upcoming Steelers season.

Check out the rundown of the show below, and be sure to comment what you think in the comment section below!

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Steelers/Giants wrap-up
  • A low number of penalties is ponderous
  • Preview of the Steelers vs. Broncos
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out the YouTube clip here, and be sure to subscribe to our channel by clicking HERE:

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.

Distribution Map: Check out if you will get to see the Steelers vs. Broncos game in Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 4:30am

The Steelers are hosting the Denver Broncos in Week 2. Will you get to see it?

If you were like me, before I decided to sign up for the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package every week I was wondering whether I’d be able to watch my beloved Steelers in the comfort of my own home, or if I’d have to go elsewhere to watch the game.

Before there were websites devoted to this, it meant a lengthy trip on the television guide screen to see which game was scheduled to air, but now it’s just a click away.

So, will you get to see the Steelers and Broncos go head-to-head in Week 2? Check out which games you’ll see in your local viewing area.

For those who want to know which game they’ll see, check the map below, courtesy of 506 Sports:

RED: Giants at Bears
BLUE: Steelers vs. Broncos
GREEN: Jaguars vs. Titans
YELLOW: Bills at Dolphins

So, are you lucky enough to be able to watch the game live in your own home, or are you one of many who will have to find other means to view the game? Either way, today is the day to get pumped!!

HERE WE GO!!

Saturday Night Open Thread: Fall, Family and Forgiveness

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/19/2020 - 6:37pm
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Time to have some Saturday Steelers discussion!

It has been an absolutely picture perfect fall day here, south of Detroit. Nice and cool for a Saturday run and warmed up nicely so that yard work could still be done in shorts. In other words it was a great day for football!

  1. What is your favourite type of weather for football. Tell us if it changes if you are playing or depends on where you are watching from...
  2. Give us your best ‘worst weather game’ memory.
  3. Tomorrow we play the Broncos. This probably would have been the game we saw in person this year as my brother in law’s lady friend is a Broncos fan. Are you ok with watching a Steelers game in the company of someone else flat out cheering for the enemy as they sit next to you?
  4. After our week one victory we had some winners and losers. Who do you need to see (that isn’t named James) balling out this week to be able to forgive last week?
  5. As so many of us love music, I have another burning question for y’all. When discussing greatest all time albums, are ‘greatest hits’ albums allowed?

A history of Steelers Week 2 home openers at Heinz Field

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/19/2020 - 4:45pm
photo: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back at how the Steelers have faired when they open at home on the second week of the NFL season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their first game at Heinz Field of 2020 in Week 2. Since the facility opened in 2001, the Steelers home opener has landed on Week 2 nine times. Sunday will mark six consecutive times that the Steelers home opener lands on the second week of the season.

In these games the Steelers hold a 6-3 record, and only one of these games didn't feature Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. While the Steelers are on a two game losing skid in this scenario, they historically defeat their opponents by a wide margin. In each of its six wins the Steelers have covered the spread, that will be tested against the Bronocos with the betting odds set at the Steelers -7.5 points.

Here’s the list of the Steelers Week 2 home openers at Heinz Field:

September 15 2002 Oakland Raiders L 30–17

Raiders quarterback, Rich Gannon threw 63 passes for 403 yards in the Raiders victory. Joey Porter had 2 two interceptions and three sacks for the Steelers.

September 16 2007 Buffalo Bills W 26–3

Jeff Reed kicked four field goals and two extra points in the victory. Ben Roethlisberger out dueled fellow 2004 first round quarterback J.P. Losman in the game.

September 18 2011 Seattle Seahawks W 24–0

The Steelers defense recorded 5 sacks of Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in the shut out victory.

September 16 2012 New York Jets W 27–10

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was just 10-27 on the day while Ben Roethlisberger completed 24 passes on 31 attempts in the victory.

September 20 2015 San Francisco 49ers W 43–18

The Steelers dominated the game in all three phases. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 369 yards with a 155.9 QBR, the defense racked up five sacks, and Josh Scobee hit three of four extra points.

September 18 2016 Cincinnati Bengals W 24–16

Bengals quarterback threw 54 passes and 366 yards, but Ben Roethlisberger’s three touchdown day led the Steelers to victory.

September 17 2017 Minnesota Vikings W 26–9

Chris Boswell went 4/4 on fields goals and 2/2 on extra points fueling the Steelers past the Minnesota Vikings.

September 16 2018 Kansas City Chiefs L 37–42

Patrick Mahomes blasted the Steelers defense with 6 touchdown passes and only 5 incompletions. Ben Roethlisberger tried to make a game of it with 452 yards and 3 touchdowns of his own.

September 15 2019 Seattle Seahawks L 26–28

Ben Roethlisberger would tear three ligaments in his elbow missing the remainder of the 2020 season in this game. Stephon Tuitt would pick up 2.5 sacks but Russell Wilson proved to be too much for the Roethlisberger-less Steelers.

What do you think will happen Sunday afternoon? Will the Steelers end their two game Week 2 home opening losing streak? Let us know down in the comments below!

Steelers Fact or Fiction: Tell me I’m not dreaming Edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/19/2020 - 3:15pm
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

BTSC takes five burning questions regarding the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers and labels them as fact or fiction.

A lot of inquiries were addressed when the Pittsburgh Steelers vacated MetLife Stadium on Monday with a victory and an upright Ben Roethlisberger. With those questions and others possibly solved, others have burst to the surface like the running back controversy and the right side of the line conundrum.

With that offered up, BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a gander at some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.

Are we on point? Only time will tell...

If James Conner is healthy, he will start Fact

While I am definitely not endorsing James Conner starting on Sunday, it’s truly not an indictment of his skills and a plea for him to sit the pine permanently. Although you don’t want to see a player the caliber of Conner lose his job due to an injury, I would rather see Mike Tomlin to go more with the hot hand. At this particular juncture, that’s Benny Snell Jr. I’d like to see a more equal division of labor between the two backs, but Mike Tomlin likes the “bell cow” approach more than a running back by committee. Sentimentality may be on the side of Conner to shed the bulk of the carries. I’m more in favor of them going to third-leading rusher in the NFL.

Last year was an anomaly and the Steelers secondary is a concern again Fiction

Plain and simple...absolutely not! When you sell out to stop the rushing excellence of Saquon Barkley, you are going to have to leave your defensive backs out on an island to fend for themselves. This was a scheme issue and the Steelers secondary are the scapegoats. They won’t be for long.

The Denver defense will feast on Chuks Okorafor and Kevin Dotson and sack Ben Roethlisberger more than four times Fiction

The entire offensive line is in flux without Zach Banner (out for the year) and the right guards, David DeCastro and Stefan Wisniewski, are out for what could be a while. However, Okorafor performed well in camp and admirably in action last season. He should be fine. Although Dotson has never seen preseason action, he’s a road grader and a huge physical presence. Expect Steelers tight ends, fullback Derek Watt and James Conner to be helping out to watch Ben Rorthlisberger’s back. Seven isn’t going to keep a clean uniform, but I still feel safe taking the under on sacks.

The Steelers’ turnover streak will end at 24 games Fact

The turnover streak that’s lasted since Week 10 of 2018 is laughable, but not funny one iota. When the Steelers dominated the Carolina Panthers 52-21, nobody had a clue that the team would commit turnovers every single game since. With Diontae Johnson and the punt team, not necessarily the Steelers offense, committing the muff...that’s a better sign possibly. However, Benny Snell Football lost control of one and JuJu Smith Schuster alertly bailed out his teammate. So, scratch that. I just think they will protect the ball better.

If Renegade is played in the stands with no fans to hear it, Renegade is not played Fiction

If the classic Styx anthem isn’t played on Sunday at Heinz Field because of no fans in the stands, it will be a disservice to the players. Jordan Dangerfield told us at BTSC how much the song fires up the players. Sure, there won’t be towels flying and fans cheering...but it’s still a staple that needs to remain regardless of the attendence.

Are these statements valid? We will soon see. I, personally, am not endorsing all five of these scenarios, but it’s what my gut tells me will occur. What matters most are your opinions on the matter. Please state them in the comments below.

Cam Heyward’s end zone INT provided the first funny moment of 2020

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/19/2020 - 1:12pm
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

What a sight to see Cameron Heyward jump up to make a game-saving interception in the Steelers Week 1 victory over the Giants on Monday Night Football.

I don’t know about most Steelers fans, but I was growing quite nervous as I watched the New York Football Giants carve up the defense on a drive that had already covered 18 plays and 87 yards late in the third quarter of the season opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday Night Football.

Pittsburgh was clinging to 16-10 lead in a game that was a little too close for comfort against an opponent that was (say it with me) lesser.

The 19th play of the Giants’ drive was set to snap at the Pittsburgh four-yard line. A touchdown would have given New York a one-point lead.

Considering kicker Chris Boswell had already missed an extra point in the first half, the thought of him lining up for a potential game-winner in the waning seconds of the game was giving me the shakes.

I could picture the Facebook and Twitter comments in my head as I watched New York quarterback Daniel Jones, the guy they affectionately call “Danny Dimes” (for now), bark out the second-down signals:

“Coach Dumblin’s teams are never ready to play!”

“They always loose (poor spelling on purpose) to inferior teams!”

Were the Steelers about to start off win-less for a third-straight season?

No. Why? Because Cameron Heyward, the captain, the leader of the locker room, would have a little something to say about it. Actually, to be fair (and since when is the Internet ever fair?), outside linebacker Bud Dupree, a man whose play on Monday night would be getting more publicity if not for some guy named Ben Roethlisberger, had something to say about it first; that’s right, he relentlessly chased after Jones on the second-down play and forced him to throw up a duck that fluttered helplessly through the New Jersey air and was headed straight for a sea of black and gold-clad defenders standing in the end zone.

Who would catch it? Devin Bush? Joe Haden? It had to be Minkah Fitzpatrick, right?

None of the above. Since I’m horrible at teasing (and since you probably watched the game), you know it was Heyward, who leapt up to secure the interception before falling meekly to the turf for an innocent touchback that preserved Pittsburgh’s lead.

Anyway, back to that fluttering flick by Danny Dimes. As it floated helplessly through the New Jersey air, Heyward came into frame on my uncle’s television screen. It quickly became obvious he was the leading candidate to make the interception—at least by proximity, if not skill.

As I watched this slowly unfold before my eyes, I jumped out of my seat and screamed, “Catch it, Cam!”

Not to be redundant, but he did.

After the play ended, I noticed that I couldn’t stop giggling. Why? It’s just funny watching huge defensive linemen try and intercept passes.

You don’t know if they’ll catch it, and if they do, you don’t know if they’ll decide to run or fall straight to the turf.

They almost always fall to the turf, even if they initially decide to run.

Finally, Heyward’s interception was worth a lot from a competitive standpoint, as it allowed the Steelers to score 10-straight points and put the game away. As far as entertainment value? I’d say it was worth every bit of the $65 million Heyward just received in his new contract extension.

Thanks for the game-saving and laugh-inducing interception, Cam!

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