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How to watch Steelers vs. Broncos: Time, TV Schedule, and game information

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/18/2020 - 4:30am
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

All the information needed to watch, listen, or follow the Steelers game on Sunday against Denver at Heinz Field.

The Pittsburgh Steelers returned home Monday night with a 1-0 record after defeating the New York Giants. Turning around on a short week, Steelers look to take down the Denver Broncos at Hines Field this coming Sunday. Despite struggles with the Broncos in the past, 2020 is a new year and the Steelers are hoping to continue in their winning ways.

How will the short week affect both teams? Will Ben Roethlisberger continue his impressive comeback? Can the Steeleres defense continue stifling the run?

This Sunday will answer all these questions as the Steelers look to start their 2020 season 2-0. Make sure you get all the information you need below so you can enjoy the Week 2 showdown:

Week 2:

Game: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos

Date: Sunday, September 20th

Kickoff: 1:00 P.M. ET

Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

Weather: Live weather update

TV Channel: Broadcast locally on KDKA-CBS with Greg Gumble and Rich Gannon as commentators and Jay Feely as the sideline reporter. Check the national broadcast map to see if the game is on in your area.

Online: Game Pass offers live games for international viewers and replays of every game upon conclusion with a paid subscription. A subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket gives access to stream games as well. fuboTV also allows you to stream NFL games online with a subscription. NFL Game Center will update the action on a play-by-play basis. The game is also available on the Yahoo! Sports App in some areas.

Radio: Steeler Nation Radio with Rob King, Tunch Ilkin, and Craig Wolfley. The broadcast will be live on WDVE 102.5 FM and WBGG 970 AM in the Pittsburgh area or check the list of Steelers Radio Affiliates. Viewers can listen anywhere in the world online via, but the Steelers Official Mobile App does have geographical restrictions. The Steelers broadcast is also available on XM Radio channel 232 and Sirius Radio channel 99.

You can also follow Behind the Steel Curtain on Twitter or in the game thread article to catch all of the highlights. Be sure to check back with BTSC after the game for our post-match roundup, and subscribe to BTSC Steelers Radio on YouTube to catch The Steelers Post Game Show with Jeff Hartman.

Bengals vs. Browns, Week 2: Thursday Night Football open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 6:45pm
Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

AFC North football in prime time to start Week 2!

It is hard to believe, and some might still struggle with it, but NFL football is back!

It wasn’t always certain there would be a return of America’s favorite game, but here we are, preparing for the Week 2 and another Thursday Night Football kickoff game between the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals.

While this isn’t the first NFL game of the 2020 season, our new commenting system remains a work in progress. While improvements have been made, and they aren’t done with those improvements, just wanted to put a message here from NFL Manager Jeanna Thomas about the 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: or you can email

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 for the Steelers!

If you don’t want to hear Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth babble on about the two teams who reside in Ohio, you can always watch the game on mute and listen to some of our great Steelers podcasts. Check out the playlist below:

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


Steelers Injury Report: 7 Steelers return to practice on Thursday

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:17pm
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

After featuring 10 players who did not practice Wednesday, Thursday’s injury report in much more optimistic in places.

One week into the NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are dealing with injury concerns, specifically along their offensive line. In the second injury report of the week courtesy of the Steelers PR department, David DeCastro and Stefen Wisniewski were still unable to practice as 7 players returned to action on Thursday.

It should be noted Steelers tackle Zach Banner no longer appears on the injury report as he was placed on the Reserve/Injured List on Wednesday after practice. In a corresponding move, the Steelers signed former fourth-round draft pick Jerald Hawkins to the active roster. Banner is scheduled to have surgery on Friday

Since they were unable to return Thursday, DeCastro and Wisniewski are looking less likely to be available for Week 2. If both players are unable to go Sunday, it looks to be the first career start a Steelers fourth round draft pick Kevin Dotson. More importantly, the issue of who would be backing up Dotson at guard is something that Steelers would also need to address.

Returning to the Steelers for Thursday’s practice were wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson. Smith-Schuster was dealing with a knee injury on Wednesday while Johnson has continued to recover from a toe ailment.

Other players to return were Alejandro Villanueva after missing Wednesday due to an illness and Stephon Tuitt who was dealing with an achilles.

As expected, Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey returned after a scheduled day off.

Running back James Conner was also able to return to practice from his ankle injury after leaving Monday night’s game against the Giants.

As for the Broncos’ injury report, you can see the names below when available.

For a recap of the injury report, check out the BTSC Steelers Injury Update podcast below:

NFL Odds and Predictions: Picking all the Week 2 games against the spread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 1:30pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Several of the BTSC staff pick all the NFL games both against the spread and over/under point totals

The 2020 NFL season is now underway! Some teams did exactly what many expected (Bungles always gonna bungle), while other surprised in one way or another. For a moment, half the teams are undefeated while the other half are 1/16 of the way to the 2017 Cleveland Browns. With Week 2 having 10 games featuring teams with identical records (five games of 1-0 teams and five games of 0-1 teams), there will be at least 10 NFL teams who have a .500 record come next Tuesday barring a tie. This also means at least five teams and as many as 11 could find themselves 0-2 to start the season.

For the 2020 NFL season, six of the BTSC staff (a group I have affectionately named the “BTSC Super Six”) have signed up to pick every game against the spread and the over/under point totals. We are doing things a little different this year and including the Thursday games. Please remember we are not experts on betting or any kind of sports gamblers. We are just a group of Steelers’ fans saying who we think will come through each week.

We are using a new program called Tallysight this season. It will allow us to show picks in a much more “friendly to the eye” manner. To understand how it works, the default tab is for our picks against the spread. To see the over/under picks, click the “O/U” tab in the upper right.

Last week, Geoffrey gave us all a good thrashing as he went 12-4 against the spread and 13-3 in the over/under for a 78% accuracy rating which landed him as the #1 person on all of Talleysight! Bryan went 10-6 with his spread picks, but his 6-10 record in the over/under dropped him down to 50% overall with Michael and myself who both went 7-9 against the spread and 9-7 in over/under. As for Jeff and Shannon, they just need to think of Week 2 as being a fresh start.

So here are the picks for the games for Week 2 of the NFL season. Please feel free to list your choices in the comment section below and play along!

Steelers’ unified front showing to be anything but after Week 1

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 12:33pm
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

As on-field performance seems to be coming together for the Steelers, off-field issues are becoming more clouded.

Sometimes the Steelers get it right, and sometimes they don’t.

As much as most fans want to keep the focus with the Steelers to on-field performance, there are several issues beyond the game of football which have been front and center with the black and gold.

In 2017 the Steelers dealt with the issue of the national anthem when playing their Week 3 contest in Chicago against the Bears. In an attempt to not be controversial, they ended up being on the opposite end of the spectrum. It was the Steelers’ hope to not repeat this issue and stay united as a team in the things they do moving forward.

During training camp, Coach Tomlin made a statement along with the team about the concept of unity. Additionally, the team chose to have their players stand together for the national anthem in Week 1 while many of them helped in holding up a banner to support their hometown communities. It was not just a message of unity among the players, but of all people.

Unfortunately, the Steelers did not bring about unity in all of their choices.

The problem arose when the Steelers announced their players would all be wearing the name of Antwon Rose Jr. on the backs of their helmets as part of the NFL initiative which allowed this practice for 2020. The announcement brought the criticism of a number of Steelers fans based on the name they chose and the specifics of the case. One major point of concern was the spin on the details of the case presented on the Steelers website which omitted, or misconstrued, some of the events of the incident in which Rose was killed.

When it comes specifically to the case and the name the Steelers chose to put on their helmets, I am not going to go into those details here. As I well know, I could easily write two completely conflicting headlines about the story both of which would not be considered false. Rather than lay out the entire situation, I encourage fans to look into the details of the case themselves, as it appears at least some members of the Steelers are doing as well.

In regards to the helmet situation, controversy began to emerge when Steelers starting left tackle Alejandra Villanueva chose to have another name featured on his helmet. As a former army ranger who was awarded the Bronze Star, Villanueva chose to honor Alwyn Cashe, a black U.S. Army Sergeant and a Silver Star recipient who heroically gave his life to save six members of his unit in Iraq in 2005.

In his press conference on Tuesday, Mike Tomlin said he was aware of Villanueva’s decision, while team captains Cameron Heyward and Ben Roethlisberger both said on Thursday they were not aware of the situation regarding Villanueva.

The issue with the name on Villanueva‘s helmet was not the person he honored, but the fact the Steelers had said they would all wear the same name. A unified front. At first, the decision for the team to stay united seemed wise, but as more people are becoming informed of the details involved with Rose’s case, it appears it may be more divisive than united.

Steelers captain Maurkice Pouncey posted a statement on his Instagram Thursday about the issue and how he will make his own choice regarding what name, if any, will be displayed on his helmet. According to NFL Network‘s Aditi Kinkhabwala, the Steelers full team voting and deciding on which need to be placed on their helmet may not be completely accurate.

“Moving forward, I will make my own decision...”

As Al Villanueva was (unjustly, IMO) attacked, I was told by multiple #Steelers that every player did not in fact vote on either a)all having the same name/tenet on their helmet or b)on highlighting Antwon Rose specifically.

— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 17, 2020

If this name was not agreed upon by the players, it is very difficult to force them to take one given side on an issue like this one. Pouncey has a long history of working with police and may have felt he was made to take a stance against something he has supported for quite some time.

While some have criticized Pouncey for not knowing the situation before the name was placed on his helmet, it is unclear at what point Pouncey was even informed this name would be there. As much as fans want players to “stick to football,” expecting a player to go and research all the details of the case involving a name placed on their helmet hours before taking the field is quite hypocritical. And in Pouncey’s defense, at least he is taking the time now to search for more details and answers about exactly what he was supporting.

As much as many fans wish they could separate their desire to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers from these types of issues, it appears these situations are not going away anytime soon.

There are a number of fans who claim they have given up on watching NFL contests, and if the ratings are accurate, it appears they were serious in their choice to not view games. What some are labeling a “ratings crash” for the Monday Night Football doubleheader, the Steelers-Giants game saw a 21% reduction in viewership over the 2019 early game of the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans according to The second game of the doubleheader between the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos was down 38% from the previous season where the Broncos took on the Oakland Raiders.

Of course, there are many reasons for ratings decline, but the displeasure of some fans on how these issues are being presented is undeniably a major factor.

Specifically for the Steelers moving forward, team president Art Rooney II issued a statement on Thursday morning.

Statement from #Steelers President Art Rooney II:

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 17, 2020

Like many of you who frequent BTSC, the biggest unifying factor we have here is the Steelers. And as much as many would like to “stick to football,” sometimes other issues involving the Steelers arise. It is our job to cover the team the best we can for you the readers, both on and off the field.

Exactly how players will respond to the helmet issue for Week 2 has yet to be determined. But make no mistake, it is going to be a major focal point of the media going forward. In fact, when captains Cam Heyward and Ben Roethlisberger each spoke to the media in interviews on Wednesday which were not viewable to the general public, the majority of the reports immediately coming out were about the name on Villanueva‘s helmet, and not the team’s victory in prime time.

The Steelers have attempted a message of unity throughout the troubling times in our country. Unfortunately, when it came to this particular decision, they chose an issue which has apparently divided both players and the fan base.

Stay tuned to BTSC as the Steelers prepare for their game on the field Sunday at 1 PM against the Denver Broncos.

A breakdown of how dominant the Steelers’ defense was vs. the Giants

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 11:45am
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense was more than dominant in Week 1, and this breakdown shows you just how dominant they were.

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the New York Giants in Week 1 on Monday Night Football by the final score of 26-16. But the score didn’t really indicate just how dominant the Steelers’ defense was over the Giants’ offense.

Did they give up some big plays? Yes.

Did they surrender some third down conversions? Absolutely.

But was their athleticism and ferocious pursuit on display every time the ball was snapped? No doubt about it.

Everyone saw the same game on ESPN Monday night, but when you take a look at the All-22 you can see just how incredibly dominant the defense was at MetLife Stadium. It goes far beyond just shutting down Saquon Barkley.

And who better to illustrate this fact than Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network! The man they call Baldy takes to his verified Twitter feed throughout the week breaking down games and plays which caught his eye for one reason or another. Considering the Steelers and Giants game was in front of a national stage, you can imagine he saw plenty to dissect.

Take a look at the videos below as Baldy breaks down the Steelers defense as only he can:

Plain Dominance

.@steelers v @giants and this play illustrates how dominant #Pittsburgh was last night. Not much more needs to be written or said #BaldysBreakdowns

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 15, 2020

Joe Haden still has it

.@steelers @joehaden23 v @giants this is how you play defense. This is how you stop the “Toss Crack” this is the stuff that makes us ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ this game . This is better than coffee in the morning. Thanks Joe Haden. #BaldysBreakdowns

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 15, 2020

Bud Dupree doing work

.@steelers @CamHeyward @Bud_Dupree forces the floater and Cam goes vertical to take the pigskin away. #BaldysBreakdowns

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 15, 2020

Not everything was bad for the Giants

.@giants there were a few offensive highlights from last night amongst some real opportunities. Time to learn quickly what you have, don’t have, and what you need to do to improve. #BaldysBreakdown

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 15, 2020

For the latest news and notes on the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the Denver Broncos to invade Heinz Field in Week 2 be sure to stay tuned to BTSC.

Podcast, Know Your Enemy: Can the Steelers bust the Broncos?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 11:00am

Michael Beck and Geoffrey Benedict break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold’s next opponent, the Denver Broncos

Its time once again to become a scout for the Steelers before their Week 2 showdown with the Denver Broncos. Welcome to Know Your Enemy. It’s the show where Michael Beck and Geoffrey Benedict break down the upcoming opponent for the Black-and-Gold. This week Mike and Geoff welcome Joe Rowles from SB Nation’s Mile High Report. What kind of threat are the visiting Broncos? This question and more will be pondered on the latest episode from the BTSC family of podcasts. As always, it is a good time to talk everything Steelers.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • A look at the 2020 home opener vs. the Broncos
  • Guest Joe Rowles from Mile High Report
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Michael and Geoffrey walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

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
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:

Broncos reportedly signing former Steelers OLB Anthony Chickillo

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 10:42am
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

With only three outside linebackers on their roster, the Broncos bring in someone familiar with the Steelers.

It appears as if the Steelers Week 2 opponent is adding a familiar face to take on the black and gold on Sunday at 1 PM. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Denver is signing former Steelers outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo who was on the New Orleans Saints practice squad.

Broncos are signing linebacker Anthony Chickillo off of the Saints’ practice squad, per @RosenhausSports.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2020

Chickillo was released by the Steelers prior to the start of the 2020 NFL league. The move saved the Steelers $5 million towards the salary cap.

After signing a two-year, $8 million contract prior to the 2019 season, Chickillo had a disappointing year. Between injuries and legal issues stemming from an incident at the Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin, Chickillo only appeared in 11 games in 2019. Not only did Chickillo not play as many games, his production continued to decrease as he only registered 0.5 sacks and 19 tackles while playing 143 defensive snaps as the primary reserve outside linebacker.

Chickillo signed with the New Orleans Saints for 2020 training camp but failed to make the 53-man roster. The Saints added Chickillo to their 16-man practice squad as one of the six veteran players allowed this season.

Denver was in desperate need to add depth to the outside linebacker positions. Currently, the team only has three players active in Jeremiah Attaochu, Bradley Chubb, and Malik Reed. With Chubb coming off of ACL surgery, his snaps have been limited for the Broncos to beign 2020. Additionally, Denver’s All-Pro Von Miller is currently on the team’s Reserve/Injured List.

By signing Chickillo off of another teams practice squad, he will be required to be on the Broncos’ roster for at least three weeks.

While some may believe the Broncos signed Chickillo mainly because he was familiar with the Steelers, the notion of adding the best player possible into the rotation would be a more likely reason. There is already plenty of familiarity with the Steelers as Denvers offensive line coach Mike Munchak left the Steelers for Denver after the 2018 season. The Broncos also have former Steelers inside linebacker Mark Barron and tight end Nick Vannett.

Stay tuned to BTSC for all your updates as the Steelers continue to prepare for their Week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos.

The Steelers team-first philosophy was on display vs. the Giants

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 9:30am
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The type of players in the Steelers locker room are ones with which you can win a championship

Throughout the offseason, not one member of the Steelers organization found themselves in trouble with the law or breaking the NFL substance of abuse policy/performance enhancing drugs policy. Thinking back just a few short years ago, an offseason like that would have been a dream come true.

If we learned anything about the Steelers Week 1 victory over the New York Giants, it’s that this team is willing to do whatever it takes to win. No one was clamoring for more targets, no one was throwing a fit on the sideline, and no one publicly complained about the job the coaching staff asked them to do. Combine this with a laundry list of hustle plays and the Steelers have found the recipe for winning in the NFL.

Just take newest Steelers tight-end, Eric Ebron. Ebron has been a high-volume target in years past, but only saw two targets thrown his way, one of which was sailed over his head. But Ebron didn't complain, in fact he was celebrating his teammates success like JuJu Smith-Schuster when he scored in the first half. He also bought into the blocking game which is something he’s really never been asked to do. And he was successful.

1-0‼️‼️ GREAT TEAM WIN! (I was in them trenches) relax haha.

— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) September 15, 2020

Speaking of JuJu Smith-Schuster, the fourth-year wide out scored a pair of touchdowns in the game, but his biggest play may have been when Benny Snell Jr. fumbled the ball in the second half. The Giants had just turned the ball over at the conclusion of a 19-play drive, and the Steelers defense was obviously exhausted. The second play of the Steelers subsequent drive, Snell broke a carry 21 yards but fumbled the ball at the end of the run. The ball was surrounded by blue jerseys but, Smith-Schuster put himself in a perfect position to recover the ball in case catastrophe happened. He didn't have to trail the play, but he did and the Steelers marched down the field and added another three points to its lead.

JuJu on the fumble recovery: "literally in that pile, all I could hear was my teammates say, 'watch the ball, watch the ball.'

"My left knee was about to bend, and my finger was twisting." ... said the ball was under his right rib and he was keeping pressure to hold possession

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 15, 2020

Another receiver that made a great effort play was third-year guy, James Washington. Washington caught a Ben Roethlisberger pass with less than 10 seconds on the clock and fought his way into the end zone. Washington fought off two Giants defenders to get across the plain before half-time and the Steelers would take the lead into the half. A lead in which they never surrendered.

.@JamesWashington’s 13 yard touchdown proved to me how this team has bought in. The #Steelers will go very far getting effort plays like this #HereWeGo


— Michael Beck (@MichaelBeck56) September 15, 2020

And finally the Steelers defense as a whole. Mike Tomlin noted that the game plan was to stop Saquon Barkley at all cost. Considering he only rushed for 6 yards on 15 carries, I would say they did a good job. But in order to stop Barkley the Steelers stacked the box and forced their defensive backs into one-on-one matchups for the majority of the game. On paper it would appear that the Steelers secondary didn't have a great game, but when you take into consideration how difficult it is to win one-on-one throughout an entire game, I would say they did a great job. No one in the secondary complained, they just gutted it out and won the game.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that his defense compromised the secondary in order to maintain their commitment to containing Saquon Barkley.

— Jackson Thompson (@Jacksonbht) September 15, 2020

The combination of these players doing whatever it takes to win and apparently having one of the most ego-free locker rooms in the NFL is a recipe for success. Mix in the level of talent on the Steelers roster and fans are looking at a Super Bowl contending team.

3 games to watch in Week 2 which give perspective to the 2020 Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 8:30am
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

There are several NFL games this week which will help get a better understanding of teams the Steelers face later in 2020

The Pittsburgh Steelers come back to Heinz Field for Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season with a record of 1-0. While some fans look at their Week 1 victory as insignificant given the Giants 2019 season, others feel the Steelers have shown they are back as a playoff contender. What Week 2 of the NFL season brings is perspective on teams wins and losses they experienced the week before.

For Week 2, here are the three games which could give the most perspective on what the Steelers can expect with some of their future opponents as well as an indication of the magnitude of their Week 1 win:

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Thursday at 8:20 PM on NFL Network

Although the Steelers do not face the Browns until Week 6 and the Bengals until Week 9, knowing how these two teams go up against each other will help to shape the AFC North. With the Cleveland Browns completely laying an egg against the Baltimore Ravens last week and the Bengals missing an easy field goal to send their game to overtime against the Los Angeles Chargers, seeing how these two fair against each other will help put the overall perspective of the teams from Ohio much more into focus. With this game being on Thursday night, it’s an easy one for the casual Steelers fan to watch.

New York Giants at Chicago Bears Sunday 1:00 PM on CBS

This time slot was one I found difficult as no matter what other options there were it would be a game which occurred while the Steelers are playing. Being tempted to put the Tennessee game against Jacksonville here as the Steelers face the Titans in Week 4, Jacksonville is also an enigma so it will be difficult to gauge the quality of the Titans from this game. Therefore, looking at the team the Steelers most recently defeated in the New York Giants can help put the Steelers victory more in perspective. How will the Giants fare against the Chicago Bears? Will Daniel Jones show he is a quality NFL quarterback? Can Saquon Barkley get going in the running game? If the Giants look impressive, it makes the Steelers Week 1 win that much more meaningful.

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans Sunday at 4:25 PM on CBS

This game is handed to Steelers fans to watch. It will be on same channel as the Steelers immediately following their game and will feature their AFC North rival against their Week 3 opponent. This matchup has the potential to show how much of a contender both teams are for the 2020 season.

So there are the three main matchups which can give Steelers fans an indication as to the quality of upcoming opponents in 2020. With only one game to go on so far in 2020, it will be team’s first chance to play a game after being able to view tape on their opponent.

So which of these games will be the most telling as it pertains to the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers? Make sure you vote in the poll and give your thoughts in the comments below.

Scouting Report: Patience and protection are keys to victory for the Steelers in Week 2

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 7:15am
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Denver Broncos in Week 2, and the keys to victory might not be as easy as many believe.

This week, we are scouting the match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) and the Denver Broncos (0-1) in Pittsburgh’s home opener at Heinz Field. The Steelers knocked off the New York Giants in week one, 26-16, while Denver yielded a late field goal to fall at home to the Tennessee Titans, 16-14.

Before we do that, let’s check our scouting report from last week and see how the Steelers did with their keys to victory against the Giants:

Stop Saquon Barkley. Mission accomplished. The Steelers played more of their base 3-4 than normal to stop Barkley and it worked. Barkley carried 15 times for a measly 6 yards and was a non-factor most of the night.

To blitz or not to blitz? One of the key questions about the defensive game-plan versus the Giants was how often the Steelers would blitz young quarterback Daniel Jones. The answer? A lot. The Steelers came after Jones relentlessly, hurrying him constantly, sacking him three times and forcing two interceptions.

Protect against an early big play. After a marginal pass interference call on Joe Haden kept a first quarter drive alive, the Giants hit Darius Slayton on a 41 yard touchdown pass to the post. The defense recovered nicely from that mistake, however.

All things considered, it was a great team effort in week one. Now, on to the Broncos!

The last time these teams met, in Denver in 2018, this happened:

While that play has little relevance to Sunday’s encounter, any time I can show a GIF of a Steelers’ kicker throwing a touchdown pass to an offensive tackle, I’m going to do it.

Our scouting report this week focuses on Pittsburgh’s passing game versus Denver’s pass defense. The Broncos finished in the middle-of-the-pack defending the pass in 2019 (14th in defensive pass DVOA). Last week, against Tennessee, they yielded 249 passing yards and two touchdown throws to Ryan Tannehill while sacking the Titans quarterback just once. They will have their hands full with a Pittsburgh passing attack that was surprisingly sharp in their opener. Ben Roethlisberger finished 21-32 for 229 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in his first return to action in a year. Roethlisberger shook off some early rust and finished the final two and half quarters by going 14-18 for 151 yards.

Denver’s pass defense has suffered some adversity. They lost their best cover corner, Chris Harris Jr., to the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency. They brought in seven-year veteran A.J. Bouye from Jacksonville as his replacement. Bouye left the Tennessee game with a shoulder injury and did not return. The rest of Denver’s defensive backfield includes corner Bryce Callahan, free safety Kareem Jackson and strong safety Justin Simmons. It’s a decent group but lacks a shutdown player, especially if Bouye is out.

The biggest blow occurred up front, where star linebacker Von Miller, who last season cracked the Top 25 for sacks in NFL history (106), was lost to a season-ending ankle injury in practice just before the opener. Denver has another solid edge rusher in third-year linebacker Bradley Chubb, but Chubb is coming off of a torn ACL that shut down his 2019 season after just four games. Finding ways to pressure Roethlisberger will be essential to their success in Pittsburgh.

Here, then, are two things to look for when the Steelers put the ball in the air against Denver’s defense.

Attacking Denver’s zone coverage

Head coach Vic Fangio is a former defensive coordinator and retains a heavy hand in the Broncos’ game-planning. The last time the Steelers played a Fangio-coached defense was in 2017, when they lost 23-17 in overtime at Chicago. Roethlisberger struggled that day, going 22-39 for 235 yards. He was sacked three times and lost a fumble as the Steelers turned in one of those playing-down-to-a-weaker-opponent performances that has occasionally haunted them.

The lost fumble is interesting because it underscored a difference between the 2017 offense and the one Roethlisberger operates today. Namely, how much he relied on Antonio Brown in the passing game.

In the still frame below, we see the play, a 3rd and 8 late in the 1st quarter from the +38 yard line. Roethlisberger had three open receivers at or near the first down sticks on the right side of the field with only two Chicago defenders in the vicinity. Instead, he can be seen staring down Brown (indicated by the arrow), who is double-teamed by the corner and safety up the left sideline and has not yet come out of his break or turned to look for the ball:

The pass rush eventually swooped in, the ball was stripped and the Bears recovered. It was a squandered opportunity in Chicago territory, the product of an offense that was far too reliant on #84 in the passing game.

Brown was targeted 14 times in that Chicago game, making 10 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. While those numbers are good, the disparity in targets is significant. Brown had twice as many targets as the next highest player, Martavis Bryant, who received seven.

In week one, the Steelers offense distributed the ball more equitably than its 2017 counterpart. Diontae Johnson led the team with ten targets. But nine players were targeted overall, eight of whom caught at least one pass. Juju Smith-Schuster had six catches on six targets and caught two touchdown passes. James Washington caught a touchdown. Rookie Chase Claypool made a spectacular catch for the first reception of his career. Roethlisberger was successful at finding open receivers and not forcing the ball into coverage.

That approach should be more effective against Fangio’s zone-heavy scheme than relying on a single player like they did in Chicago. Against man coverage, teams often target the best match-up available, meaning the player most likely to win their one-on-one encounter. It makes sense, in those cases, to target a receiver like Brown repeatedly.

Against zone, however, a quarterback must be patient and take what the defense yields. Offenses can scheme to create advantages against zone by running “zone-beaters,” or route combinations designed to out-number a defender in his particular area. A good example of that is shown below, where a curl-flat concept versus cover-3 conflicts the flat defender by putting a high and a low receiver in his zone. The quarterback cannot force the ball to the receiver running the curl if the flat defender has dropped underneath it. Instead, he must throw to the flat. Patience and smart ball distribution are more important against zone than feeding a specific target.

With the corner playing deep third coverage, the flat defender is conflicted here by the high-low combo in his zone

Predominantly, the Broncos are a cover-4 defense (otherwise known as “Quarters”). Quarters requires defenders to pattern-match, which means they lock on a receiver until he clears their area, at which point they pass him to a teammate. As you can see in the diagram below, Quarters potentially drops four defenders deep, making it difficult for offenses to throw vertically. However, the underneath area is manned primarily by linebackers. The Steelers will likely target Denver’s backers, whose coverage skills are mediocre.

Image couresty of X&O Labs

Tannehill targeted ten different receivers on his 44 pass attempts against Denver. He was patient and did not try to force the ball deep. On Tennessee’s 12 play, 83 yard drive that set up the game-winning field goal, Tannehill completed throws of 8, 9, 6, 11 and 6 yards. On their third quarter scoring drive, the yardage on Tannehill’s completions went 8, 7, 4, 13, 7 and 1. Dropping the ball into the shallow voids in zone coverage may not be sexy but it’s smart.

Here’s an example. The Broncos are playing off with their corners, protecting against the deep ball, and are aggressive attacking the routes in the middle of the field. Tannehill reads the Mike linebacker (#45) and throws the outside slant when the Mike drops under the slot receiver:

Here’s another. It’s the same route. This time, the Mike sits in the middle of the field so Tannehill fits in a tight throw to the slot:

Both plays show how Denver prefers to defend the pass by rushing four, dropping seven, matching routes underneath and protecting against the deep ball. And both show how Tannehill, by being patient and taking what the defense gave him, was deliberate and effective.

The Steelers were excellent in the second half attacking the underneath zones against New York. Diontae Johnson made a living on routes like this, where the Steelers ran four verticals to stretch New York’s zone coverage and brought Johnson on a shallow cross underneath. Roethlisberger got Johnson the ball quickly and he had room to run after the catch:

Roethlisberger is comfortable with these reads and throws, so the Broncos will have to mask their coverages to try to confuse him. If Roethlisberger gets a feel for what Denver is doing, and if he takes what he’s given and spreads the ball around, expect a big night from the Steelers in the passing game.

To blitz or not to blitz? (Denver edition)

We asked this very question of the Steelers defense in last week’s scouting report. This week, we ask it of Denver’s unit. The Broncos finished 17th in the NFL last season with 40 sacks. However, their pass-rush win rate, which tracks how often a rusher can beat his block in under 2.5 seconds, ranked 30th overall. The Broncos would benefit from more one-on-one wins up front.

On the other side of the ball, the Steelers finished 2019 with the seventh-highest team pass-block win rate (the ability of linemen to sustain their block for 2.5 seconds or more). Coupled with the emphasis in the Pittsburgh passing game on getting the ball out quickly, it would seem, on paper at least, that the pass protection match-up favors the Steelers.

Fangio was not big on blitzing when he ran the defense in Chicago. In 2018, the Bears rushed just four players more often than any team in the NFL. Fangio has been true to that philosophy so far in Denver. The Broncos rarely sent more than four against Tennessee. Their seven-man zones prevented big plays but gave Tannehill time to find windows underneath. The loss of Miller, and Denver’s lack of pressure against Tennessee, may change his thinking.

The Steelers’ offensive line was in flux entering the New York game, with starters at three new positions. Injuries to right tackle Zach Banner and right guard Stephen Wisnewski are likely to re-shuffle it once again. Rookie guard Kevin Dotson may start for Wisnewski on Sunday. And, with Banner out for the season with a torn ACL, Chuks Okorafor will likely fill in at tackle. Denver may try to confuse the inexperienced duo with twists and stunts in an effort to generate more pressure. Pittsburgh may have to adjust by leaving a back or tight end in to help with protection. Denver’s pass rush scheme versus Pittsburgh’s plan to protect Roethlisberger is the most compelling chess match of this contest.

The match-up between the Steelers and Broncos may hinge on a couple of factors, then: Ben Roethlisberger’s willingness to be patient, spread the ball around and take what Denver gives him (all of which he did well in the opener); and Denver’s ability to apply more pressure to Roethlisberger than they did to Ryan Tannehill in week one. Success in the passing game is likely the key to a 2-0 start for the Steelers.

Ben Roethlisberger passed a big test in his first game back

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 6:00am
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger all the way back after one week of the 2020 regular season? That cannot be answered, but he did pass a huge first test in the Steelers 26-16 victory over the Giants.

Heading into the start of the Steelers 2020 regular season, the big question that hovered over the team like a UFO in a Twilight Zone episode was the health of Ben Roethlisberger, the savior of a franchise quarterback that was largely responsible for making the Steelers a Super Bowl champion (twice) all the way back in the 2000s.

The Steelers remained a Super Bowl contender even through all of those rough transitional years of the 2010s, when Roethlisberger and a revamped offense kept the team afloat.

The reason why the offense had to do so much of the heavy lifting during the previous decade was due to a defense that took a little longer than many had hoped to transition from old, slow and it’s over, to young, fast and good again.

But despite carrying a Roethlisberger-less offense on its now very sturdy back all throughout the 2019 season, the young, fast and good Steelers defense couldn’t quite carry it all the way to the postseason.

Thankfully, the Steelers franchise quarterback was on the mend from major elbow surgery and on his way back to help the offense pull its fair share and make the Steelers a serious contender, once more.

At least that’s what everyone hoped heading into Monday night.

With sixty minutes of the Steelers 2020 regular season now officially in the books, it’s safe to say Roethlisberger is back.

Or maybe it’s safer to say Roethlisberger passed his first huge test by completing 21 of 32 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the Steelers 26-16 victory over the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Roethlisberger was sluggish early on, but he pulled it together. Did he show that he could throw all of the passes in his tool-belt? No, but he proved that he could throw enough of them. Roethlisberger didn’t go deep all that much, and I don’t remember seeing many passes where he had to fit the ball into tight spaces, but he wasn’t throwing lolly pops, either. He was accurate. He was precise. He was efficient. The Steelers scored three touchdowns on four trips inside the red zone. They were also eight of 15 on third down conversions. Not bad.

And was it any coincidence that the Steelers scored 26 points on Monday—or almost exactly what they averaged per game during Roethlisberger’s last full season two years ago?

That was a rhetorical question, because I don’t think it was a coincidence.

There are still more tests for Roethlisberger to pass throughout the remainder of the 2020 campaign. Can he really throw all of the passes in his tool-belt? Has he re-gained the accuracy on his deep passes that seemed to be missing for a few years prior to his injury? What about those tight windows?

Furthermore, how will that 38-year old, surgically-repaired elbow hold up over the grind of a 16-week regular season?

That all remains to be seen, but Big Ben passed the first big test of the 2020 regular season.

Onto the second test.

Podcast: A smorgasbord of Steelers stats after Week 1

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 5:30am

Dave Schofield is taking his Steelers Stat Geek show to the AM schedule in the BTSC family of podcasts. Check out the rebranding of the classic stats show with the Co-Editor of BTSC.

The Steelers opening game of the 2020 season produced the most desireable stat, a win. However, with Benny Snell Jr. running wild, Ben Roethlisberger throwing for three scores and the defense shutting down Saquon Barkley...the surface was barely scratched when it comes to the cornucopia od stats. This is what will be discussed on the Thursday episode of the AM slate of the BTSC family of podcasts. Join Co-Editor Dave Schofield as he breaks out the Steelers slide rule and geeks out only like he can.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • A smorgasbord of stats after Week 1
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: Can you compare this 2020 defense to the 1976 version?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 4:30am
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. The Steelers have finally taken the field in the regular season! It is to check in on all things black-and-gold as the team rolls through their 2020 schedule!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at if the 2020 Steelers defense is comparable to the vaunted Steel Curtain of the 1970s.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Is this defense as good as the 1976 version?

Mark Madden: This year’s Steelers defense could be comparable to ’76 unit

By: Mark Madden, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Steelers defense in 1976 is regarded by some as the NFL’s greatest ever, and is among the top five by acclamation.

The current Steelers defense has a chance to approach those lofty heights.

It won’t allow just 28 points over its last nine games or post five shutouts like that ’76 defense. That can’t happen in today’s football. The game has changed. The rules are designed to encourage scoring, as is the officiating.

Today’s defense might have four Hall-of-Famers like the ’76 unit. It probably won’t send eight to the Pro Bowl like the ’76 unit.

But that defense was constructed for then. This defense is constructed for now.

Consider Monday’s season-opening 26-16 victory over the New York Giants. The Steelers’ defense didn’t have a vintage night. The Giants converted eight of 15 third-down opportunities. They put together a 19-play drive. New York quarterback Daniel Jones hit Darius Slayton for a 41-yard touchdown, putting the ball where Minkah Fitzpatrick vacated. Nobody’s perfect, not even a first-team All-Pro safety.

But the defense still heavily influenced the result by being a splash-play machine. That’s how defenses win games in 2020.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

Who is Alwyn Cashe and why did Alejandro Villanueva choose to honor him?

By: Paul Guggenheimer, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is being both criticized and praised for taping the name Alwyn Cashe — an Army sergeant who died fighting in Iraq in 2005 — over the name of Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of his helmet for Monday night’s game.

The Steelers decided as a team to support Rose, who was killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer in June 2018, by displaying his name on the back of their helmets. Pittsburgh players also held up a sign in front of their bench that read “Steelers Against Racism.”

Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served two tours in Afghanistan, essentially called an audible, choosing instead to honor Cashe — a Black officer who died at the age of 35 after an explosive device detonated near his vehicle on Oct. 17, 2005.

Cashe was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for valor in combat. He incurred his fatal injuries while attempting to save his fellow soldiers from a burning Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

After Further Review: Ben is back

By: Mike Prisuta,

It had been one day shy of a year since Ben Roethlisberger had last played quarterback for the Steelers, but it took him less than two minutes to apply an exclamation point upon his return.

The two-minute drill Roethlisberger executed late in the second quarter on Monday night at MetLife Stadium provided a lead the Steelers would never relinquish in what became a 26-16, season-opening victory over the New York Giants.

It also confirmed Roethlisberger was indeed all the way back.

“I was telling (wide receiver) Diontae (Johnson), ‘Man, it feels so much different,’” wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster gushed. “Us being out there right before the half, having two minutes to go down and put points on the board, we felt like, ‘OK, that’s Ben, that’s the Ben we know.’”

The Steelers took possession at their 22-yard line trailing 10-9 with 1:32 remaining in the second quarter.

Roethlisberger completed five of seven passes for 67 yards and scrambled for 11 more on what became an eight-play, 78-yard march in 1:25 for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 16-10 lead.

“The guys were protecting up front,” Roethlisberger said. “My job is just to get the ball out of my hand as fast as I can and get it to the play-makers.

“Just disappointed we didn’t do it at the beginning of the second half.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed...

See where the Steelers rank in this week’s Power Rankings

The Steelers dominated the Giants’ running game with a team-first approach

Ben Roethlisberger talks about how he feels after his first game in a year

A close look at the Steelers’ snap totals in Week 1

Stock Report: Whose stock is rising and falling?

The latest odds for the Steelers vs. Broncos in Week 2

Part 4 of Ben Roethlisberger’s docu-series is an amazing way to end it

  • Social Media Madness

Good to see that 7 ➡️ 19 connection again‼️@_BigBen7 | @TeamJuJu

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2020


Top pics from Week 1: | @Bud_Dupree

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2020

Week 2️⃣@Bud_Dupree | #HereWeGo

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2020

Last night I showed I belong in this league. I’m very optimistic about the future, and excited to be back stronger and better next year.#HulkSmash

— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) September 15, 2020

WEEK 1 @PFF QB STUDS @AaronRodgers12 @_BigBen7 @Lj_era8 @DangeRussWilson @steelers @packers @Ravens @Seahawks

— Bruce Gradkowski (@bgradkowski5) September 16, 2020

4 players the Steelers protected on their practice squad for Week 1

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 09/16/2020 - 5:20pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers have announced who they are protecting on their practice squad heading into Week 1.

The 2020 season is different. Maybe different isn’t the best adjective to describe it.

It is unique.

There are so many aspects of this season which are new, and also just for this year, and one of those is the expanded practice squad. Not only did the practice squad expand to 16 players, but each team can also carry 6 vested veterans within that group.

On top of all that, each team can protect four players per week from being poached off their practice squad by other organizations. Each week a list will be released showing all 32 teams’ protected players.

Here is Week 2’s list per Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Steelers roster moves per NFL wire:

- OT Zach Banner on IR
- OT Jerald Hawkins signed to 53
- FS Curtis Riley off practice squad
- LB Jay Elliott, OL Derwin Gray, RB Wendell Smallwood, DL Henry Mondeaux all protected on PS

So, one practice squad spot open. Any takers?

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) September 16, 2020

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have chosen the following four players protected heading into the Week 2 game against the Denver Broncos:

LB Jayrone Elliott
DL Henry Mondeaux
OL Derwin Gray
RB Wendell Smallwood

Three of the four players are the same form Week 1 with Curtis Riley being the other. Riley was just signed by the Arizona Cardinals. With a practice squad position now open, it was been reported the Steelers have brought in offensive lineman Brandon Walton according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Raiders working out Jordan Mills, Patrick Omameh
Steelers working out Brandon Walton
Titans working out Adonis Alexander, Akeem King, Picasso Nelso, Kei'Varae Russell, Maurice Smith

— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 16, 2020

Walton played for Florida Atlantic and spent the preseason with the Buffalo Bills. It was also reported Walton had a workout with the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday.

The protected player list is just another way the 2020 season will look different, but not necessarily in a bad way. The question which runs through my mind is whether the NFL will just adopt some of these rules in the future and moving forward? Only time will tell, but there is a lot to get used to approaching the regular season.

Steelers Injury Report: David DeCastro one of 10 Steelers who did not practice Wednesday

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 09/16/2020 - 3:14pm
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers have a lot of question marks on the offensive line going into their Week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos.

One week into the NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are thankful to be 1-0 after their win over the New York Giants on Monday, but the injury concerns along their offensive line will shape their game plan for the coming week. In the first injury report of the week courtesy of the Steelers PR department, David DeCastro and Stefen Wisniewski were among the 10 Steelers players who did not practice Wednesday.

DeCastro was the only member of the Steelers to miss Week 1 due to injury. Dealing with a knee issue, DeCastro has only practiced sparingly so far in 2020.

Stefen Wisniewski left the Steelers Week 1 game in the fourth quarter with a pectoral injury. Starting in place of DeCastro, Wisniewski’s exit was followed one play later when Zach Banner was lost for the season with an ACL injury on the Steelers final score of the game. The Steelers have not made a roster move with Banner at this time, therefore he was listed on Wednesday’s injury report.

Should both DeCastro and Wisniewski be unavailable on Sunday, 2020 fourth-round draft pick Kevin Dotson would look to get his first NFL start. Dotson played the final 6 snaps for the Steelers on offense Monday night after Wisniewski was sidelined.

Steelers starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva also missed practice due to an illness.

Running back James Conner left Monday’s game in the first half with an ankle injury, so seeing him not practicing on Wednesday is not a big surprise. Players who were not expected to show up on the injury report and did not practice Wednesday were wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and Diontae Johnson (toe), as well as defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt (achilles). The severity of their injuries is unknown at this time.

In an interview with Pittsburgh media earlier in the day, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said the plan was for him to continue with his typical past pratice schedule for the 2020 season. This schedule includes not participating in Wednesday practices. Joining Roethlisberger was Maurkice Pouncey who also did not practice due to a coaches decision.

Even though is appears to be a lot of players out due to injury, with the Steelers previous game being on Monday night some players may simply be given extra time for some minor ailments. Before being overly concerned, fans should wait for Thursday’s practice report to get a better indication as to who may not be available on Sunday.

As for the Broncos’ injury report, you can see the names below once they are available.

For a recap of the injury report, check out the BTSC Steelers Injury Update podcast below:

8 former Steelers among nominees for the 2021 HOF class

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 09/16/2020 - 1:45pm

There are 130 nominated modern-era players who will go through several rounds of eliminations before joining the three senior finalists.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced the 130 modern-era players who have been nominated for enshrinement for 2021. Among the players are seven with ties to the Pittsburgh Steelers who will join the already announced senior member finalist Bill Nunn according to Teresa Varley of

#Steelers Alan Faneca, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Joey Porter, Casey Hampton & Gary Anderson are nominees for the @ProFootballHOF Class of 2021. Bill Nunn is a finalist as a contributor. Rohn Stark, who spent one season w/the team, is also a nominee.

— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) September 16, 2020

In an announcement in August, Bill Nunn is one of three senior finalists for the Hall of Fame and the only one as a contributor. The other two senior finalists are Drew Pearson (player) and Tom Flores (coach). The three finalists will simply have a “yes” or “no” election along with the other modern-era finalists.

Alan Faneca has been a finalist in the last five years and is hoping 2021 will finally be when he gets the call. Seeing other offensive lineman going in with less accomplishments has been what Faneca has seen over the last two years. Faneca played 13 years in the NFL, 10 of which were for the Steelers. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls and was All-Pro six times.

Hines Ward has been a semi finalist the previous four years. Ward spent all 14 of his NFL seasons in Pittsburgh and was selected to the Pro Bowl four times. Playing in three Super Bowls with the Steelers, Ward was the Super Bowl MVP for the 2004 season.

First-time nominee, Heath Miller played right end 11 NFL seasons all in Pittsburgh where he had two pro bowl selections.

Other nominations are Joey Porter, Casey Hampton, Gary Anderson, and Rohn Stark. Stark spent 16 years in the NFL is a punter but was only a member of the Steelers in 1995.

Earlier this offseason, Hall of Fame kicker Morton Andersen gave a ringing endorsement for Gary Anderson to enter the Hall of Fame in an exclusive interview with BTSC.

Modern-era finalists will be trimmed down to 25 in November and again to 15 in January before going down to 10 and then five during Super Bowl weekend in February. The five finalists and three senior finalists will undergo a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote and must receive 80% in order to be selected.

Three former Steelers were selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020 but will not have their enshrinement until 2021. Troy Polamalu, Donnie Shell, and coach Bill Cowher will be a part of the 2021 festivities as well as the Steelers playing the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game which was postponed this year due to COVID_19.

A complete list of all players who were nominated for 2020 can be seen below courtesy of the Pro football Hall of Fame.

BREAKING: The Modern-Era nominees for the Class of 2021 have been unveiled. The list is comprised of 130 players. Among the group are 14 first-year eligible players.

See all nominees:

— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) September 16, 2020

Podcast: The Steelers hit the ground running to start 2020

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 09/16/2020 - 1:30pm

In a rebranding of the BTSC podcast, Steelers ‘Stat Geeks’, brothers Dave and Rich Schofield, break down all things surrounding the Black-and-Gold.

The Steelers victory over the New York Giants on Monday Night was prognosticated by many. However, the shutting down of Giants running back Saquon Barkley was not expected. Neither was Bennie Snell Jr. emerging as the No. 3 rusher in the entire league after Week 1. The Steelers definitely hit the ground running. This is the subject that will be discussed in the latest installment on the BTSC family of podcasts, The Scho Bro Show.

As always, it sure is a good time to get on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-Gold. On this show, Dave and Big Bro Scho break down all things Steelers, still talk stats, and also answer questions from fans! Joining the Scho Bros will be Shannon White from BTSC.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • The Steelers hit the ground running to start 2020
  • Looking ahead to the Broncos
  • Steelers Q&A

Dave and Rich walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

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


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:

Power Rankings: Steelers climb up the rankings after Week 1 victory

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 09/16/2020 - 12:45pm
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have shot up the latest Power Rankings after their 26-16 win over the Giants in Week 1.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, along with the rest of the NFL, are coming off the first week of a journey which has never been done in the history of the game. Playing games amidst a global pandemic.

The league has done tremendous work with protocols and adjustments to make sure this season goes off without a hitch, and while many didn’t think it was possible, here we are with the season opening week in the rear view mirror, and all 32 teams going full steam ahead into Week 2.

Who do the experts think will be the team to beat this season? Power Rankings are one way to decipher who they like, or don’t like, at any particular juncture of the season. Heading into Week 2, there is a lot which can be expected. The Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens find themselves near the top of most rankings, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Green Bay Packers are everyone’s favorite now in the NFC.

Where do the Steelers fall? Well that depends. Some see the black-and-gold as a Top 10 team, while other see them on the outside looking in. Take a look at some of the Power Rankings below, and be sure to let us know what you think of the rankings in the comment section below!

1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Green Bay Packers
4. New Orleans Saints
5. Tennessee Titans
6. Buffalo Bills
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
“A hugely promising start to the season for the Steelers, who got a vintage Ben Roethlisberger start in his return from elbow surgery, a 100-yard rushing day from Benny Snell and a smothering performance from the front seven, which limited Giants star Saquon Barkley to 6 yards on 15 carries. Big Ben’s return stands out, however: He shook off some early rust to throw for 229 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. We wondered last year how far the Steelers could go if they combined their world-beating defense with strong quarterback play. We’re about to find out.”
8. Seattle Seahawks
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Los Angeles Rams


1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Seattle Seahawks
5. Green Bay Packers
6. San Francisco 49ers
7. Buffalo Bills
8. Tennessee Titans
9. New England Patriots
10. Los Angeles Rams
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
“The Steelers spent training camp hyping up the second-round pick from Notre Dame, who delivered on his first catch Monday. Claypool got started with a 28-yard, toe-tapping reception to keep a drive alive on third-and-long. He followed that with an 11-yard catch to open the fourth quarter, helping set up a 36-yard field goal. The Steelers drafted him to be a big, athletic target for Ben Roethlisberger, and though he had only two catches on two targets in his debut, he was exactly that.”

CBS Sports

1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. Green Bay Packers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
“It took them a little time to get going, but once they did they rolled against the Giants. Ben Roethlisberger looked good once he got past the early part of the Giants game. The defense is nasty.”
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Buffalo Bills
7. Seattle Seahawks
8. Arizona Cardinals
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sports Illustrated

1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. Seattle Seahawks
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
“This is such a fun defense to watch. They gave up a couple of long drives against the Giants, but every few snaps there would be a handful of defenders in the backfield at once or three guys waiting in the area of an intended pass. Ben Roethlisberger’s return significantly raises the team’s floor, but the defense is what gives them a high ceiling.”
6. Green Bay Packers
7. New England Patriots
8. Buffalo Bills
9. Los Angeles Rams
10. Arizona Cardinals

Film Room: The Steelers dominate the Giants run game with a full team effort

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 09/16/2020 - 11:45am
Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Looking at the Steelers run defense in week 1.

One of the biggest stories of the week 1 Steeler win was the run defense, and when you hold a great running back like Saquon Barkley to 6 yards on 15 carries, it should get attention. The Steelers held Barkley to 0.4 yards per carry, 8 of Barkley’s runs were for negative yards, more than half of them. and only 4 of his runs gained more than 2 yards.

Those kinds of numbers don’t happen by accident, and they don’t happen because of a good gameplan, or a few great plays or players. What the Steelers did on run defense week 1 took complete domination by numerous players on the defense. So in this film room we are going to look at five plays that show how the Steelers as a team dominated the Giants run game.

1st quarter, 8:29. Bud Dupree is on the line, to the top of the screen.

The Giants are running to their right, away from Bud Dupree, so they leave him unblocked. This is a great way to get a numbers advantage to the play side, and it works against most teams in the NFL. The Steelers are not most teams in the NFL. Bud Dupree doesn’t just get a good jump at the snap, he meets Saquon Barkley when Barkley has taken one step with the ball. You can’t leave Dupree unblocked, everyone talks about T.J. Watt’s play in backside pursuit, but honestly, Dupree is even better. This is pure athleticism, and you don’t get much at this than Bud Dupree.

2nd quarter, 9:01. Bud Dupree is on the line, to the bottom of the screen.

This time the Giants pull their right tackle to seal Dupree out of the play, but Dupree is too fast for that, and Barkley gets one step with the ball again before Dupree puts him on the ground.

1st quarter, 13:09. Olasunkanmi Adeniyi is on the line to the bottom of the screen, Bud Dupree to the top.

They get away from Dupree by bringing Daniel Jones to Saquon Barkley on the play side, but that kind of sell out to one side takes away Saquon Barkley’s ability to make cuts. Barkley is best when he can get the defense going one direction and cut back into an open gap. On this run he is just going to his right, and Adeniyi sheds Evan Engram’s block to meet Barkley for a big loss and a Tyronn Lue step over.

The Steelers were showing a lot of attitude early in this game, they were dominating the Giants run game and letting them know it. When a defense is taking this kind of pride in their play, they are pushing themselves and their team mates to keep it going, they are establishing that they are the alpha dogs on this field, and I love it.

2nd quarter, 14:39. Tyson Alualu is the nose tackle, lined up on the “F” in the mid-field logo.

Tyson Alualu destroys the Giants center and is in the backfield almost immediately to drop Barkley for another loss. But look around Alualu, T.J. Watt is upfield taking away anything to his side, Alex Highsmith is in for Dupree, and beats the Giants blocking tight end and is coming, Stephon Tuitt gets involved late, there is nowhere for Barkley to go.

3rd quarter, 8:57. Alex Highsmith (#56) is on the line, to the top of the screen. Robert Spillane (#41) is in at linebacker, on the 40 yard line.

Evan Engram had a lot of good blocks in this game, including winning some reps against T.J. Watt. Here Engram drives Highsmith back, but Highsmith keeps fighting, gets loose and makes it to the sideline to hold Barkley to a 1 yard gain. Robert Spillane comes from the far side of the play, navigates traffic to get there with him. But there’s more, Chris Wormley is able to get free in the backfield to force Barkley farther outside, Joe Haden comes flying in to take out a lead blocker and Terrell Edmunds is there to make the tackle if Highsmith and Spillane can’t. Team defense, stuffing the run on a play without Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, T.J. Watt or Vince Williams. This run defense was good enough that Vince Williams and his phenomenal game didn’t even need to show up in this film room.

The Giants offensive line had a bad game, the Steelers run defense had a great game. How much of this was on each team will get sorted out over the rest of the season, but the intensity and pride this team brings to run defense, and the full team effort they showed is a great sign for this defense being great against the run again this season.


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