Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
After the season-opening loss to the Titans, the Broncos need to clean things up if they want to beat the Steelers.
Don’t get too high with the wins, don’t get too low with the losses.
To keep the cliche train rolling — it’s just one game, and “We’re on to Pittsburgh.”
On the MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I previewed the game and gave our, fittingly, keys to the game. Drew Lock and the Broncos open as +6.5-point underdogs. The odds have now jumped to at least 7 since the preview published. Can Denver rebound after a tough loss to the Tennessee Titans?
Denver: Twenty-second in overall offense (323.0 yards per game), tied for 19th in rushing (107.0), 19th in passing (216.0), 29th in scoring offense (14.0 points per game).
Pittsburgh: Twenty-first in over offense (349.0), eighth in rushing (141.0), tied for 21st in passing (208.), 13th in scoring offense (26.0).
Denver: Tied for 20th in overall in defense (377.0 yards per game), 19th in rushing defense (130.0), 21st in passing defense (247.0), tied for fifth in scoring defense (16.0 points per game).
Pittsburgh: Seventh in overall defense (291.0), first in rushing defense (29.0), 24th in passing defense (262.0), tied for fifth in scoring defense (16.0).
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.
I know this is cliche and simple, but it’s the truth. Had Lock and the Broncos scored on that goal-to-go situation in the second quarter, they win that game. When your defense holds an NFL offense to 16 points, you should win. The Denver offense needs to score touchdowns. Tied into that is winning the turnover battle. If the Broncos do that, they give themselves extra possessions and more opportunities to score more touchdowns. — Ian St. Clair
Kill off the mistakes
The teams whose players consistently do their jobs right win the most in the NFL, so long as they’re not hopeless at quarterback, and we just had a lesson in why the opposite is true as well. A drop, a penalty, a missed coverage assignment … every one of them can sink your chances at a moment’s notice. — Taylor Kothe
Offense sustain drives, and defense get the opposing offense off the field. Denver got really out of sync in the third quarter of Monday night’s game when it ran only six plays on offense all quarter and totally gassed the defense for the fourth. The Broncos have to learn to play complimentary football, where the defense is getting the opposing offense off the field and not letting them sustain these long clock-chewing drives, and the offense needs to not hang the defense out to dry by stacking multiple three-and-outs. — Jeff Essary
Repeat performance from Denver’s O-line
The Broncos offensive line needs to have a repeat performance and keep Lock clean. I don’t want to hear the name or number of Garett Bolles once. — Adam Malnati
Don’t be dumbasses
— Scotty Payne