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fordfixer
01-02-2012, 06:42 PM
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8 ... le=HP11_cp (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d825a3b95/article/giants-bengals-become-big-surprises-as-opening-round-looms?module=HP11_cp)

Last Meeting: Week 9, 2009 (Steelers, 28-10)

Early Take: The struggling Denver offense will have its hands full next weekend. After only gaining 285 yards and turning the ball over four times in Buffalo followed by a 266-yard and two-turnover performance versus the Chiefs, it's obvious Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has work to do.

The Steelers' defense has been outstanding following some early-season struggles against the run. Dick LeBeau's unit finished the season as the league's top-ranked unit, while the run defense came in at a very respectable ninth. That's more than relevant when juxtaposed with the Broncos' ground-heavy offense. Expect the Steelers to take away the outside scampers from Tim Tebow, and force him to throw from the pocket.

Switching sides, Ben Roethlisberger will have his hands full with crowd noise in Denver, but that's something he's effectively managed before. The 2005 AFC Championship win in Denver catapulted the Steelers to a Super Bowl XL berth (and a win). Of more concern is how he will fare evading the rush of Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller. Roethlisberger's ankle is certainly not 100 percent.

flippy
01-02-2012, 07:29 PM
I have a feeling we're gonna have a hard time stopping Tebow from running the ball.

The key is gonna be to get the lead on offense and put the pedal to the medal so Tebow has to throw. That will lead to mistakes and make this a very lopsided game.

But if we don't put up points on offense, this game will come down to the wire. Tebow will run all over us. And he won't force anything and won't make mistakes.

Bottom line, this is an easy game if the offense clicks.

Big if.

hawaiiansteel
01-04-2012, 02:40 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 5) vs. Denver Broncos (No. 4): AFC Wild Card Weekend Preview

by Michael Bean on Jan 3, 2012

http://cdn1.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/2622786/99963_Ryan_Clark_extra_large.jpg

This week is typically one of my favorites of the year. It's certainly one of the more hectic and exciting weeks. I usually will be returning back to where I live after a nice vacation with my folks in California. With the start of a new year, it's always an exciting time to think about the future and what the new year might hold. And oh yeah, it's the start of the NFL Playoffs. Wild Card Weekend in particular is great because there are four games spread evenly over the course of Saturday and Sunday. I love when the Steelers have the week off as one of the top two seeds, but that's not the case this year, as the Baltimore Ravens staved off the Steelers for the AFC North crown and the No. 2 seed that accompanied the division title. So it's off to Denver for the six-time champions. They'll face a Broncos team this coming Sunday afternoon in the fourth and final game of the weekend that has dropped its past three games, and looked pretty darn atrocious in the process. Dale Lolley agreed with me during last night's podcast -- there's next to no way Denver wins this game unless the Steelers play one hell of a sloppy, mistake-filled football game.

Hopefully that confidence rests only in our minds, and not in those of the players and coaches. Considering how many experienced veterans there are on the squad that want nothing more than a chance to win another Super Bowl as their careers wind down, I don't think that will be a problem.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... rd-weekend (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/1/3/2680245/pittsburgh-steelers-no-5-vs-denver-broncos-no-4-afc-wild-card-weekend)

fordfixer
01-04-2012, 04:00 AM
Broncos attempting to regroup for playoffs

By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer 13 hours, 16 minutes ago

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-bruisedbroncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP)—Brian Dawkins soothed smarting egos with a spontaneous pep talk.

Usually not one for rah-rah speeches, the Denver Broncos captain got in front of the team Monday and basically broke it down like this: They’re in the playoffs and that’s all that matters.

Granted, the Broncos (8-8) enter the postseason with hardly any momentum after closing out the regular season with three straight losses and needing help just to sneak into the party. Even more, Tim Tebow’s late-game magic has disappeared.


Still, their season has been extended and anything can happen.

Just last year, the Seattle Seahawks, who entered the playoffs with a 7-9 record, stunned the New Orleans Saints in the first round. That’s become the Broncos’ source for inspiration as they prepare to host the favored Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) on Sunday.

“Look at Seattle a year ago when they got in it. They made a lot of noise,” said Willis McGahee, the team’s leading rusher with 1,199 yards. “That’s what we plan on doing.”

Dawkins’ conversation seemed to snap the Broncos out of their funk following a disheartening 7-3 loss to Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The mood in the locker room on Monday was more mellow than miffed, more focused than faltering.

But that lecture by Dawkins may just be his biggest contribution in these playoffs. He missed Sunday’s game with a neck injury and his status for the game against the Steelers is uncertain.

The Broncos head into their first playoff game in six years with a limited offense—and not just because Tebow is under center.

Right guard Chris Kuper, the stalwart of their young line, broke his left leg and is done for the season and fullback Spencer Larsen might miss the game with a sprained MCL in his left knee.

Russ Hochstein, a veteran of many a playoff run with the New England Patriots, replaced Kuper, and the Broncos on Monday signed lineman Ryan Harris, a starter in Denver from 2008-10.

“I don’t think we’ll miss a beat,” running back Lance Ball said. “Russ is a great leader for the O-line, definitely in the offensive room. I know Russ is going to go out there and give 100 percent.”

With Larsen possibly out, the Broncos may turn to fullback Austin Sylvester, who was signed last week but was deactivated against the Chiefs, forcing Denver to use multiple tight-end sets after Larsen went down.

“It’s my job to be confident,” Sylvester said. “If I’ve got to stay a little extra and study, then no big deal.”

Should Sylvester be on the field, his primary task will be this: Keeping Pittsburgh defenders away from Tebow.

That’s hardly an easy assignment as the Steelers boast the top overall defense in the league. They’ve been particularly stingy against the pass, allowing a league-low 171.9 yards per game.

Tebow definitely has his work cut out for him. The unconventional quarterback is coming off a performance against Kansas City in which he completed just 6 of 22 passes for only 60 yards. He also fumbled with the team inside the red zone and threw a late interception.

“He’s not going to have a great game every week,” McGahee said. “That’s our job, to give him a pat on the back like, `Man, don’t worry about it. That’s behind us. We’re in the playoffs. Start fresh, come this week.”’

Coach John Fox doesn’t pin the blame for a stumbling passing game on Tebow’s erratic left arm.

“There are a lot of moving parts to the passing game. You’ve got protection. You’ve got route-timing. You’ve got to throw the ball in sometimes tight windows,” Fox said. “So that’s something (where) we’ve had our moments this season, and we’ll just continue to try to improve. It’s not just the quarterback.”

Tebow certainly won’t have much time to search for his targets. The Steelers fly to the football and safety extraordinaire Troy Polamalu is always lurking.

“We know they’re a tough football team,” wide receiver Eddie Royal said. “They’re going to come in and play physical. That’s their style of football. We’re going to have to match that. It’s going to be a tough, hard-fought game. We’re going to be ready for it.”

Linebacker Wesley Woodyard couldn’t agree more. The speech by Dawkins hit the right note.

“Coming from Dawk, everything holds weight,” Woodyard said. “When he does say whatever he has to say, everybody’s ears open and eyes are in front paying attention to him.

“He’s one of those guys who can get us on track.”

hawaiiansteel
01-04-2012, 11:45 PM
2012 AFC Wild Card, Broncos Vs. Steelers: Steelers Back Up QB Dennis Dixon Playing Tebow In Practice

Jan 04
by Jordan Sargent

Though it's up for debate just how much credit Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos' pseudo-option offense deserves for the team's surprise playoff run, there's no doubt that the beguiling nature of the scheme helped in some way to propel Denver to the AFC West championship. Few NFL teams feature offensive players that ran the option in college, but in an interesting twist in the AFC Wild Card match up between the Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh may have one of the closest things to Tebow on an NFL roster.

Steelers back up QB Dennis Dixon has been playing the Tebow role for Pittsburgh in practice this week, and aside from being an athletic quarterback, Dixon starred in college in Chip Kelly's option offense, garnering substantial Heisman hype before blowing out his knee. Whether or not this gives the Steelers a leg up in preparing for the Broncos option remains to be seen, but it certainly can't hurt.

http://denver.sbnation.com/denver-bronc ... in/2440357 (http://denver.sbnation.com/denver-broncos/2012/1/4/2682069/2012-afc-wild-card-steelers-broncos-tim-tebow-dennis-dixon/in/2440357)

fordfixer
01-07-2012, 02:30 AM
Playoff preview: Steelers-Broncos
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/w ... nfl_t12_a3 (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/damon_hack/01/05/steelers.broncos/index.html?sct=nfl_t12_a3)

Three Things You Should Know About

Running backs will determine Steelers vs. Broncos
Source: SI

SI.com's Andrew Perloff says Steelers-Broncos matchup will come down to the play of Denver running back Willis McGahee and Pittsburgh's Isaac Redman.


1. Tim Tebow picked the wrong time to slump.

Suddenly, he can't run. He's missing his throws by miles. The magic that made him the story of the season has evaporated. And now the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town, as unsentimental a team as it gets.

Tebow could not have chosen a tougher defense for his maiden playoff game. At their best the Steelers linebackers fly, their defensive backs pound and their linemen suffocate. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has surely taken note of the last few weeks, as defenses have crowded Tebow's receivers at the line, forcing him to make near-perfect throws. They have spied Tebow with linebackers, keeping him from breaking runs down the sideline. And when given a chance, they have hammered him, trying to wear him down hit by hit. In other words, they have been doing everything the Steelers have done for decades.

In the midst of Denver's six-game winning streak, Tebow made a bushel full of fourth-quarter big plays (with an assist to kicker Matt Prater) to become the story of the season. But after three straight defeats, the script has changed. Somehow the story of the season must overcome the bully of the league. Godspeed, Tim Tebow.

2. The Steelers are hurting almost anywhere you look.

Ben Roethlisberger is hobbled. Rashard Mendenhall is done for the season. Ryan Clark will wisely sit out because of the sickle cell trait he carries in his blood, a condition that could become life-threatening in high altitude. The Steelers, of course, have a Master's degree in overcoming adversity, from injuries to off-field strife, but this postseason run could be especially tough on a proud but aging team.

As a No. 5 seed, the Steelers will likely face three road games in three weeks just to get to the Super Bowl (the same road the Packers took last season) and it will test their depth and vigor. In three of their last four games, the Steelers have scored 14 points against Cleveland, three against San Francisco and 13 against Cleveland (the exception being a 27-0 thumping of the fading St. Louis Rams, a game Roethlisberger missed with his high ankle sprain).

Roethlisberger has not looked comfortable placing his weight on his left foot when he throws and he was spotted in the Steelers locker room Wednesday limping badly. As tough as he is, Roethlisberger is playing through an injury that normally requires a month or more of healing. Roethlisberger is among the best at it, but that doesn't mean it will be easy.

3. Antonio Brown, a former sixth-round pick, is becoming a consistent game-breaker.

In this golden era of return specialists, Brown excels both on offense and special teams, staking his team to great field position in various ways. Brown this season became the first player in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards (1,108) and 1,000 return yards (1,062) in the same year. His franchise record for all-purpose yards (2,111) broke the mark set by running back Barry Foster (2,034) in 1992.

As a rookie last season, Brown made several big plays in the postseason, including a 58-yard catch on the Steelers' final drive of their AFC divisional playoff game against Baltimore. In the AFC Championship Game, he caught a 14-yard pass on third-and-six against the Jets to help ice that game. With the Pittsburgh running game hobbled, Brown's speed and clutch play should be a valuable asset for the Pittsburgh offense.
Chart Of The Week

The Pittsburgh Steelers don't throw the football as much as teams like Detroit, New Orleans, New England and Green Bay, but they do throw it a lot. The Steelers ranked 10th in passing yards (compared to 14th in rushing yards) and had great production from various receivers.
The Steelers' balanced pass attack
Player Receptions Yards Yards per catch Long reception TDs
Mike Wallace 72 1,193 16.6 95 8
Antonio Brown 69 1,108 16.1 79 2
Heath Miller 51 631 12.4 39 2
Hines Ward 46 381 8.3 31 2
Emmanuel Sanders 22 288 13.1 32 2

The Pick

Even with Roethlisberger ailing, the Steelers have the veteran savvy to win a road playoff game against a young and largely untested team. That's not to say Denver's defense should be overlooked. It's for real. But the Steelers are built to stop what the Broncos do well. Expect a low-scoring game and a Steelers win.

Steelers 19, Broncos 6

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/w ... z1ikcso8rK (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/damon_hack/01/05/steelers.broncos/index.html#ixzz1ikcso8rK)

hawaiiansteel
01-07-2012, 02:50 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2012

posted by Dale Lolley


This week's game at Denver looks like a layup for the Steelers. It seems like a layup for the Steelers.

That probably means it won't be a layup, particularly on the road.

Don't get me wrong, I think the Steelers will win. But it won't be easy.

Outside of the opening loss at Baltimore, the Steelers have played up or down to their competition all season.

This week will probably be no different.

But a quarterback who completes just 46 percent of his passes isn't going to beat the Steelers.

Pittsburgh will control Denver's running game, especially with guard Chris Kuper out of the lineup, and force Tim Tebow into some third-and-long plays.

That will spell doom.

The Steelers offense has struggled of late with Ben Roethlisberger hobbled, but should be good enough against Denver's 20th-ranked defense, which will be playing without safety Brian Dawkins.

Take the Steelers to win, 17-6

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/