NFL PREVIEW: DENVER BRONCOS (0-1) AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (1-0)

WEEK 2 // SUNDAY, SEPT. 20, 2020 // 1:00 PM ET // HEINZ FIELD // REFEREE: ADRIAN HILL

REGULAR SEASON HISTORY:

LEADER: Broncos lead all-time series, 15-8-1

STREAKS: Broncos have won 3 of past 4

LAST GAME: 11/25/18: Steelers 17 at Broncos 24

LAST GAME AT SITE: 12/20/15: Steelers 34, Broncos 27

 

BRONCOS NOTES:

QB DREW LOCK completed 22 of 33 passes (66.7 pct.) for 216 yards & TD for 95 rating last week. Aims for his 4th in row with TD pass, 0 INTs & 90+ rating. • RB MELVIN GORDON rushed for 78 yards & TD last week, his 37th-career rush TD, 4th-most since 2016. Has 4 TDs in his past 3 vs. AFC North. Had 512 scrimmage yards (102.4 per game) & 5 TDs (4 rush, 1 rec.) in 5 road games last season with LAC. RB PHILLIP LINDSAY rushed for 110 yards & TD in last meeting. Has 90+ rush yards & rush TD in 3 of his past 4 vs. AFC North. • WR COURTLAND SUTTON has 85+ rec. yards in 2 of his past 3 vs. AFC North. Had 34 catches for 624 yards (78 per game) in 8 road games last season. WR JERRY JEUDY had 4 catches for 56 yards last week, 3rd-most rec. yards by Den. rookie in NFL debut since 2000. WR TIM PATRICK had 4 catches in Week 1. TE NOAH FANT led team with 5 catches for 81 yards & TD last week, his 4th-career rec. TD. Aims for his 3rd in row on road with 50+ rec. yards. • DT JURRELL CASEY had 6 tackles & career-high 2 PD last week in Den. debut. Has 5 TFL & 2 sacks in his past 3 vs. Pit. Has sack in 2 of his past 3 on road. LB ALEXANDER JOHNSON led team with 12 tackles last week, his 4th-career game with 10+ tackles. LB JEREMIAH ATTAOCHU had sack in Week 1. Had 2 TFL in only career game vs. Pit. (10/12/15 with SD). S KAREEM JACKSON had 6 tackles & PD last week. Has 5 PD & INT in his past 3 on road. S JUSTIN SIMMONS had 6 tackles in Week 1.

 

STEELERS NOTES:

QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER completed 21 of 32 passes (65.6 pct.) for 229 yards & 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 117.8 rating last week, his 29th-career game with 3+ TD passes & 0 INTs, 6th-most in NFL history. Completed 40 of 55 passes (72.7 pct.) for 380 yards & 3 TDs for 94.5 rating in last home meeting. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Den. with 40+ completions & 70+ comp. pct. • RB JAMES CONNER had 95 scrimmage yards (53 rush, 42 rec.) in last meeting. Aims for his 6th in row at home with TD & 3rd in row vs. AFC West with 2+ TDs. RB BENNY SNELL led team with career-high 113 rush yards last week. Aims for his 3rd in row with 90+ rush yards. • WR JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER had 6 catches for team-high 69 yards & 2 TDs last week, his 2nd-career game with 2 TDs. Tied career high with 13 catches for 189 yards & TD in last meeting. WR DIONTAE JOHNSON had 6 catches for 57 yards in Week 1. Has 60+ rec. yards in 2 of his past 3 at home. WR JAMES WASHINGTON had 5th-career TD catch last week. Aims for his 5th in row at home with 60+ rec. yards. • LB T.J. WATT had 2 PD, INT & TFL last week, his 4th-career INT. Had 10.5 sacks & 5 FFs in 8 home games last season. LB VINCE WILLIAMS had 3 TFL & sack last week. Had sack in last meeting. DT CAMERON HEYWARD had 1st-career INT in Week 1. Had sack in last home meeting. DE STEPHON TUITT had sack last week. S MINKAH FITZPATRICK has 4 INTs in his past 5 at home. CB MIKE HILTON had sack & PD in Week 1. Had PD in last meeting.

 

FINALLY:

The Broncos have won four of the last five games against the Steelers, including two playoff wins (2011 Wild Card game, 2015 Divisional Round). Four of those five games were decided by seven points or less.

Denver lost its first game of the year, 16-14 to the Titans, on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal with 17 seconds remaining. It was the Broncos’ fourth loss by two points or fewer since the start of 2019, most in the NFL. No other team has more than two such losses in that span.

The Steelers defeated the Giants in Week 1, 26-16, while holding them to just 1.45 yards per rush. It was only the third time in the last 25 years that Pittsburgh has held its opponent under 1.50 yards per rush (minimum 20 attempts).

Melvin Gordon III had 78 rush yards and a touchdown in his Broncos debut, becoming the second player with 75+ rush yards and a rush TD in his first game with the team (Joe Dudek, 1987). He also lost a fumble, his fourth since the start of 2019, tied for the most by a running back (Chris Carson, Nick Chubb).

Benny Snell Jr. led the Steelers with 113 yards on 19 carries against the Giants. Since his debut last season, the Steelers are 5-1 when Snell plays and has 10 or more carries but just 2-6 when he does not.

The Broncos had 10 players with at least one reception in Week 1, their fourth consecutive season doing so at least once (five total games). They are one of three teams with five such games since the start of 2017, along with the Buccaneers (seven) and Ravens (six).

 

ON THE AIRWAVES TV: CBS (1:00 PM ET): Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (field reporter)

SIRIUS: 134 (Den), 99 (Pit) | XM: 387 (Den), 232 (Pit)