Von Miller’s probably going to end up in the Hall of Fame one day. Bradley Chubb is likely to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has played well this year but this might be their tallest task yet. They certainly seem to frame it that way, at least.
“If not one of the best, then probably the best,” Alejandro Villanueva told Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley. “Outside backers in the NFL, they’re trying to get after the QB, they’re trying to do the flashy sacks for highlights but they’re a complete group. They play the run, they play the pass, screens, awareness, everything. They’re a very complete group. We’re going to have a very tough challenge to block them this week.”
Miller has ten sacks on the season with Chubb right behind him, racking up nine. Their combined 19 takedowns makes for the #1 sack duo in the league. Miller is also tied third in the NFL with four forced fumbles.
The added factor of playing in Denver, known for its high elevation, isn’t helping either.
“It’s a higher altitude,” Matt Feiler said of how to deal with that element. “You just gotta stay ready, stay hydrated, eat right, and get plenty of sleep.”
Feiler practiced in limited capacity Thursday afternoon after injuring his pec on the final drive of the win over Jacksonville. If he can’t play, the next man up would be Chukwuma Okorafor, making his first start at tackle.
There’s a clear and predictable correlation between the Broncos generating sacks and winning games. In their four victories, they’re averaging four sacks, including taking down Philip Rivers three times in Sunday’s upset over the Chargers. In the six losses, that number drops to just 2.5. As always, keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright will be the key.
“They work at their moves,” Villanueva said. “They’re very professional. They try different things. Not a lot of outside backers are playing like that in the NFL. They take a lot of pride in being one of the best rooms in the NFL.”