Sometimes adversity has a way of sneaking up on you. In the process it tests one’s character. This Sunday, the Broncos take a midterm examination of sorts against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After two last-second wins to start the season, the Broncos have lost three straight games, including a completely out-of-character 41-3 setback to San Diego two weeks ago.
The Broncos had a bye last week to regroup, refocus and clear their heads. The challenge before them now is to respond and rebound from a 2-3 start to the season.
They clearly have not played the way they envisioned or believe they should have played. We will find out if the week off has given them a fresh outlook and whether or not it will lead to improved results.
The result against San Diego was a combination of things, but safety John Lynch said packing it in was not included in the reasons they lost.
“I looked hard at that film (San Diego) and I didn’t see any quit,” Lynch said. “If you see quit, you have troubles.”
The Steelers have given virtually all their opponents plenty of trouble this year. They bring a 4-1 record to INVESCO Field at Mile High and they are also coming off a bye.
The Steelers feature a balanced offense, averaging 184.8 passing yards a game and a staggering 167 yards per game on the ground. Only the Vikings rush the ball for more yards per game.
The Broncos have allowed an average of 187.6 yards per game on the ground. Jim Bates’ defense will have its work cut out for itself to slow the Steelers down.
“The talent is here,” Bates said. “I know it’s hard for everybody, fans (and) anybody involved in the Broncos organization. It’s so frustrating. But there is growth being made and we’re ready to get it cranked back up.”
On defense, the Steelers have been terrific, surrendering an NFL-low 9.4 points per game. The Broncos have had opportunities in the red zone, but more often than not have settled for field goals. They are scoring only 15 points per game.
“We’re close,” quarterback Jay Cutler believes. “There’s some good and obviously a lot of bad.”
But Cutler thinks the offense will put things together.
“We’re still confident as a group,” he said. “There’s a lot of football left and anything can happen. “
The Broncos will try to make good things happen on Sunday. Pittsburgh will test Denver’s ability to do that.
In the NFL, tests usually aren’t easy.
As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to offer your thoughts on how the Broncos will respond after the bye week.