Roethlisberger sees few flaws in Broncos defense**
The statistics show that the Broncos defense does very little below an exceptional level, and with that in mind, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger isn't quite yet sure where he can find their vulnerability.
"I haven't found out yet," Roethlisberger said Wednesday. "Their pass rush and rushing coverage work together. Their pass rush is unbelievable; they have edge rushers getting around the outside and inside guys getting a push. Their secondary guys are being physical, making plays. The ball is in the air, they intercept it and they score. So, there's a reason they're No.1 in almost every category."
On the flip side, Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense have excelled in their own right, leading the league in yards per play and scoring the fifth-most points per game. Only two teams have scored at least 30 points more often, and no one else has a current streak of five games with 30-plus points. But the Broncos bring a challenge that could threaten their standing as one of the NFL's top offensive teams.
"We always say that we want to be the best," Roethlisberger said. "To be the best, you have to beat the best and this is the best defense in the NFL. They prove it week in and week out. For all of us, not just the wide receivers—I think if you ask anybody on offense, we want to try to be the best. It's going to be a challenge and a test for all of us."
The pass rush is particularly potent, especially with OLB DeMarcus Ware returning to the field last Sunday. Sacks, turnovers, incomplete passes — the pass rush's impact is felt in many ways, but Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin isn't looking to change anything up solely for one opponent, as stout as they might be.
"We're just a group that's going to go to work and try to do things right, collectively," Tomlin said. "That's what we do. We're not going to change what we do based on who we play. We have a lot of respect for those guys, but the bottom line is that we have to do what we do and do it well."
As Steelers find their groove, wide receivers among top threats**
With a top quarterback in Roethlisberger and one of the league's best receivers in Antonio Brown, it's no surprise the Steelers have a vaunted passing attack. But their proficiency goes beyond just the No. 1 receiver.
Brown sits atop their list in receiving yards with 1,397 and receptions with 100, but combined with Martavis Bryant (38 receptions, 672 yards) and Markus Wheaton (32 receptions, 589 yards), the Steelers have the most productive receiving trio in the league.
A photo look back at the last time the Broncos played the Steelers.
"It's a selfless group of guys and then you throw in [TE] Heath Miller, [RB] DeAngelo [Williams] and [WR Darrius] Hey-Bey [Heyward-Bey]," Roethlisberger said. "That's part of why we've been able to be successful these last couple of weeks, because guys are playing selfless football. They just want to win football games and do whatever is best for the team."
Although they're currently sitting on the outside looking in as the first team outside of the wild-card seeding, the Steelers have been on a hot streak lately, winning four of their last five games. The offense has been a big part of that, scoring an average of 35.2 points in that span.
"We just believe in each other and believe in the system, whether we're huddling, not huddling, jumbo package, spread it out, running it, passing it or whatever it is," Roethlisberger said. "We try to make plays for each other, believe in each other and just want to be the best for each guy on the field."
Tomlin, meanwhile, is trying to shut out all the external conversation about how we'll they've been doing to focus on the challenge each week brings.
"We're not concerned about all those storylines," Tomlin said. "We're just trying to do what it takes for us to win this weekend. We understand where we are, but we're not dwelling on it or spending a great deal of time dwelling on it. We don't care. I know one thing: I know that things remain positive as long as we meet the week-to-week challenges. That's where our focus is."