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Roethlisberger: The Broncos are “much better than their record" thanks to an "unbelievable" unit

Zac Stevens Avatar
November 21, 2018

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Two weeks ago, John Elway was defending why he wasn’t making drastic changes to the Broncos’ organization.

“Stay the course,” Elway said, not inspiring much hope after the team dropped six of its past seven games.

After Sunday’s improbable win, however, there’s been a shift in how the Broncos are viewed.

“This is definitely a team that’s much better than their record shows and we understand and know that,” Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on Wednesday as he prepares to face Denver on Sunday.

“They’re a team that’s kind of sitting there, got a big win last week and needs to get this win. We don’t look at records. We look at going on the road to a tough place to play against a really good football team.”

Typically, players speak the world of their upcoming opponent, as Roethlisberger did. But he backed up his statement by adding that Denver’s lost many close games against “really good football teams,” trying to add to his point that the Broncos truly are better than their 4-6 record would suggest.

That praise, however, only scratched the surface when it came to how he views the Broncos’ one-two punch at pass rush.

“It’s unbelievable,” Roethlisberger said in amazement, speaking about Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. “Maybe the best one in the game right now, those two guys.”

The numbers would back Big Ben up. Through 11 weeks of the NFL season, Von and Chubb’s 19 combined sacks are the most for any duo on the same team.

“We’re trying to figure out a way to block them so we can make some plays because they are very good,” Roethlisberger said with a nervous chuckle.

Miller — whose praise comes on the same day he was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week — is tied for the third-most sacks in the NFL with 10.

However, that didn’t hold Ben back from saying No. 58 is “maybe the best to do it.”

“I’ve got nothing but crazy respect for him. Such a good football player,” Roethlisberger said. “Really takes pride in his craft. He’s just all scientific about it — his work ethic, his studying and all the stuff that he does. He is an incredible football player.”

Roethlisberger knows this first hand. In his four games against Von-led teams, he’s been sacked 16 total times, including three from Miller himself. Von also has five quarterback hits on the massive 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback.

“I thought he was an alien,” Mike Tomlin said on Wednesday recounting his experience with Von at the Pro Bowl. “He was a special player among a group of special players. I just relayed that to the team this morning.

“He went by me in the fourth quarter of that game and said, ‘Coach I got this.’ And I watched him take over a Pro Bowl and change the climate inside that stadium.”

As Tomlin told his team, Von’s impact goes far beyond the stat sheet, specifically when it comes to a “salivating” Chubb.

“He’s an extremely talented football player,” Roethlisberger called the rookie. “When you’ve got a guy on the other side that’s going to attract a lot of attention [Chubb is] probably salivating.”

Don’t get Ben wrong, Chubb isn’t just a product of Miller drawing a significant amount of attention. Roethlisberger pointed to a “couple” of things that have allowed the rookie to have the rare success he’s had.

“It’s high motor. He just goes,” Roethlisberger said, clearly having done his research. “He seems to be very strong and at times he’ll just go right down the middle of the tackle. And then there’s time that he’s able to get around the outside with a little bit of speed and maybe the quarterback steps up and then he throws a spin move in there.

“It’s just never quitting. I feel like he’s watched Von and just really learns from maybe the best to do it.”

As it currently stands, the No. 5 overall pick is on pace to finish the season with 14.5 sacks. The all-time rookie record for sacks is held by Jevon Kearse at that exact same number.

“Honestly, he needs no endorsement from me, he’s got nine sacks,” Tomlin said straightforward. “Where he was taken in the draft, those type of guys aren’t secrets. I think everyone was aware he was very capable and an accomplished football player. He’s proven that with his play.”

Chubb’s mentor, the great Von Miller, finished his rookie campaign with 11.5.

Roethlisberger hinted at how the Steelers will defend the “unbelievable” duo on Sunday.

“Anytime you have a one-two punch — whether it’s two wide receivers, whatever it may be — you have to pay attention a little more to one of them, but they’re both really good,” Ben said, presumably hinting Pittsburgh will give more attention to the future Hall of Famer.

Denver is currently a three-point home underdog on Sunday. But Pittsburgh, specifically Big Ben, isn’t looking at the Broncos as a pushover.


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