Clayton: The strength of the Broncos has let them down in two losses
After getting three wins against losing football teams in September, the Broncos knew things were going to get tougher in October. That’s been the case.
They found out some problems in last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. They were down seven starters since the beginning of the season. They paid a price against the Ravens blitz and defense using two young guards. Vic Fangio did a nice job stacking the defensive line limit the Ravens running game, but a loss is still a loss.
Teddy Bridgewater returned Sunday against Pittsburgh one week after suffering a concussion. Still, the Broncos are without two of their top three receives – Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. The offense scored 19 points against a very good Steelers defense, but it wasn’t enough.
There was a surprise on defense, however. Kyle Fuller struggled a cornerback.
The Broncos paid $9 million to fill out what is considered the best secondary in football. In the opening drive against Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t been able to the ball downfield in the passing game in the Steelers first four games. Against Fuller and the Broncos, he did.
Everyone advised the Steelers to run the ball more and he did. Big Ben only threw 25 attempts and got 15 completions, but he averaged 10.12 yards an attempt. In three of his first four games, Roethlisberger averaged less than six yards an attempt.
Maybe you just write this off as just a tough game for Fuller. In his first four games, he hasn’t been bad. Quarterbacks completed only 11 of 22 passes against him and they had only 165 yards through the air against him, but Sunday was a struggle.
That’s what is worrisome about the back-to-back losses. They’ve come in part because a high-priced secondary hasn’t lived up to their billing.