Three reasons why the Steelers can win it all this year
With playoff football on the horizon, it’s Super Bowl or bust for all 12 teams. FOX Sports NFL insider Alex Marvez gives three reasons why each team will win the Super Bowl XLIX.
B&B: As in Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. No quarterback-wide receiver combination was more prolific in 2014. Roethlisberger tied with Drew Brees for the NFL passing title at 4,952 yards. Brown caught 129 of Roethlisberger’s passes — the second-highest reception total in league history — for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. Teams know Roethlisberger is looking for Brown and still can’t stop the duo from connecting. Brown became the first receiver to ever record at least five catches for 50 yards for an entire 16-game season.
The rest of the offense: There are other reasons besides Roethlisberger and Brown that Pittsburgh finished with the highest scoring and yardage output in franchise history. The offensive line under the coaching of Mike Munchak is much improved. Now fully recovered from a 2012 knee injury, tight end Heath Miller (66 catches for 761 yards) is truly back as Roethlisberger’s security blanket. Markus Wheaton and rookie Martavis Bryant add flash as complementary wideouts. The Steelers can afford to lean heavily on its receiving talent Saturday night against Baltimore if all-purpose running back Le’Veon Bell can’t play because of a hyper-extended knee.
Defensive improvement: The Steelers finished with their worst defensive rankings in yards and points allowed since 1991, but the unit has played better during Pittsburgh’s four-game December winning streak. The Steelers forced seven turnovers and recorded 12 sacks in that stretch while limiting the opposition to 17.5 points, compared to 24.8 in the first 12 games. The increased quarterback pressure is helping to compensate for an injury-riddled secondary.