Winning the One-on-One

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While i prepped for the “Mile-High Match-up” in Denver and watched some tape of the Broncos offensive line, i came away with the feeling that the Denver Broncos OT Ryan Clady would not be able to block James Harrison consistently mano-y-mano in passing situations last weekend.

After hanging 9 quarterback pelts on the wall in 11 games, in a season which James Harrison has overcome 2 lower back surgeries, a broken face and fines and suspension, I believed Harrison ready to ride rough-shod over the Clady. I really thought James might have one of them “James Harrison-like” days. Didn’t happen.

Again Denver suprised. They did what the Steelers thought they wouldn’t do. They did a lot of 2 man routes. The Broncos kept 8 men in to block. They “Double-chipped” with their backs and TE’s for only the second time i’ve ever seen that happen, St. Louis being the first.

Double chipping tells you one thing. That the coaching staff has no confidence in their pass-pro match-ups and so they will double-team those (Harrison, Woodley) they deemed to be of sufficient concern.

Which makes it extremely hard to get after a quarterback after getting nailed by a guy who’s looking to upend you, and only after dealing with the first guy, then you get a shot at your main antagonist, that being the OT if you’re Harrison.

All this means is that the rest of the pass rushers weren’t winning their one-on-one rush situations. Somewhere in the 8 men kept in by the Broncos blocking on 4 or 5-pass rushers, somebody has only 1 body between him and Tebow. And that person wasn’t winning.