The 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the most complete defensive units as the season progresses through Week 2.
The Steelers defense is made up of eight former first-round draft selections and is coming off a year where they finished first in forced turnovers, first in sacks, and gave up the third-fewest passing yards in 2019.
The Steelers defense’s dominant form carried over from 2019 to 2020 as the team defeated the New York Giants in week one. Still Curtain’s very own site expert Tommy Jaggi said it best in his latest article, “The Steelers defensive line put a whomping on the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.”
On their Monday Night Football showdown, the Pittsburgh Steelers were in the backfield all night sacking Daniel Jones three times, collecting eleven total tackles for a loss, keeping Saquan Barkley held to a mere 6 rushing yards on 15 carries, and intercepting the ball twice thanks to the constant pressure surrounding the quarterback. While edge rusher Bud Dupree did not record a single sack during the regular-season opener, he may have still been the most disruptive player on Pittsburgh’s defense. This is quite the statement considering teammate T.J. Watt was a finalist for defensive player of the year last season.
Bud Dupree finished Monday night with 2 tackles for a loss, the most quarterback hurries on the team with 4, 4 is double what the next three closest players had, and one quarterback knockdown which led to All-Pro defensive linemen Cameron Heyward intercepting the ball. As I stated earlier Dupree did not record a sack, and still somehow led the Pittsburgh Steelers with 5 quarterback pressures.
Bud Dupree’s commanding first game of 2020 is not all that surprising after a breakout season in 2019 for Bud Dupree. Dupree finished last year with 11.5 total sacks, four forced fumbles, and 16 total tackles for a loss. His 2019 breakout season and play in Week 1 are two reasons that lead me to believe Dupree will not only continue to dominate during week 2 of the 2020 season, but I anticipate a career day for the edge rusher.
Why Bud Dupree will have a career day for the Steelers
In addition to Bud Dupree’s career year last year and his Week 1 performance, why else do I anticipate a career day on Sunday? Well, it starts with who Dupree is lining up against on that left side for the Denver Broncos, Garett Bolles. Bolles is known for being one of the most penalized players since being drafted by the Broncos in the 2017 NFL draft, the same draft as Dupree.
The significant reason for this is his athletic ability. Specifically his adequate explosiveness out of his stance and adequate lateral agility. Garett Bolles gets beat to the outside more often than not due to his athletic limitations. If he can not make up that ground, that is where he begins holding his opposition and if he doesn’t his quarterback will more than likely be hit.
I expect this to be the result, which is why I anticipate Bud Dupree setting a career-high in sacks with 3 and for him to be constantly be held by the Denver Broncos starting left tackle. Now, Dupree and Bolles have come face to face once before. Dupree, however, was not the same player that he is currently. His overall game has blossomed, and he has transformed into an extremely productive player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I will admit, Garett Bolles could have a bounce-back year himself, especially after a full season under longtime NFL offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Bolles finished last week’s loss against the Tennessee Titans with zero penalties against him and allowing zero sacks. I just see Bud Dupree getting the better of him throughout this one with his good get off and pass-rushing skillset.
If I was a fantasy owner I would not hesitate to get behind Bud Dupree and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers tenacious defense. It could be a very long day for the Garett Bolles, Drew Lock, and the entire Denver Broncos team.