PITTSBURGH -- Many factors comprise the Steelers' magma-hot offensive pace. A good quarterback helps. Elite receivers help. A better-than-you-think line helps.
But the synergy between Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley must be high on that list.
After four years together, coach and player are neighbors in the mind matrix of play calling.
"The more comfortable you get, you start almost calling the same plays," Roethlisberger said. "You're calling something as he's calling it in or something like that. The faith and trust that he coaching staff has in me and us as an offense helps, too."
Haley has given Roethlisbeger freedom with calling the two-minute and no-huddle offenses, effectively assuaging the duo's rocky start. Both have admitted to growing pains after the departure of Bruce Arians, whose offense helped Pittsburgh win Super Bowls but had Roethlisberger taking too many sacks.
Roethlisberger and Haley have flipped the field in that area. Just as important as Roethlisberger's 332.1 passing yards per game is taking 14 sacks in nine games, by far Roethlisberger's best clip ever (1.55 per game). Haley's quick passing game suits Roethlisberger.
That's an insane number for a guy who likes contact.
"Just because I take a couple of hits doesn't mean I'm going to start flinching or backing down," Roethlisberger said. "I'm kind of a big guy. I enjoy fun, physical football games."
The Steelers' offensive rhythm has it looking inward. They respect the Broncos' vaunted defense but are worried about their own performance first. When asked about Broncos corners Aqib Talib and Chris Harris press-covering Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger said sometimes that tactic works; sometimes it "fails miserably."
"He's one of the best in the world for a reason," Roethlisberger said.
Brown said Talib and Harris each play a side, so he will probably see both. Brown keeps it simple when asked about the matchups.
"I'm totally focused on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh's offense and Antonio Brown getting wide open," Brown said with a smile.