This was not a headline I ever thought I would write. I never imagined seeing the Cleveland Browns take down the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Roethlisberger/Tomlin era. I never thought I would see the Browns win a playoff game at Heinz Field. Though I thought this game would be a close one, I didn’t think it would be the massacre it was. It pains me to say it but the Browns were flawless and 100% deserved to win this game.
A buddy of mine asked me before the game started if I wanted to take the Steelers at -6. After I watched the last 5 games and saw the Steelers severely struggle, I couldn’t take the bet. Despite their recent woes, I thought the Steelers would win. I figured it would come down to a last second field goal but could not believe my eyes last night. After the very first snap, I saw that the night was going to be much worse than I imagined. 7-0 Browns.
No coach, no problem
Forget not having head coach Kevin Stefanski, 3 other coaches, and 4 players because of COVID-19, it didn’t matter to this Browns team. When Ben Roethlisberger throws 4 interceptions against you, I could probably coach the Browns to victory. But that doesn’t matter. It’s what happens on the subsequent plays that will determine your fate in the playoffs and the Browns made it count.
Baker Mayfield showed why he deserved to be the number one pick in the 2018 draft and expertly crafted a stat line of 21/34 for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns. Finding primarily Jarvis Landry (5-92, 1 TD) and Austin Hooper (7-46, 1 TD) with ease. Not to be outdone, the two headed monster of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the backfield were out for blood. Hunt provided two easy rushing touchdowns while bowling over any Steeler that got in his way. Chubb had just under 150 all purpose yards and a pretty catch and run for a touchdown.
Holes in the Steel Curtain
The Browns capitalized when it mattered and made the Steelers defense look like Swiss cheese. I wrote earlier this season that if the Steelers defense remained healthy, they could be poised for a huge season. However, when you have to substitute names like Devin Bush, Bud Dupree, & Joe Haden with guys like Robert Spillane, Cassius Marsh, & James Pierre…you’re gonna have a bad time. Not to put any of those guys down who worked their tails off last night, but they just aren’t the caliber of the starters.
The Steelers have a lot of questions this offseason but now’s not the time to get into that. The Browns deserved to win last night because of their flawless execution. You can put the game on the shoulders of Baker Mayfield and he’ll seem to find a way to secure the victory. Although it may be a short playoff run as they face the mighty Kansas City Chiefs next, this was something to hang their hats on for the future. Congrats Cleveland (ugh that hurt).
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