The Browns. Cleveland. The Cleveland Browns. Yes, they are still in the league. “The Steelers only beat the Browns by 3?” Calm down, it’s only week 1. A win is a win. Let’s take a look at last Sunday’s game inside and out. Let me ease your mind, yinzers.
The Steelers just faced a different Browns team than most other teams will play this season. What does that mean exactly? It means it’s a new season. The slate is wiped clean and everyone pretends to forget about last year. Well, unless you are the New England Patriots. Wait, UNLESS you are the Atlanta Falcons, who blew the biggest lead in Super Bowl history (25 points). Imagine the mentality of a team that thinks they are that close to being forever remembered as a champion, then Tom Brady happens. Yikes. The new season is a breath of fresh air. Golf clubs are traded back in for a helmet, and a relaxed body is exchanged for a bruised and tired one. Anything can happen. Imagine that you are going into the new school year. Last year stunk, but you are a whole new person. You worked out, you lost weight, got a new wardrobe, and got a new hair cut. The first day of school, well, in this case the first week of the NFL season can tell a lot about how the rest of the year is going to go. The Browns are a young and hungry bunch. Browns GM Sashi Brown was blessed with not one, but three first-round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. He took Myles Garrett 1st overall, Jabrill Peppers 25th, and David Njoku 29th. By adding two top defensive college studs, and a high potential TE in Njoku to pair with Gary Barnidge. They even made a nice second round pick with selecting Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer to compete with Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler. Osweiler, was later cut and picked up by his old team, the Denver Broncos. As we know, Kizer is the starting quarterback for now, but I think they may have just found something. Again, it’s only week 1. He showed off his strong arm, but not an ability to escape pressure. Granted, that offensive line didn’t do their job by giving up 7 sacks. Typical Browns.
Enough of Browns talk.
The Steelers special teams came out firing when former Temple Owl standout Tyler Matakevich, blocked a punt and put the Steelers up early in the game. It seemed as if the football even hates Cleveland, that ball should have went out of bounds, but at the last second spun towards the goal line and Anthony Chickillo recovered it. Kizer would score at the end of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 7. Jesse James caught his first of two touchdowns Sunday just before the end of the first half. Blah, blah, blah you know the rest. The Browns Gonzalez hits a 24 yard kick, James caught his second TD pass, and the Browns score late in the fourth quarter to make it a 21-18 Steelers lead. I’m not concerned about only a small margin of victory by the Steelers, but I am concerned with a few other things.
The offense opened up their first drive with four straight WR screens. What? Why. This isn’t Madden 18. The play-calling for the most part was atrocious. The play calls seem to be very predictable at times, and you feel like the offensive stars are on the field for no reason. Clean it up.
Le’Veon Bell needs to get more touches. Career low in 13 including 10 carries and 3 caught passes. 3.2 yards a carry isn’t the greatest, but hold out of camp or not… Bell needs more touches. I believe he will get them, even though last year felt like too many. Find a happy medium, guys!
Martavis Bryant. 2 catches for 14 yards. I’m really cheering this guy on. Maybe it was just nerves, but he needs to be more involved. A lot of people predict the Steelers average 27-30 points per game this year. However, if Bryant doesn’t get more involved, 27 isn’t even obtainable.
JuJu Smith-Schuster has a chance to be the next great WR here in Pittsburgh. I truly believe that. He wasn’t targeted at all. Let the kid loose. Then again, him just being on the field as a threat opens up the chances for Brown and Brown to do their thing.
AB was AB. Business boomed and the entire NFL took notice once more. Odell, Julio, sorry. Antonio Brown is still the best WR in football. He caught 11 passes for 182 yards.
Big Ben Roethlisberger looked confident minus some bad throws. He should be confident. 24/36 passing for 263 yards, a TD, and a pick. Fun Fact: He has more wins in Cleveland than any Browns quarterback in the past 15 years.
I was impressed with the defense for the most part, other than a giving up a late TD, I felt as if the Browns were never in the game.
T.J. Watt. Wow. The first-round rookie showed a relentless pass rush and made a splash in his debut. He had 6 tackles, 2 sacks and an interception. He became just the third player to record two-plus sacks and and INT in their first NFL game (since sacks became official in 1982), per NFL Research. The two previous were replacement players Charles Glaze and Tommy Haynes in 1987.
Browns or not, this is the NFL.
They still won the game.
These two don’t meet again until week 17, the final regular season game. Hopefully by then, the Steelers stars will be resting due to a clinch and a number 1 seed out of the AFC.
As for the the Browns, are they going to be sitting at the cool kids table in January? Doubt it. Pack a second lunch, Cleveland. It’s another year of being bullied.