It was a short week for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they traveled north to take on their long time rivals the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland was the media’s darling to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this offseason, but has had a rocky go of things. Pittsburgh came into tonight winners of four straight and in control of the second wild-card spot.
The Steelers offense, which is already without its top quarterback, would see its number one wide receiver and running back leave the game with injuries. JuJu Smith-Schuster left the game with a concussion, and James Conner exited early after reinjuring his shoulder. With these types of injuries, and sloppy line play, it is easy to see how the offense was limited for the entire night.
Mason Rudolph hasn’t been great since coming in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger in week two, but he has been able to manage the offense. That would not be the case tonight as he went 19-40 for 185 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. With no running game, and an inexperienced quarterback, I imagine more teams will pressure Rudolph to beat them.
In past weeks Pittsburgh has relied heavily on their defense to create turnovers, gain points, and shorten the field. That did not happen in this game, as they were on the field a lot and had to play on a short field. They would give up two touchdown passes and Baker Mayfield QB sneak for the first score of the game. The Steelers lone score came in the third quarter when Rudolph threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Samuels. The 21-7 Browns victory snapped an eight-game winless streak against the Steelers.
The talk of the night will be the brawl that occurred with just five seconds left in the game. Myles Garrett ripped the helmet off of Rudolph’s head and struck the quarterback with it. This led to the Pittsburgh linemen coming to their teammates rescue, with punches and kicks being thrown towards the head of Garrett by Maurkice Pouncey. Expect plenty of suspensions to come down from this one.
It is nearly impossible to get a read on this Pittsburgh team. One week it looks like they could make a run at a wild card berth, and the next its hard to believe they could win another game this season. Hopefully the extra days off can get this team healthy and motivated to play when they head back to Ohio to play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday November 24.