Home > Steeler Articles > Week 14 Steelers-Browns Recap

Week 14 Steelers-Browns Recap

It wasn’t pretty, but the Steelers pull out the win, 14-3 over the Browns in Heinz Field.

QB – Ben had a hell of a game. His ankle was hurt at the end of the 1st half after getting sandwiched by two Browns after waiting way too long to throw the ball. This is one of the downsides of Ben’s playing style. Ben, being the tough SOB (and maybe a little bit of a drama queen?) that he is, somehow returned in the 2nd half, bad ankle and all, and led the team to victory. He made a number of nice throws and a few really dangerous ones, like the super short slant right past the LOS in the 2nd half that was almost intercepted and his deep out pass that was intercepted, as Ben was fooled by the Browns secondary. Ben finished with great numbers and a superb effort, wow. Charlie Batch briefly played at the end of the 1st half and looked horrible on one throw.

RB – Mendy and Redman averaged 4.2 yards and 5.8 respectively against a very suspect Browns defense. Mendy ran great on a handful of runs, hitting seams and showing some nice cutbacks as the Steelers O-line did a very respectable job in run blocking at times. Mendy also showed bad technique on successive goalline runs as he ran upright and rigid. A RB cannot do that at the GL when the opposing defense is stacking the line. A big no-no. Redman ran great on 6 carries, including a couple real impressive runs. Moore chipped in 3 runs for 15 yards.

WR/TE – Brown continues to shine as he finishes the game with 5 grabs, a terrifice 79 yard TD reception and a career-best 151 yards receiving. He did drop a pass or two, however. But overall, Brown is making a strong case for best WR on the team right now. Mike Wallace also had a nice game, 4 grabs for 57 yards. Cotchery had 2 grabs and a TD. Miller had 2 catches but also a disastrous  fumble as the Steelers were driving. Same goes for Ward, who had just 1 catch and then fumble. DJ Johnson chipped in 2 grabs.

OL – At times the pass protection was pretty bad. The run blocking was strong for most of the night, although once again short yardage (like at the GL) blocking was mediocre. Maurkice Pouncey went out with another ankle injury, which forced Legursky over to center and Kemoeatu into the game. Kemo, of course, was penalized at least 3 times in the game. Overall, not one of the best games for this unit, when you factor in some subpar blocking at times and way too many penalties.

DL – Ziggy Hood went out with a groin injury. His replacement, Cameron Heyward, played pretty well for a rookie. Kiesel and Hampton both had some nice plays against the run, combining for 11 tackles and 4 assists. Steve McLendon chipped in on a sack.

LB – Jason Worilds, filling in for Woodley again, had another strong game, finishing with 8 tackles and 2 sacks. James Harrison got some pressures and was once again stout against the run, finishing with 5 tackles. Timmons was active against the run and pass, finishing with 5 tackles and 3 assists. Foote and Farrior chipped in a couple times against the run. Not too impressive outside of that.

CB/S – Willie Gay had an active game, with some nice coverage here and there and eventually coming away with the game-sealing INT in the Steelers endzone. He did fall down on a deep sideline pass, but on further review it looks a case of offensive pass interference, it wasn’t called but there was no catch on the play. Taylor was fooled a couple times early on as he bit on some routes. Same goes for Troy, who gambled on some routes, leaving WR’s open downfield. Clark once again was decent as a 5th linebacker and actually made a couple nice hits in pass coverage.

ST – Kapinos had an OK day punting. Brown had a nice return of 21 yards. The coverage units did a good job, rookie Curtis Brown continues to impress.

Arians – An OK day by Arians outside of a totally retarded GL playcalling sequence. 4 almost identical runs from the 2 yard line – zero points. Even with a hobbled Ben in the game, you have to use your best player in that situation at least once. Totally mind-boggling, but such is the way of Arians. Also, having 3 trips inside the redzone and not scoring any points further points to a continually underperforming offense. Where does the buck eventually stop? I still have issues with the overall offensive gameplans (or lack thereof) put together but that clearly isn’t changing. I also continue to have problems with some of the routes the Steelers run. It was great to see the Steelers use Wallace again on a short crosser with great success (which hasn’t seemed to happen in about 3 or 4 games), but on the play that Ben was injured, I really don’t understand why Brown and Wallace ran such simplistic and predictable routes downfield. Made it way too easy on the Browns secondary. That is an ongoing issue with this offense. It seems that WR’s are running routes way too clase to one another or they are running simple, easily read routes too frequently.

Lebeau – The defense started off looking pretty rough as the Browns ran the ball well and moved the ball easily into scoring position on the opening drive. That kind of start seems to be typical of late with this defense. After that, the defense did a solid job against a mediocre offense, although things got a little dicey with the score 7-3 and the Browns driving for a potential game-winning drive late in the 4th quarter. Fortunately the defense stood strong and got the interception.

Tomlin – Another sloppy and unfocused game against a mediocre opponent. Lots of mistakes and penalties. It’s great the team is 10-3 but there are still a lot of issues with this team going forward into the playoffs. Gameplanning, discipline, keeping the team focused and decision-making still leave a lot to be desired. I will say, I 100% agreed with the decision to go for it on 4th down at the Browns GL. The playcalling, though, was simply horrible.

Overall, a good win all things considered, if a little unimpressive at times. This game points to further evidence of the Steelers needing a LEGIT and DEPENDABLE backup QB. Batch was once a dependable backup about a thousand years ago. He is no longer. Dixon will never be one. Leftwich is about as injury-prone as Batch at this point. Think about this, if the Steelers actually had a young and/or dependable backup, Ben wouldn’t have needed to pull a Superman and come back into the game and potentially aggravate his ankle injury even worse than it already is. Who knows, maybe he did aggravate the injury more than if hadn’t come back into the game. Time will tell, but it’s crazy to put the franchise into a position like that to beat the Cleveland Browns at home.

Gotta briefly mention what has become a laughingstock and embarrassment – No, I’m not talking about Bruce Arians. I’m talking about the NFL officiating as it continued it’s horrendous ways in last night’s game. Let’s take a quick review –

– Phantom encroachment penalties? Check.

– Phantom proof of a ball hitting the ground on a previously ruled catch? Check.

– Phantom defensive holding? Check.

– Another bullshit penalty on James Harrison? Check.

– Yet another game with no offensive holding calls on the opposing team’s O-line? Check.

NFL should be embarrassed but the front office and Goodell don’t even give a shit at this point. Pretty obvious.

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