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Steelers-Browns Recap

After getting up to a commanding 27-3 lead in the 1st half in the home opener against the Browns, the Steelers need a last second FG to win it 30-27. Different year, same old shit I think sums up this game pretty well. It’s like the Steelers wanted to let fans know in the 2nd half that “See? Things haven’t changed!”

The Good – The first half. Specifically the offense which simply dominated, coming out in a no-huddle offense and moving the ball with ease. Defense played well too.

– Ben, the WR’s, Bell all looked great in the passing game in the 1st half. Ben looks in shape and his passes were on the mark for the most part. Almost 300 yards passing through the first 2 quarters.

– Le’Veon Bell really surprised with his speed at times after shedding some weight in the offseason, looking great on some screen plays and especially on the 40 yard TD run, which was a thing of beauty. Great run.

– Antonio Brown dominated early, amassing over 100 receiving yards.

– Another great surprise was youngster Markus Wheaton who caught everything thrown his way including a great 40 yard sideline snag, dragging both feet to ensure he was in bounds and some key grabs on the game winning drive in the 4th quarter.

– Overall, the aggressive offensive gameplan used in the first half paid off as a lot of us thought it would, hopefully the Steelers continue this approach in every game this season because this unit will be called on to the carry the team from the looks of things.

– Wing with a booming 50+ yard punt, where was that in the preseason??

The Bad – Marcus Gilbert and Kelvin Beachum both played poorly at times on the O-line, especially in pass protection. Gilbert allowed 2 sacks and Beachum was called for a holding penalty that nullified a Bell TD run on the opening drive (which ended in a FG instead).

– Ben’s INT in the 2nd quarter. Really dumb decision and inexcusable for someone with the experience and talent that Ben has. Even if the ball were to be complete it would’ve gone for about 1 yard. Late in the game on a 3rd and 1 and the Steelers driving with the score tied Ben elects not to audible out of a draw to Blount even though it was clear the Browns were blitzing. Result – a loss in yards and punt.

– The defense. I don’t think I’ve seen a game with so many wide open receivers. Backup RB’s ripping off 8 yard runs, 20 yard runs. It was ugly. The front seven is a borderline disaster. There are moments where this unit looks good but today it was few and far between. Maybe things will improve as the season continues but how much is another matter.

– Where is the pass rush with this defense? The team did tally 3 sacks but part of that was Hoyer holding the ball too long or broken plays. Aside from that, Hoyer routinely had time to throw the ball, especially in the 2nd half when the Browns started calling more PA plays.

– The second half illustrated how important coaching is. How many teams routinely blow big leads like the Steelers have under Tomlin and Co.? It’s truly amazing. The Browns made halftime adjustments and it showed in the 2nd half with misdirection plays, PA rollouts. The Steelers, on the other hand, clearly thought the game was over and decided to just go into neutral mode which happens all the time with this team under Tomlin. That is clearly a coaching issue.

– 11 penalties called on the team. Part of that is the NFL calling more penalties in general (complete horseshit) but regardless, not good. A lack of discipline is a reflection of a poorly coached team, which this team most certainly is.

– Rookie Dri Archer returning a kickoff 7 yards deep resulting in getting stopped at the 10 yard line. Not smart at all.

The Ugly – A play that will surely be shown a lot on TV, Antonio Brown’s foot stomp on the Brown’s punter on a punt return. On one hand, this was pretty funny especially since it was the Browns. On the other hand, Brown could’ve scored on the play if he had simply side stepped him. I’m all for sending messages but it wasn’t like this was necessary considering the score, who the player was or the score at the time. The play resulted in an unsportmanslike conduct penalty on Brown and most assuredly a fine for Brown later in the week.

The Lowpoint – The fake punt in the 4th quarter at the Steelers own 20 yard line in the 4th quarter. Against the Browns. After being up 27-3. Let that sink in for a minute.

Summary – The first half was fun, it was exciting, it gave us hope…and then the 2nd half gave us the cold reality of what will most assuredly be another frustrating season of watching a Tomlin-led team. To keep things in perspective, this game will probably be the easiest game of the season for the Steelers, the Browns look to be one of the bottom dwellers of the NFL and the Steelers gave up 24 points to them in the 2nd half at home in the season opener. It got so bad that Tomlin was desperate enough to attempt a fake punt at his team’s own 20 yard line. How do things get that bad so fast? It’s astounding in a way. Looking ahead, the Steelers go into Baltimore and face another rival coming off a loss who will be desperate to get a win.

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