From start to finish, the AFC North battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns will be about one thing; physicality. This contest will be full of big hits and it will be a matter of who wants it more. Here is the formula for beating the disgusting black and yellow.
The Browns defense is coming off an awesome game where they sacked the quarterback seven times. Cleveland must carry that over in to the Steelers game. The opportunity will be there as the Pittsburgh offensive line has struggled to say the least this season. Add to the mix that Charlie Batch is now the starting quarterback and the odds are slightly in Cleveland’s favor. The Cleveland defense needs to hit hard and do it often.
The Steelers are going to run the football. With Batch behind center, they are going to try to shorten the game by eating clock. The Browns’ arch nemesis will pound Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer (if healthy). Cleveland needs to stack eight men in the box and shut down the run game. If the Steelers are forced to throw, the Browns should have no problem winning their “Super Bowl”.
Get on the field and do your thing Joe Haden. If and when the black and yellow do throw, chances are the ball is going to go in the direction of Mike Wallace. It is Haden’s job to shut him down. If Haden does not play on Sunday, Wallace is likely to put up numbers like Dez Bryant did against the Browns a week ago. Wallace is remarkably fast and will blow by the rest of the Cleveland defensive backs.
Slow down Dick LeBeau‘s crazy blitz schemes. The orange helmets will be able to do this by using “quick hitters”. A quick hit is a short snap count that allows Brandon Weeden to get rid of the ball early. The Browns would be smart to use a variety of running back or wide receiver screens. With Weeden’s uneasiness and pocket presence, five and seven step drop backs are just asking for trouble. Pat Shurmur and Brad Childress should allow Weeden to use the shot gun more like he did in college.
It is going to be difficult, but the Browns need to establish Trent Richardson. Even if he is only getting three yards a carry, Cleveland must stick with it and not abandon the run game. If Weeden has to chuck the ball fifty times, odds are not good for the Browns. TRich has got to find the end zone in this game.
Understand what’s at stake. No doubt Cleveland is out of the playoff hunt, but have a sense of pride. The players and coaches must understand what this game means to the Dawg Pound fans. Play with as much fire, passion, and intensity that the fans have just watching the game. For fans, this is an emotional week with the other rivalry already that starts on Saturday. Do not let them down.
Drown out the stupid fair weather, yellow towel waving fans. This is Cleveland Browns Stadium, home of the Browns and all of their loyal blue collar fans. This is not Heinz Field. What an absolute embarrassment that these people can take over our stadium. Use the terrible promotion white flags to “white out’ the yellow ones.
Finally, this game could come down to a final kick. The Browns need to execute the special teams’ play to perfection. This is going to come from coaching and preparation. Although it will be difficult, Shurmur needs to find a way to out smart Mike Tomlin.
If the majority of these things happen, Browns fans will be celebrating until the new year. The Steelers are starting their third string quarterback, how bad could it be?
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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