No team should ever be in a game when they turn the ball over eight times. The Cleveland Browns forced eight Pittsburgh Steelers‘ turnovers and pulled off a 20-14 win. So just how did the Browns grab the victory at home?
Give credit where credit is due. The Browns’ defense played aggressive and swarmed to the football. The last time the Browns hit like the did yesterday was in 1989. Every Steelers running back coughed up the ball at least once on Sunday. Backed by a fired up loud crowd, the Cleveland defense held Pittsburgh to just 242 total yards. Browns safety TJ Ward had two forced fumbles on the afternoon. Cleveland defensive captain D’Qwell Jackson had nine tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Carrying over momentum from a week ago, the Browns defense played lights out and were firing on all eight cylinders.
Now for the downside. This contest should not have been that close. The Browns should have blown Pittsburgh out to Kelley’s Island. Although it was a low percentage opportunity, for Pittsburgh to have a shot at winning on their final possession is sickening. Once again, blame can be put on coach Pat Shurmur and his soon to be gone conservative ways. The Browns had multiple chances to put the Steelers to sleep. Instead, Shurmur would call plays short of the first down marker on third down time and time again. If not for Dick Jauron‘s feisty and aggressive defense, this would have been a tick in the right column for the Browns.
Penalties and the inability to convert third downs are killing the Browns. Cleveland will never be a good team if they don’t cut down on stupid drive killing penalties. On one drive, the offensive line had three penalties in a row. The Browns version of the west coast offense is stunting the growth of rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. Cleveland was 3 of 16 on third down conversions. That is horrible.
These young Browns are starting to figure out how to play together as a team and the gap is starting to close in the AFC North. For the Browns, it’s definitely time to enjoy a “W” and be proud of the victory against their arch rivals. Cleveland improves to 3-8 and travel to the west coast next week to face the Oakland Raiders.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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