The seemingly annual regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns has been a bit of a treat for the Pittsburgh Steelers of late. It usually means a relatively easy win, and in this case, it poses something of a mini-bye week, since it makes no difference to the postseason whether or not they lose, so they can rest some players.
One of the most interesting facets of these finales against the Browns, however, has been the fact that they’ve often presented the Steelers with some really unheralded names at the quarterback position. By that point in the season, the Browns have usually worn out their starting quarterback, and so would be down to their second- or third-string guy. They’ve even faced Bruce Gradkowski in this game before.
Today, however, they actually get to face Robert Griffin III in a Browns uniform for the first time. He was supposed to be their starter this year, but the Browns got their quarterback injuries off to an early start, as a shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve following a season-opening loss.
He only returned three weeks ago, and finally managed to help the Browns win their first game of the season after 14 consecutive losses, but he got knocked out of that game with a concussion. However, he has cleared the concussion protocol and will bring his 1-3 record—a very good one for a Cleveland quarterback this year—with him to Pittsburgh.
I find it a bit of a curiosity to be able to get a good look at Griffin playing against the Steelers with the Browns. I was looking forward to it, admittedly, earlier in the year, but, of course, he was injured, so Pittsburgh had to settle for knocking rookie Cody Kessler out of the game in order to get to Josh McCown.
Griffin is already the third Browns quarterback they will face this season in one fewer game than there have been pass-throwers. But he is certainly the most interesting of the three to watch, and his mobility presents a challenge that, admittedly, the Steelers have been able to handle pretty well of late (see: Buffalo).
This is the Browns we are dealing with, after all, so it must be taken into consideration that this might be the only opportunity for the Steelers to play against Griffin with the Browns, as we simply don’t know who will still be on the team, let alone the coaching staff or the front office, a year from now.
In four games this year, the former second-overall pick for Washington has completed 58 of 107 pass attempts for a completion percentage of 54.2—comfortably lower than any other season in his career. His 6.1 yards per pass attempt is also easily a career-worst. He has thrown two interceptions, and no touchdown passes, and has been sacked 18 times, but he has rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. I’m looking forward to seeing how he handles the Steelers’ defense.