The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a week and a half to look at their upcoming schedule and see the Cleveland Browns as the team up next. It has been a while, but this feels like the rare game against them in recent years that ought not be overlooked, and Head Coach Mike Tomlin cited one specific reason for that.
“They’re what, plus-10 in the turnover ratio, they’re number one in the league”, he pointed out. “They’ve produced 20 turnovers. What happened in our game was no lightning strike. These guys are producing turnovers every stadium they step into. I think the Charger game was the only game where they weren’t producing turnovers in bunches, and you see how that game unfolded”.
The Browns do indeed have 20 takeaways so for this year over the course of seven games, nearly three per game. 11 of them have come via the interception, rookie Denzel Ward leading the way with three, Damarious Randall and Christian Kirksey each with two. Myles Garrett leads with three fumbles forced. They have forced 10 and recovered nine.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us to maintain possession of the ball, to minimize the talents of some of” their defenders, as those already mentioned such as Ward and Garrett, as well as Jabrill Peppers, Genard Avery, and others.
One area of the turnover battle with which Tomlin was particularly impressed was where they have been getting them, as a number have come in critical areas. “It happened against us in the fourth quarter in Week One”, he pointed out. “One of their drives was a one-yard drive because they gave their offense an extremely short field. They provided that same short field for offense again last week against Tampa”.
He also emphasized their turnovers coming in the red zone. “They get extremely stingy when your offense is on the short field. That’s been a signature of their turnovers as well”, he said. “We threw an interception with the ball on the 13-yard line in the red zone, came away with no points. Baltimore, I think, had second and two on the two going in, and turned the ball over [on] an interception, no points. Man, those lack of points, obviously, are significant in terms of how these games are unfolding”.
The Browns’ offense, meanwhile, has turned the ball over 10 times, including five interceptions from Baker Mayfield, who has also fumbled four times, and has lost two of them, so he accounts for 70 percent of their turnovers.
The Steelers, meanwhile, have a minus-two turnover differential. They have gotten only four interceptions, while Ben Roethlisberger has thrown six, and they have both lost and gained four fumbles, for eight takeaways to 10 giveaways.