One of the most anticipated rematches of the season will take place on Sunday as the Pittsburgh Steelers welcome the Cleveland Browns to Heinz Field. No one can forget what happened the first time around as Myles Garrett swung a helmet at Mason Rudolph’s head but barring the unexpected, neither will play in this one. Garrett has been suspended indefinitely while Rudolph has been benched in favor of Devlin Hodges. With major playoff implications looming, here are all the stats that will shape this divisional showdown.
3.16 – Baker Mayfield’s escape ability was one of the deciding factors during the last meeting and the Steelers cannot afford to let him out of their grasp again. The Browns’ quarterback averaged 3.16 seconds to throw when these two teams last met in week 11. The Steelers got their usual amount of pressure on Mayfield, they just could not finish. Sacked just once during their week eleven matchup, Mayfield was able to avoid the Steelers’ pass rush and make them pay by delivering more than a few shots downfield. That cannot happen again if the Steelers want to even the score.
7.1 – This one is courtesy of Field Yates and really shows the effectiveness that the Browns have had when utilizing both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The Browns are averaging 7.1 yards per play when both these running backs have shared the field. While they have only been on the field for 59 snaps together, getting both Chubb and Hunt on the field have been key points of emphasis for the Browns’ offense since Hunt returned from suspension. The Steelers are going to have to do a better job limiting these two this time around as they allowed Chubb and Hunt to combine for 150 yards from scrimmage during their last meeting.
9 – The Steelers have recorded multiple takeaways in nine games this season, most in the NFL. The only two opponents that the team failed to take the ball away from? The Browns and New England Patriots. As of right now, the Steelers are not scheduled to face the Patriots again but they have a chance to right their wrongs against the Browns this Sunday. The Browns did not turn the ball over last time they faced the Steelers and that was a huge reason why they were able to walk out with a victory. If the defense wants to help out their offense, a turnover or two would go a long way this Sunday.
100.6 – Only a few quarterbacks have played better than Mayfield over the last month. Since week nine, Mayfield is carrying a passer rating of 100.6, 10th highest in the NFL. He is also completing 64-percent of his passes while also throwing eight touchdowns over the last four weeks. Most importantly, Mayfield has rarely turned the ball over during this stretch, throwing just one interception since week nine. That lone interception is also the Browns’ only turnover over their last four games and with them taking a very careful approach with the football, the Steelers’ defense is going to have to be on their toes this Sunday.
128.5 – B.J. Finney will once again start at center Sunday, in place of the suspended Maurkice Pouncey. The Steelers have been almost perfect in games that Finney has started, going 10-1 since 2016. The win column is not the only area that the team has noticed an improvement in with Finney on the field as the team has rushed the ball considerably better than usual with him in the lineup. In the 11 games that Finney has started, the Steelers are averaging 128.5 rushing yards per game and have rushed for over 100 yards in seven of those 11 contests.