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Steelers Correct Miscues In First Matchup To Get Revenge On Browns

It’s no mystery as to why the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago.

And it isn’t hard to figure out why they got their revenge yesterday. They corrected those mistakes, didn’t create new ones, and walked out with the victory.

What happened the first time these two teams met? A couple central issues.

1. Too many offensive turnovers

Four of them, to be exact. All Mason Rudolph interceptions. As good as the defense has been, giving the ball away that many times puts them in an impossible spot. Blueprint is to keep the score down, let the defense be the one creating short fields, and have your offense play mistake-free, doing just enough to put up points.

2. Coverage breakdowns/big plays

At least two of them. One of which directly resulted in a touchdown, Jarvis Landry getting wide open for a one-yard score to let Cleveland race out to a 14-0 lead.

They also gave up two completions of 40+ yards, one leading to Baker Mayfield’s sneak over the goal line, and another that went for 25. A defense that’s kept a lid on things for most of the season didn’t that night.

3. Allowing Mayfield to leave the pocket

He extended the play time and time again, moving the sticks on third down and putting the dagger through the Steelers’ hearts, tossing a touchdown on a broken 3rd and goal play to make it 21-7 late in the game.

Let’s walk through those problems one-by-one from yesterday’s game. To see if they’re corrected.

1. Too many offensive turnovers

Sunday: Just one. An ugly one, sure, Devlin Hodges’ fourth quarter pick when Diontae Johnson slowed up on a route, but the defense did its thing, forcing a three and out and punt. This defense is good enough to respond to one turnover. Just not four. They ultimately won the turnover battle, going +1, making the big plays late, as opposed to the Browns’ defense, who did that in Week 11.

2. Coverage breakdowns/big plays

Sunday: Not this time. Far as I can tell, very little breakdowns. None that proved fatal to the Steelers. Devin Bush drove on an underneath crosser when he should’ve carried a tight end vertical but it didn’t result in a 40+ yard plays. In fact, Pittsburgh didn’t give up a play longer than 23 yards Sunday, run or pass. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t have a reception go longer than 19 yards and though Cleveland put together a couple of good drives, they never found the big play for a quick score. 1-3 in the red zone, they settled for field goals, not touchdowns.

3. Allowing Mayfield to leave the pocket

Sunday: Bit of an issue early but mistakes quickly cleaned up and resolved after halftime. It led to the Browns struggling on 3rd down. They began the game 4-6. They ended it 0-6. Ended up sacking him five times, keeping him in the pocket, even when he initially eluded pressure. Leading to plays like Bud Dupree’s strip/sack fumble as Mayfield began moving to his left.

That doesn’t mean things were perfect this weekend. Far too many pre-snap penalties, a run defense that needs some work (Keith Butler called a lot of run blitzes, which are risk/reward), and it’d be nice to see the offense not turn the ball over for once, now 19 games and counting.

But those big, key problems from the first meeting were taken care of. Given the fact the Steelers still had a chance to win that one, down 14-7 deep into Browns’ territory with five minutes left, you knew if Pittsburgh fixed things, they’d come away with a win. That’s what they did yesterday.

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