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Steelers Vs Browns Winners And Losers

Winners and losers from the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-14 win over the Cleveland Browns Monday night.

WINNERS

T.J. Watt: Watt’s dominance continued in this one, beating up on Browns’ rookie right tackle James Hudson. Watt finished the day with four sacks, crossing the 20 threshold on the season for the first time in his career. He’s now one sack away from tying Michael Strahan’s official mark.

Watt continues to make big plays in big moments. Three of his four sacks tonight came on third down. Watt also batted down a pair of passes, reading Baker Mayfield on slants he easily tipped.

Dominance end to end and why he should – and with this performance, will – be named Defensive Player of the Year. It’s long overdue.

Cam Heyward: You can say the same about Heyward, who picked up a third down sack tonight and continued to win the line of scrimmage. He broke up a pass that would’ve resulted in a third down conversion and somehow finds ways to elevate his game every single week. What a season he’s had, both on the stat sheet and on tape.

Kudos to Alex Highsmith, as well. Two sacks and tackles for loss chasing runs on the backside. Maybe his best game of the season as the Steelers finished with nine sacks on Baker Mayfield.

Najee Harris: Harris had one of his best games of the season, breaking Franco Harris’ rookie rushing record along the way. He’s played with great effort all year long but it really paid off Monday night. He routinely ripped off yards after contact, finishing his runs time and time again. It was highlighted by his (then) longest run of the season, a 32-yard sprint down the left sideline capped off with a mean stiff arm on CB M.J. Stewart.

Harris finished with a team rookie record 188 yards, finished by a 37-yard score, his longest run of the year.

Ahkello Witherspoon: Witherspoon has emerged as arguably this team’s best corner of the last month. Witherspoon capitalized on Baker Mayfield’s poor performance with an easy interception, showing his length, close, and ball skills. He was aggressive at the catch point, able to close on underneath curls and hitches that resulted in break-ups. And he shows at least want-to in the run game, even if he’s not a great tackler. With Joe Haden probably playing his last game at Heinz Field, Witherspoon is someone worth re-signing heading into the offseason.

Corliss Waitman: Waitman again proved his meddle as a punter, especially navigating muddy waters booting out of his own end. He may give Pressley Harvin some summer competition in 2022. His first punt travelled 58 yards, and he’s been consistent as a punter and holder.

Chris Boswell: Putting both punter and kicker on here. Boswell was money again in a low-scoring affair, drilling field goals from 48 and 50 yards. Much-needed in the second half to give the Steelers a two-score lead as the Browns threatened to get back into things.

Dan Moore Jr.: Myles Garrett had the occasional win tonight, but Moore improved from his ugly first outing. Garrett is dealing with a groin injury but still, props to the rookie in Moore, who more than held his own. He has the makings of this team’s starter in 2022, and possibly a long-term option.

LOSERS

Diontae Johnson/Chase Claypool: Not a banner day for the receivers. Johnson did catch a touchdown on a quick slant, but neither of these guys made big plays. And they had chances. Chase Claypool was again put in tough, contested moments, but those are ones he’s been drafted to win. He didn’t once. Johnson had a drop and just showed a lack of situational awareness after some of his catches. Ben Roethlisberger was far from great, but one of those guys needed to make the big play tonight. They didn’t.

Run/Pass Ratio: I don’t like balance for the sake of balance. And RPOs do muddy up run/pass numbers. But the Steelers couldn’t move the ball through the air tonight. For once, they ran it well. But they threw the ball at will, including in the red zone. A magical Ben Roethlisberger performance sounded good but wasn’t in the script tonight. Harris could have and should have touched the ball more than he did, even if he did finish the game with a high number of carries.

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