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Updated: 2 hours 9 min ago

Mike Tomlin not considering a change in QB following the Week 3 loss

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 10:55pm
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is ready for a change, but Mike Tomlin isn’t.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were losers in Week 3, falling 29-17 to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. Offensively, not everything was bad. The team put up 14 first half points, but stalled in every sense of the word in the second half.

Mitch Trubisky remained at the helm for the duration of the game in Cleveland, and after three straight three-and-outs in the second half, fans are wondering if Mike Tomlin has seen enough to make a change.

Evidently, he hasn’t.

After the game Tomlin was asked by media if he was considering making a change at the position with the team having a 10-day layoff following the Thursday night game. His answer was simple.

“Definitively no.”

This per Brooke Pryor of ESPN:

Asked Mike Tomlin if he considers making a change a QB or playcallers in the minibye

Tomlin: “definitively no.”

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 23, 2022

To be fair, the Steelers loss wasn’t solely on Trubisky’s shoulders. While there were throws/decisions the quarterback would like to have back, these mistakes were of the back-breaking variety.

With the extra time between the next game, the Steelers organization will try to find a way to put together an offensive plan which can be effective. The Steelers saw first half success vs. the Browns, but this success didn’t carry over into the second half, where they added just three points to their total.

The news of Tomlin not considering a change at the game’s most important position will certainly not be accepted well within the fan base, and begs the question what would need to happen barring injury for the team to decide to give Kenny Pickett a shot.

In the meantime, expect more Trubisky moving forward.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium in Week 4.

Knee-Jerk Reactions to the Steelers 29-17 loss to the Browns

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 10:37pm
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Steelers offense could only manage three points in the second half after holding a slight halftime lead.

Knee-jerk reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer. As is the custom, I compile my knee-jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game (my son Kyle might have a few things to say as well). It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later (or not). So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during Week 3 of the NFL Regular Season.

1st Quarter

  • Steelers to kickoff. Bring on more football.
  • Defense gets them to a third and 10. Will we see the soft zone early? We did, but Wallace made a great play to knock it away.
  • You know it's bad when Al Michaels is calling the Steelers offense dink & dunk before they even get going.
  • Third and five the Steelers at least throw the ball down the field, but it falls incomplete and they will punt after one first down.
  • Highsmith jumps off side on 3rd and 6 now making it a third and one.
  • Lary O. with the sack on 3rd down.
  • Killebrew got a piece of that punt and the Steelers will have great field position to start their second possession.
  • Nice 10 yarder by Najee.
  • An okay run on first down is followed by two terrible looking pass plays. Boswell will come on to try to put the Steelers on the board.
  • The wind gets a hold of it and pushes it right from 50 yards.
  • Defense quickly gets them to third down and nine. Looks like they might be just short. I expect them to go for it quickly.
  • A QB sneak gets the Browns the first.
  • Chubb gashes the defense on that run. Witherspoon wiffed on the tackle near the line of scrimmage.
  • That pass for the touchdown to Cooper was way too easy by the defensive backs. The Steelers missed their opportunity for points and then turn around and give up a touchdown.
  • Brown 7, Steelers 0.
  • Oh my goodness. What a catch by Pickens.
  • The hurry up offense has been the Steelers friend again.
  • That's the end of quarter number one. Browns 7, Steelers 0.

2nd Quarter

  • Cleveland's offsides on the first play of the second quarter, but it doesn't matter as Najee runs it in for a touchdown. Steelers 7, Browns 7.
  • The Steelers got really lucky on that play as Cooper hit the sideline before catching the ball.
  • The defense had too many guys on the field and end up having to burn a time out. I hate burning timeouts for unnecessary reasons.
  • The defense gives up a third and nine. Why they give up so many long third down conversions is hard to tell.
  • Witherspoon cannot cover Amari Cooper.
  • The Browns just seem to be moving the ball at will right now.
  • Another pitch and catch for a touchdown. The extra point hits the upright. Browns 13, Steelers 7.
  • Nice job by Trubisky avoiding a sack and getting the ball downfield to Diontae.
  • Dionte then saves the ball after Jaylen Warren fumbles.
  • The Steelers are definitely running the ball better tonight.
  • Trubisky on the quarterback keeper runs in for the touchdown. You can't say the offensive line wasn't blocking well on that series. Steelers 14, Browns 13.
  • That was some pretty poor tackling by the Steelers there.
  • The defense has got them in another third and long.
  • Steelers hold them short, but Cleveland is taking the time out and I think they are going to go for it on 4th and 2.
  • The Browns convert and keep their drive going. Hold on now, they've called for the play to be reviewed and it was determined to not be a catch. Steelers take over.
  • After picking up some yards Trubisky then throws two balls out of bounds not near any receivers. I think the Steelers squandered a chance at points there.
  • That's the half. Steelers 14, Browns 13.

3rd Quarter

  • Nice catch by Claypool to pick up a first down.
  • Browns get caught with an extra guy on the field.
  • Was that Najee Harris or Edwin Moses out there?
  • Great catch and run by Warren but there is a flag on the play. They caught Chuks downfield ineligible. Takes away the big gain.
  • Steelers are able to get it back to a manageable third down. Would be really nice to convert this one.
  • Steelers don't convert. Harvin on to punt.
  • Witherspoon still can't cover Cooper.
  • The defense needs to quit trying to tackle Chubb high. His legs are too strong— you got to cut them out.
  • Cleveland goes for it on 4th and 1 and converts easily. I really don't feel like the defense has played as well tonight as they did in the first two games.
  • Browns are in the red zone, but the defense gets them to a third and 10.
  • The defense holds and the Browns will attempt to field goal. It's good. Browns 16, Steelers 14.
  • Steelers quickly get to third down and really need to convert to give the defense a break but they throw it deep and it's incomplete. I expect to see the defense get gassed in this game like they did the last game.
  • End of the third quarter. Brown 16, Steelers 14.

4th Quarter

  • Cooper burns them again.
  • The defense is not able to get Chubb on the ground.
  • This is a very tired looking defense.
  • The defense gets a hold to 4th and goal but Chubb punches it in. Browns 23, Steelers 14.
  • The Steelers are down two scores. If they go three and out here I will die.
  • What do you know they face a third and 10.
  • Check that as a false start will make it third and 15.
  • Incomplete pass and the Steelers go three and out. They're dismal third down conversion rate continues. That will probably be the ball game.
  • Highsmith looking a little bit like T.J. Watt on that play.
  • The defense holds, so the offense will get another shot.
  • What do you know the offense goes three and out again. The Steelers haven’t been able to generate any offense in the fourth quarter the past two games.
  • Highsmith gets home for the sack on 3rd down.
  • Muth finally gets his first catch of the game with under 3 minutes to play.
  • The drive stalls and the Steelers will go for a field goal to get it to one possession. Browns 23, Steelers 17.
  • The Steelers line up for the onside kick, but end up with a penalty and Cleveland gets the ball. How fitting.
  • The defense holds them on third down, but the Steelers will get the ball back with about 10 seconds or so left to play.
  • The defense can't get stops when it has to have them and the offense can't move the ball when it needs to.
  • I must say that I was quite disappointed with the Steeler second half performance.
  • I guess it's also fitting that on the last play the Steelers play the lateral game, turn it over and the Browns score another touchdown.
  • Final score Browns 29, Steelers 17.

There you have it, my knee jerks. so I will sit on this for almost a week, analyze it and then talk about it on The Scho Bro Show. CAN’T WAIT!!!

FINAL: Inconsistent Steelers fall to Browns 29-17 in prime time

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 10:27pm
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers inconsistencies on both side of the ball were too much to overcome, as the Cleveland Browns win 29-17 on Thursday Night Football.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns entered the Week 3 Thursday Night Football game in Ohio facing similar circumstances. Both entered the game 1-1 and coming off losses in Week 2. The Steelers losing to New England Patriots and the Browns losing to the New York Jets, both losses at their respective home venues.

For the visiting team, the story was all about the team’s offense. Mitch Trubisky faced a critical juncture of his time with the Steelers, and if the offense didn’t start to produce points it could lead to changes following the prime time game.

Cleveland won the opening coin toss, and elected to start the game with the football. After just one first down, the Browns punted the ball away to give the Steelers their first possession of the game. Mitch Trubisky and the offense matched the Browns first down before Pressley Harvin was called on to action.

When the Browns were forced to punt on their second drive, Miles Killebrew got a hand on the punt and the Steelers started with field position at midfield. The offense was able to move into Chris Boswell’s field goal range, but on a windy night the 50-yard attempt sailed wide right.

The Cleveland offense woke up with the good field position, and it was Nick Chubb who set up the offense after a 37-yard run moved the ball to the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Brissett hit Amari Cooper in the end-zone for the first touchdown of the game. After the extra point, it was 7-0 Browns with 2:54 left in the first quarter.

The Steelers needed a big play, and went uptempo on their next drive. The biggest play was a 37-yard one-handed catch by George Pickens which got the team into the red-zone.



#PITvsCLE on @NFLonPrime pic.twitter.com/CHBCksr7Yf

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 23, 2022

A Jaylen Warren run moved the ball to the 4-yard line at the end of the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Najee Harris ran over a Browns defender on his way to a rushing touchdown. The Boswell point-after was good, making the score 7-7.

.@ohthatsNajee22 runs it in for six

#PITvsCLE on @NFLonPrime pic.twitter.com/a0Zvap0N0K

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 23, 2022

The Browns’ offense took the field after the Steelers tied the game, and they moved the ball with ease. This time, instead of Nick Chubb, it was Kareem Hunt doing damage on the Steelers defense. When Cleveland reached the red-zone, Brissett threw his second touchdown pass, this one to David Njoku; however, the extra point was missed and the score was 13-7 with 8:58 left in the half.

No one was prepared for a shootout, but the Steelers took the football and rode Najee Harris down the field on the next drive. Throw in runs by Jaylen Warren and Diontae Johnson receptions and it set up a 1st and goal situation. On 2nd down, Mitch Trubisky kept the football and ran the ball into the end-zone for the score.

QB1 @Mtrubisky10

#PITvsCLE on @NFLonPrime pic.twitter.com/pzvwfKuPD7

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 23, 2022

The Chris Boswell extra point was good, giving the Steelers the 14-13 lead with 3:50 left in the second quarter.

It looked as if the Browns were moving into scoring territory, but on a 4th and 2 on the outside of field goal range, a pass intended for Amari Cooper fell incomplete after video review. Trubisky moved the ball quickly into Cleveland territory, but the drive ended without points, keeping the score 14-13 at halftime.

To start the second half the Steelers moved the ball into Cleveland territory, but when it looked like they were on their way to adding to their point total, penalties resulted in another Pressley Harvin punt.

Brissett and company continued to rack up the yards against the Steelers’ defense, but, again, when the field shortened the defense stood tall. The drive resulted in a field goal, making the score 16-14 Browns, with 2:31 left in the third quarter.

After a Pittsburgh three-and-out, the Browns offense moved steadily down the field. They grinded out a 6-minute drive which resulted in a Nick Chubb touchdown to extend the Cleveland lead. Following the extra point, the score became 23-14 with 9:28 left in regulation.

The Steelers posted three straight three-and-outs after the Cleveland touchdown, and it took the urgency of the two-minute offense to get the offense moving. Big passes to Pat Freiermuth moved the ball into Cleveland territory with ease, but the drive resulted in nothing more than a Boswell 40-yard field goal. It made the score 23-17 with 1:48 remaining in regulation.

Boswell’s ensuing onside kick was unsuccessful, leaving Cleveland with the football and the Steelers only one timeout. It wasn’t enough, and after the Steelers’ lateral game ended in a fumble in the end zone, the final score read 29-17.

The loss moves the Steelers record to 1-2 on the season as they have an extended layoff before hosting the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium in Week 4. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the regular season.

Ahkello Witherspoon leaves game in 3rd quarter, ruled out

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 9:38pm
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Steelers cornerback has left with a hamstring injury

Pittsburgh Steelers continue the square off against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. Towards the end of the third quarter, starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon left the field with a hamstring injury. Per Steelers Senior Director of Communications Burt Lauten, Witherspoon has been ruled out for the rest of the game.

#Steelers CB Ahkello Witherspoon is out the rest of tonight's game with a hamstring injury.

— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) September 23, 2022

In the game, Witherspoon had five tackles and a pass defensed through almost 3 quarters. With Witherspoon out, Levi Wallace looks to step in to Witherspoon‘s role on the Steelers defense.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Pittsburgh Steelers attempt to come out of Cleveland with a victory on Thursday night.

Steelers vs. Browns, Week 3: 3rd quarter in-game update

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 9:32pm
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the gridiron! See what is happening during the team’s late game.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

To start the second half the Steelers moved the ball into Cleveland territory, but when it looked like they were on their way to adding to their point total, penalties resulted in another Pressley Harvin punt.

Brissett and company continued to rack up the yards against the Steelers’ defense, but, again, when the field shortened the defense stood tall. The drive resulted in a field goal, making the score 16-14 Browns, with 2:31 left in the third quarter.

Following a Steelers three-and-out, the Browns had the football to end the third quarter...

Steelers vs. Browns: Second-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 8:46pm
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2022 season continues with the Steelers and Browns locking horns in Week 3. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the third time in the 2022 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Cleveland Browns.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

Steelers vs. Browns, Week 3: 2nd quarter in-game update

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 8:39pm
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the gridiron! See what is happening during the team’s late game.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

The Steelers, aided by a 37-yard one-handed catch by George Pickens, moved the ball to the 4-yard line at the end of the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Najee Harris ran over a Browns defender on his way to a rushing touchdown. The Boswell point-after was good, making the score 7-7.

The Browns’ offense took the field after the Steelers tied the game, and they moved the ball with ease. This time, instead of Nick Chubb, it was Kareem Hunt doing damage on the Steelers defense. When Cleveland reached the red-zone, Brissett threw his second touchdown pass, this one to David Njoku; however, the extra point was missed and the score was 13-7 with 8:58 left in the half.

No one was prepared for a shootout, but the Steelers took the football and rode Najee Harris down the field on the next drive. Throw in runs by Jaylen Warren and Diontae Johnson receptions and it set up a 1st and goal situation. On 2nd down, Mitch Trubisky kep the football and ran the ball into the end-zone for the score. The Chris Boswell extra point was good, giving the Steelers the 14-13 lead with 3:50 left in the second quarter.

It looked as if the Browns were moving into scoring territory, but on a 4th and 2 on the outside of field goal range, a pass intended for Amari Cooper fell incomplete after video review. Trubisky moved the ball quickly into Cleveland territory, but the drive ended without points, keeping the score 14-13 at halftime.

Steelers vs. Browns, Week 3: 1st quarter in-game update

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 7:50pm
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the gridiron! See what is happening during the team’s late game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns entered the Week 3 Thursday Night Football game in Ohio facing similar circumstances. Both entered the game 1-1 and coming off losses in Week 2. The Steelers losing to New England Patriots and the Browns losing to the New York Jets, both losses at their respective home venues.

For the visiting team, the story was all about the team’s offense. Mitch Trubisky faced a critical juncture of his time with the Steelers, and if the offense didn’t start to produce points it could lead to changes following the prime time game.

Cleveland won the opening coin toss, and elected to start the game with the football. After just one first down, the Browns punted the ball away to give the Steelers their first possession of the game. Mitch Trubisky and the offense matched the Browns first down before Pressley Harvin was called on to action.

When the Browns were forced to punt on their second drive, Miles Killebrew got a hand on the punt and the Steelers started with field position at midfield. The offense was able to move into Chris Boswell’s field goal range, but on a windy night the 50-yard attempt sailed wide right.

The Cleveland offense woke up with the good field position, and it was Nick Chubb who set up the offense after a 37-yard run moved the ball to the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Brissett hit Amari Cooper in the end-zone for the first touchdown of the game. After the extra point, it was 7-0 Browns with 2:54 left in the first quarter.

The Steelers, aided by a 37-yard one-handed catch by George Pickens, moved the ball to the 4-yard line at the end of the first quarter.

Steelers vs. Browns: First-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 7:00pm

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2022 season continues with the Steelers and Browns locking horns in Week 3. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the third time in the 2022 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Cleveland Browns.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

Steelers have identical inactive list from last week vs. the Browns

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 5:47pm
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

With a practice squad elevation earlier in the day, the Steelers have the same six players inactive in Week 3.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released their inactives for their Thursday night matchup with the Cleveland Browns. Due to no players being ruled out due to injury, the list is made up of all healthy scratches. With new roster rules which began in 2020, teams will only need to have five players inactive each game unless they elevate any players from the practice squad. With the elevation of Delonate Scott coming from the Steelers earlier today, the six-man list comes courtesy of Steelers.com.

Steelers Inactives

No. 2 QB Mason Rudolph
No. 53 G Kendrick Green
No. 82 WR Steven Sims
No. 92 DE Isaiahh Loudermilk
No. 93 LB Mark Robinson
No. 96 LB David Anenih

For five of the six players, this is the third-straight game being on the inactive list. The new player to the list last week was outside linebacker David Anenih who was added to the Steelers 53-man roster from the Tennessee Titans practice squad ahead of their Week 2 game. Having to be signed to the active roster when coming from the practice squad of another team, it’s understandable the Steelers decided to elevate Delontae Scott and have Anenih inactive after only getting two practices last week and only one this week with such a quick turnaround on Thursday night.

With the Steelers only having two quarterbacks active on game day, it’s not surprise Mason Rudolph is on the inactive list for the third-straight game. Carrying nine offensive linemen, the NFL rules allow 48 players to be active as long as eight of them are on the offensive line. Therefore, the additional lineman who is inactive for the Steelers in Week 3 once again is guard/center Kendrick Green.

Because the Steelers have six wide receivers all healthy and available, it is too much of a luxury to have them all active on game day. Although some may want to see him in return duties after the mishap last week, Steven Sims is not on the active game-day roster for the third-straight week.

One position group the Steelers have kept on their 53-man roster is having seven defensive linemen. With the Steelers only typically having five defensive linemen active on game day in previous years, they have chosen to go with the six again in Week 3. For this reason, Isaiahh Loudermilk did not get a helmet for the third-straight week to start the season.

Another position on the defense where the Steelers possibly have one more player than needed on game day is at inside linebacker. For the third-straight week, rookie Mark Robinson is inactive.

As for the Browns inactives, they can be seen below courtesy of Steelers.com. The Browns elevated tight end Miller Forristall and wide receiver Chester Rogers earlier today, therefore their inactive list has seven players including former Steelers linemen Chris Hubbard and Joe Haeg.

Browns Inactives

No. 8 QB Kellen Mond
No. 12 WR Michael Woods II
No. 25 RB Demetric Felton
No. 39 S Richard LeCounte III
No. 59 T Joe Haeg
No. 74 T Chris Hubbard
No. 90 DE Jadeveon Clowney

Who is the Steelers’ X-Factor in Week 3 vs. the Browns?

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 4:00pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Who is the X-Factor for the Steelers in their Week 3 game vs. the Browns?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Cleveland Browns in Week 3. It is the Steelers’ second road game, and, hopefully their second victory.

When looking at the matchup between AFC North foes, there are players who can be viewed as X-Factors.

What is an X-Factor?

I would describe an X-Factor as a player who can truly alter the outcome of the game, single-handedly. Not just a plug and play type player, but a player who always has to be accounted for, no matter what.

As a clear-cut example of what an X-Factor player would look like, think Troy Polamalu. Polamalu’s skill set made him a force to be reckoned with on every play. So, who are the ‘X-Factors’ for the Steelers Week 3 game vs. the Browns?

Let’s take a look...

Jeff Hartman

X-Factor: Najee Harris

Why: The Steelers fan base has been quarterback bashing for the last week or so, and that is understandable considering the play of Mitch Trubisky. However, if I’m going to narrow my focus on one player, not a unit, which can impact the game on Thursday night in Pittsburgh’s favor, it isn’t the quarterback.

No, it’s the running back, Najee Harris.

If the Steelers want to be successful against the Browns they need to control the clock. In other words, they need to run the football. Harris’ game in Week 2 vs. the New England Patriots was a mixed bag. There was a sign of the burst he showed as a rookie, but he also missed some glaring holes which could have gone for big gains.

Chalk it up to knocking the rust off all you want, but in Week 3 it is time for the man who was the team’s top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to prove he is more than just a cow bell back, but a game-changing running back. Get Harris going, and watch the Steelers beat the Browns for the third straight time.

Dave Schofield

X-Factor: Minkah Fitzpatrick

Why: There are multiple reasons why Minkah Fitzpatrick is the biggest defensive X-Factor for the Steelers on Thursday night. First, he’s got a takeaway in each of the Steelers first two games. If he can continue that trend, it will help the Steelers offense out immensely. Additionally, the Browns are averaging 28-points a game through two weeks. With everything said, Fitzpatrick is often the last line of defense. Even with T.J. Watt out for several more weeks, the Steelers have another player who could potentially be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. If Fitzpatrick keeps up his stellar play, it’s good news for the black and gold.

Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 3 game Thursday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Who is the Steelers’ X-Factor in Week 3 vs. the Browns?

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 4:00pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Who is the X-Factor for the Steelers in their Week 3 game vs. the Browns?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Cleveland Browns in Week 3. It is the Steelers’ second road game, and, hopefully their second victory.

When looking at the matchup between AFC North foes, there are players who can be viewed as ‘X-Factors’.

What is an ‘X-Factor’?

I would describe an ‘X-Factor’ as a player who can truly alter the outcome of the game, single-handedly. Not just a plug and play type player, but a player who always has to be accounted for, no matter what.

As a clear-cut example of what an ‘X-Factor’ player would look like, think Troy Polamalu. Polamalu’s skill set made him a force to be reckoned with on every play. So, who are the ‘X-Factors’ for the Steelers Week 3 game vs. the Browns?

Let’s take a look...

Jeff Hartman

X-Factor: Najee Harris

Why: The Steelers fan base has been quarterback bashing for the last week or so, and that is understandable considering the play of Mitch Trubisky. However, if I’m going to narrow my focus on one player, not a unit, which can impact the game on Thursday night in Pittsburgh’s favor, it isn’t the quarterback.

No, it’s the running back, Najee Harris.

If the Steelers want to be successful against the Browns they need to control the clock. In other words, they need to run the football. Harris’ game in Week 2 vs. the New England Patriots was a mixed bag. There was a sign of the burst he showed as a rookie, but he also missed some glaring holes which could have gone for big gains.

Chalk it up to knocking the rust off all you want, but in Week 3 it is time for the man who was the team’s top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to prove he is more than just a cow bell back, but a game-changing running back. Get Harris going, and watch the Steelers beat the Browns for the third straight time.

Dave Schofield

X-Factor: Minkah Fitzpatrick

Why: There are multiple reasons why Minkah Fitzpatrick is the biggest defensive X-Factor for the Steelers on Thursday night. First, he’s got a takeaway in each of the Steelers first two games. If he can continue that trend, it will help the Steelers offense out immensely. Additionally, the Browns are averaging 28-points a game through two weeks. With everything said, Fitzpatrick is often the last line of defense. Even with T.J. Watt out for several more weeks, the Steelers have another player who could potentially be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. If Fitzpatrick keeps up his stellar play, it’s good news for the black and gold.

Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 3 game Thursday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Steelers elevate Delontae Scott off the practice squad again for Week 3

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 2:48pm
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

It will be the second-straight game Scott is set to appear with the Steelers in 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a quick turnaround for Thursday Night Football in Week 3. With no players currently which an injury designation for the third-straight week, the Steelers have once again elevated one player from the practice squad in outside linebacker Delontae Scott.

We have elevated LB Delontae Scott from the practice squad to the Active/Inactive roster. @BordasLawhttps://t.co/KcdkwTPgYL

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 22, 2022

Last week, the Steelers signed outside linebacker David Anenih off of the Tennessee Titans practice squad. With two other options from their own squad to elevate on game day, the Steelers are adding Scott for the needed depth. Only getting two practices last week after being signed and only one official practice this week due to playing on Thursday, the Steelers are taking their time with Anenih before putting him on the field.

Scott spent the 2021 season on the Steelers practice squad and was elevated for one game against the Los Angeles Chargers. In the game, Scott played seven defensive snaps and two special team snaps but logged no statistics. During the 2022 preseason Scott played 75 snaps on defense for the Steelers over three games where he had five tackles and a sack. Last week, Scott played seven defensive snaps against the New England Patriots but did not get on the stat sheet.

With the elevation of one player from the practice squad, the Steelers will once again have six players inactive. The Steelers must announce their inactive players 90 minutes ahead of kick off, which will be approximately 6:45 PM today.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as the Steelers are set to take on the Brown in Cleveland at 8:15 PM.

The BTSC Delorean: Looking back at the most memorable Steelers at Browns contests

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 2:00pm

BTSC takes a look back at the series history between the Steelers and Browns.

Do the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers have a long and storied history? Absolutely. The rivalry dates back to 1950 and started off 32-9 in favor of the Browns in the first 20 years. But since 1970, Pittsburgh has dominated the series 70-29-1. Despite the recent success of the Men of Steel, the Browns continue to be a challenge to the Steelers every single season. This week, BTSC only takes a look at the games that took place in Cleveland.

Here’s a brief tale of the tape:

Points: Steelers 2,950, Browns 2,719

Wins: Steelers 79. Browns 61

Home Record: Steelers 50-22, Browns 39-29

Shutouts: 9 (Steelers 5, Browns 4)

Steelers 31, Browns 0 (12/28/2008), Steelers 41, Browns 0 (12/24/2005), Steelers 43, Browns 0 (9/12/1999), Steelers 35, Browns 0 (12/23/1990), Browns 51, Steelers 0 (9/10/1989), Steelers 30, Browns 0 (12/3/1972), Browns 24, Steelers 0 (11/10/1957), Browns 28, Steelers 0 (12/9/1951), Browns 17, Steelers 0 (10/21/1951)

Biggest Win Margin: 9/10/1989 - Browns 51, Steelers 0

Closest Game: 09/09/2018 - Steelers 21, Browns 21

Overtime Games: 7 - Steelers 5, Browns 1, 1 Tie

Postseason Record: Steelers 2, Browns 1

November 22, 1959 - Steelers 21, Browns 20

The 1959 Browns were a team looking for their fourth NFL Championship of the decade and as winners of five straight looked to be a team that could do it again. Especially with eventual Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown leading the league for the third straight year as the NFL’s Rushing Champ. The Steelers, competitive in the Buddy Parker era, came in to Cleveland Municipal Stadium at 3-4-1 looking to establish hope for the future. Behind Tom Tracy’s two second quarter touchdowns, the Steelers took a surprising early lead. But the juggernaut Browns stormed back with three Milt Plum to Ray Renfro touchdown passes. Late in the contest, Bobby Layne reeled off a 72-yard run and added his third extra-point of the afternoon for a 21-20 lead. But the Browns had one more possession and the soldiers to march down the field and walk-it-off as time expired. But the legendary Lou “The Toe” Groza”, who uncharacteristically shanked an extra-point and was unsuccessful on a 46-yarder earlier, missed the game-winning field goal from 49-yards out as time expired. The loss dropped the Browns from first place and they ended up winning only one more time to go 7-5. The Steelers won again the next week, and twice in their last three games, to finish a respectable fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 6-5-1 mark.

October 10, 1964 - Steelers 23, Browns 7

There once was a time, before the Super Bowl era, when the Browns were the toast of the league and the Steelers were door mats. On a dreary October day in Autumn of ‘64. the heavily-favored Browns hosted their rivals from the Keystone State on a sloppy playing surface. 80,530 fans were in attendance in Week 5 to watch their undefeated gridiron heroes trounce their black-and-gold visitors. But legendary coach Buddy Parker used the poor field conditions to his team’s advantage and feasted on the ground to the menu of an NFL season high that year of 354 rushing yards, 200 courtesy of 35-year-old John Henry Johnson. The future Hall of Famer scored all three Steeler touchdowns on the day. Pittsburgh would ultimately only win two more games that season and Cleveland would go on to win the NFL Championship, but the bragging rights on that day belonged to the Men of Steel.

October 7, 1979 - Steelers 51, Browns 35

With the Steel City in an absolute frenzy with the Pirates just days away from the 1979 World Series, the defending champion Steelers were in a battle for first place in the division, the 4-1 Steelers went into Cleveland Municipal Stadium to face the 4-1 Browns for AFC Central supremacy. The Steelers finally had their starting offensive line quintet of Jon Kolb, Sam Davis, Mike Webster, Gerry Mullins and Larry Brown finally intact and healthy for the first time all season.

It looked like the day would be one of an absolute drubbing when the Browns fumbled on their first series and Dennis “Dirt” Winston’s recovery led to Terry Bradshaw connecting with Benny Cunningham on seven-yard scoring play. a punt set up a TB12 TD pass to Sidney Thornton, a Steelers stop of the Browns at the six and Don Cockroft’s subsequent miss of a 23-yard field goal made possible Franco Harris’ gallop of 71-yards for a score and a Dino Hall fumble led to Jim Smith hauling in a pass for a 27-0 lead (Matt Bahr missed the point after) in the game’s first 16 minutes. But the Browns had plenty of fight in them. Brian Sipe was excellent in this game though and got the Browns on the board with a 33-yard scoring toss to Reggie Rucker on play action. The Browns got down to the one right away again, but Donnie Shell intercepted Sipe to end the threat. Late in the half, Cleveland’s punter Johnny Evans surprised the Steelers with a fake and a first down to give Sipe another shot, which he converted into points on a TD pass to Ozzie Newsome. But every time their rivals got momentum, Pittsburgh squashed it. This time with a field goal right with seconds before the half to make it 30-14.

In the final 30 minutes, the Steelers went back to the ground game and Franco reached the end zone from 25 yards away. Then Sipe and Calvin Hill collaborated on a 4th and 14 for a touchdown and a 37-21 score at the conclusion of three. After Rocky Bleier cruised 70 yards to paydirt, the longest run of his career. The Steelers came up empty after Mike Wagner’s second pick of Sipe and then a few series later, Greg Hawthorne’s fumble led to a Cleveland run on points. Dave Logan caught a 13-yard scoring pass and then, after a swerve on the onside kick with Randy Rich kicking instead of Cockroft to cross-up the Steelers allowing the recovery, Logan did it again with a one-handed grab from 30 yards away to close-in at 44-35 with 9:10 left. The fired-up Browns and their fans were feeling it and it seemed like they would come back, but Bradshaw and company marched 94 yards in a 15-play, drive draining 8:34 off of the clock. Sidney Thornton capped off the drive with a one-yard burst to put out the Browns fire for good.

Sam Rutigliano’s team was a worthy opponent riding on the arm of Brian Sipe (351 yards, 5 TDs and 3 INTs) and amassing 688 total yards, but the Steelers piled up 611 of their own, including an extraordinary 361 yards rushing with Franco gaining 153, Thornton going for 98 and 81 from the Rock. Pittsburgh may have had World Series Fever, but the Steelers continued to prove their winning to be epidemic.

October 26, 1980 - Browns 27, Steelers 26

The Steelers, winners of eight consecutive games against Cleveland, stunted their division foe’s playoff hopes in 1978 and 1979. In a battle of two 4-3 teams, the Cardiac Kids were feverishly trying to catch their tormentors and turn the corner in the AFC. Two Greg Hawthorne scoring runs coupled with a pair of Matt Bahr field goals were instrumental in the Steelers taking a 13-point lead in the third. But the Browns would erupt after. Quarterback Brian Sipe’s touchdown passes to Calvin Hill and two to Greg Pruitt got the Browns to within six points of the visitors from the Steel City who only scored once in that barrage (Sidney Thornton’s two-yard plunge), but Brian Sipe iced the comeback with an 18-yaerd scoring pass to the incredible Ozzie Newsome. This game would serve notice to big brother Pittsburgh that little bro meant business in the 1980’s.

November 23, 1986 - Browns 37, Steelers 31 (OT)

1986 was a trying year for the Steelers as the Browns, not only won for the first time in Three Rivers, but swept the Steelers for the first time in 17 years. However, the Steelers fought valiantly in this contest and scored on the game’s first drive, that included a Mark Malone to Louis Lipps 44-yard hookup, that Walter Abercrombie capped-off with a one-yard TD plunge. The Steelers defense held birthday-boy Bernie Kosar and the Browns scoreless in the first quarter when a penalty wiped out a touchdown on a brilliant second-effort from Kevin Mack. The very next play, Brian Hinkle intercepted Kosar and appeared to have an 89-yard pick-six, but No. 53 was deemed down on the catch. It was the second quarter when the AFC Central leaders got on the board, but it wasn’t easy. Mark Harper’s interception of Mark Malone put the Brownies on the doorstop, but Kosar again threw the ball to the wrong Jersey, but John Swain’s theft was wiped out the turnover. The home team finally scored courtesy of Mack and Curtis Dickey’s short touchdown runs, but Abercrombie’s 38-yard jaunt tied it at 14. Getting the ball back before the half, Kosar’s then put the ball in the air to Ozzie Newsome for a 20-yard hookup for a 21-14 lead. The Browns were barely able to take that lead into intermission despite Lupe Sanchez’ 58-yard kick return because Gary Anderson’s field goal attempt went wide.

In the second half, the Steelers matched every score. Two Mark Malone one-yard scoring runs bookended a Curtis Dickey four-yard score, followed by Matt Bahr and Anderson trading field goals to make it 31-31 at regulation’s end. The clock struck midnight on the black and gold at the 7:38 mark in overtime when Bernie Kosar launched a 36-yd bomb to sensational rookie Webster Slaughter (6 catches for 134 yards). Chuck Noll’s Steelers battled to the end, but Kosar’s 414 yds and two touchdowns were enough to drop the Steelers to 4-8 on the very tumultuous season.

November 14, 2004 - Steelers 24, Browns 10

Ohio-native Ben Roethlisberger got his first-ever of many professional wins in the Buckeye State to remain perfect and win his seventh-straight to start his career despite being threatened by Cleveland defensive lineman Gerard Warren beforehand. But the real story of the game wasn’t Big Ben or Jerome Bettis’ 103 yards with two touchdowns attached, it was the emergence of James Harrison. During pregame warmups, Joey Porter bloodied the lip of Browns running back William Green in a pregame skirmish leading to both players’ ejections. Harrison, forced into emergency duty, had six tackles and one of the Steelers four sacks in the 24-10 triumph that raised our heroes in hypocycloid’s record to 8-1.

September 9, 2007 - Steelers 34, Browns 7

Mike Tomlin’s very-first, regular-season game of his illustrious career was very one-sided. If you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, then your side was the one that celebrated. Ben Roethlisberger threw (a then career high) four touchdown passes to four different targets, (Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth), while Willie Parker dashed for 109 yards. The defense was stifling by forcing five turnovers and sacking Cleveland QBs on six occasions. Tomlin received the game ball for his first, career victory, but in typical Coach T. fashion said to ESPN, “This win is not about me. This is the story of the 2007 Steelers.”

November 14, 2019 - Browns 21, Steelers 7

I don’t want to include this game in here, but it sure is infamously memorable. This will go down as a horrendous loss for the Steelers and even more career-crippling for Mason Rudolph who threw four interceptions and was sacked four times, but that wasn’t the most-embarrassing part of this debacle. The entire Steelers roster looked terrible in front of a Thursday Night audience in Cleveland, as the offense couldn’t get anything going and the defense didn’t do much to stop Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb and company. But this game will always be remembered for the despicable ending when Myles Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and proceeded to hit him over his exposed head with said cranial protective gear. A fight ensued, fines and suspensions were levied. nasty accusations were thrown about later to try and save face and football received a black eye. Make that a sore skull.

EXPERT PICKS: Experts see an uphill battle for the Steelers on the road

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 12:30pm
Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Time to check in and see who the experts like in Steelers vs. Browns Thursday in Week 3.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns are slated to face off in Week 3 of the 2022 regular season, and there are a lot of narratives between these two teams. For the Browns, they are trying to show they can win with Jacoby Brissett at the helm while Deshaun Watson continues to serve his suspension. On top of that, the Browns are trying to beat the Steelers for the first time since 2020. As for the Steelers, they turned the page to a new quarterback, and a new era of Steelers football, and it hasn’t been smooth sailing thus far. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the team, and there remain huge question marks surrounding the team heading into the regular season.

For those who follow the current betting lines, the Steelers opened as 3.5-point road underdogs, and, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, that line has changed since the opening line this weekend. The line has gone all the way to Browns -5.5, and is now set at Browns -4.0.

(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)

At this point, it is time to check in and see who the pundits, who call themselves experts, like in this showdown in Cincinnati this Sunday.

The vast majority of websites, everywhere from ESPN, FOX Sports and even the haters here at SB Nation are pretty split on the game between the Steelers and Browns. There are those who are leaning towards Cleveland at home, and very few expert panels who are leaning the Steelers’ way. It’s to be expected when the Steelers have been struggling on offense and have to take their show on the road with a short week. For the sites who pick with the spread, most are taking the Steelers to cover.

Those are sites where people just check a box on a website and move on with their lives. However, there are some who spend more time pouring over these picks, and provide some analysis than just a winner and loser.

This from John McKechnie of Rotowire:

This is a far cry from last week’s Chiefs-Chargers Thursday nighter but hey, it’s still football. Both of these teams are coming off of rough Sundays; Cleveland forgot how to play defense against checks notes Present Day Joe Flacco and the Jets while Pittsburgh’s offense is clearly still in search of its identity in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era. This line has moved two full points in Cleveland’s direction since Sunday while the total is down 2.5 points. Pittsburgh’s offense does look woeful, but trusting Jacoby Brissett to cover nearly six points on a short week – even against a T.J. Watt-less defense – is too much for me.

Spread Pick: Steelers +5.5

The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer had this to say about the upcoming Thursday night game:

The Steelers are getting below-average QB play from fill-in Mitchell Trubisky before they decide to turn to rookie first-rounder Kenny Pickett. The Browns are seeing Jacoby Brissett play well while they wait for Deshaun Watson. Nick Chubb has been the driving force of the offense and can succeed vs. Pittsburgh’s front seven. Trubisky, a Cleveland native, won’t be able to generate enough points in a hostile road environment.

Pick: Browns win 20-17 but fail to cover the spread

CBS Sports NFL writer Pete Prisco’s thoughts on the upcoming game:

The Browns are coming off a terrible home loss to the Jets, while the Steelers did little on offense in losing to the Patriots. These division road games can be tough on a team on a short week. But the Browns haven’t looked great so far this season. They will win it, but it’s close.

Pick: Browns 24, Steelers 23

As for the New York Times, they like the Steelers getting points on the road.

The Browns lost a heartbreaker to the Jets, who made an improbable comeback Sunday. But Cleveland had looked capable for three and a half quarters, especially in the running game, which was led by Nick Chubb’s three touchdowns (though he probably wishes he had that last one back).

Pittsburgh struggled against the Patriots’ rushing attack Sunday, and the Steelers’ offense has put up only two offensive touchdowns so far, leading fans to chant for the backup quarterback Kenny Pickett to replace Mitch Trubisky. Weather in Cleveland could be cold and wet Thursday night. There’s a reason this is the lowest total this week. In a low-scoring game, half-points are all the more valuable.

Pick: Steelers +4.5

As for the “experts” at BTSC, and I use that term extremely loosely, here are our game picks for the Thursday Night Football game in Week 3 both Over/Under, and vs. the spread.

These are just a few sites who make weekly NFL picks. When you think about all those sites not listed above, this is when we turn to our friends at NFL Pick Watch, a site dedicated to tracking NFL expert picks by the week. They take all expert picks and put them into an easy-to-read graph for fans to enjoy. When it comes to the Steelers vs. Browns game, 59% of NFL experts like the Browns to hold serve and win on Thursday night.

What do you think about the upcoming game? Will the experts have it right? Or are they way off? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Browns in Week 3.

Predicting the Steelers’ inactive list for Week 3 vs. the Browns

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 11:00am
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

No players have been ruled out due to injury once again, so the choices of who does not get a helmet Thursday night should look familiar.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading to Cleveland on a short week. As the season rolls on, the true nature of the depth chart has come a little more into focus. So for Week 3, trying to predict who the Steelers will have on their inactive list at 6:45 PM Thursday should be much more predictable. Or will it? Regardless, I’m still going to give it a shot.

The rules in the 2022 season when it comes to the players active on game day have been carried over from the last two seasons. As long as a team has eight offensive lineman who will be dressing for the game, they could have 48 players on their active roster rather than the 46 in previous seasons. If the Steelers elevate any players from their practice squad, their inactive list would increase by the same number of players. Until the Steelers announce an elevation, we will assume it is only five players but will adjust the projection if necessary.

Game Status

No players with an injury status

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Browns on Thursday:

Definitely:

None (No players have been ruled out)

Most Likely:

QB Mason Rudolph- While change at the quarterback position is not out of the question as the season moves on, it’s unlikely to involve Rudolph for the time being.

WR Steven Sims- Unless the Steelers are making a change at the kick returner position, Sims stays on the sidelines with all other wide receivers healthy.

LB Mark Robinson- Barring a change in health or something else unforeseen, Robinson is likely to get a red-shirt season.

G Kendrick Green- The Steelers starting ofeensive line played every snap last week, so the only difference between Green and the other reserve lineman is that he’s not in uniform.

DT Isaiahh Loudermilk- After two games, the Steelers have established their order on the defensive line. And with rookie the DeMarvin Leal playing well, Loudermilk will continue to wait for his opportunity in 2022.

Possibly:

OLB David Anenih- Just like last week, this will come down to if the Steelers elevate a player from the practice squad. With only getting in two practices last week and one this week, it’s highly possible they do so again to give Anenih a little bit more time to get acclimated.

Unlikely:

WR Gunner Olszewski- Although the Steelers could make a change and have Steven Sims as their returner, I don’t know if one play is going to make the difference this early in the season even though it was a pretty big one.

Projected Inactive List:
  1. Mason Rudolph
  2. Steven Sims
  3. Mark Robinson
  4. Kendrick Green
  5. Isaiahh Loudermilk
  6. David Anenih*

With only one actual practice this week, I’m projecting another elevation from an outside linebacker, most likely Delonte Scott. That announcement would come later today. For that reason I’m including Anenih on the list but would be the guy to get the helmet if the Steelers don’t make a move. As for the other five, the only one that there was a remote question would be if the Steelers made a change at kick returner. But for anyone following the Steelers for any length of time, making a change like that this early in the season will likely come down to more than just one play.

As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.

Bold and Bizarre predictions for Steelers at Browns

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 10:00am
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Much to the chagrin of most, BTSC’s Nostradumbass predicts the Steelers’ matchup vs. Cleveland

The Pittsburgh Steelers, in somewhat disarray, travel to Cleveland for a prime time battle with the Cleveland Browns. With inquiries, story lines, and more, I’ve compiled a list of predictions (some basic, and some utterly idiotic) to look for in this challenging road contest.

For those new to the article I sometimes come close, but ultimately whiff on most of my predictions. Let’s see if I can get lucky this week.

  • Art Rooney II, proving that he is a man of the black-and-gold people, travels to Cleveland and challenges Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslem to the famed Teenage Dirtbag Challenge on TikTok. The challenge features adults sharing photos of their bad haircuts, questionable clothing styles, and awkward poses. Haslem wins in a landslide.
  • Since the Chiefs don’t play until Sunday in Indianapolis, Boujee Smith-Schuster surprises the team with an inspirational speech, challenges the Dawg Pound to a fight, and humps a cardboard cutout of Bernie Kosar.
  • Known for his chugging ability, Mitch Trubisky attempts to down a quart of Melt Bar and Grilled’s famed sandwich the Parmageddon in smoothie form. The Parmageddon is a grilled cheese sandwich with potato pierogies, butterry sauteed onions and slaw. As always, a change of jersey and underwear is necessary.
  • Trubisky goes 24 for 41 and 182 yards. The Steelers QB1 throws one touchdown, and is intercepted twice.
  • Pat Freiermuth leads the team with 9 catches on the evening, including Mitch’s only touchdown pass on the day, To celebrate, No. 88 and his fellow tight ends Zach Gentry and Connor Heyward perform the perfect Charlie’s Angels pose to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the debut of the Aarron Spelling classic on ABC.
  • Najee Harris gains 57 yards on the ground and 36 as a receiver out of the backfield, as the offensive line continues their improvement.
  • The Steelers get three sacks on the evening despite the absence of T.J. Watt. Malik Reed, Larry Ogunjobi, and Alex Highsmith get it done.
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick and Cam Sutton pick off Jacoby Brissett.
  • The rushing defense can’t keep Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt from running wild, surrendering over 150 yards on the ground.
  • The Steelers get four field goals from Chris Boswell field goal and only one touchdown on the night, but unfortunately this also marks the 18th anniversary of the debut of another ABC series, Lost. The Steelers go down 26-19.

Will any of this actually happen? I’ll bet at least one or two. Heck, maybe every one of them. Be sure to post your predictions — basic or bizarre — below.

The ugly history of the Steelers’ recent trips to Cleveland

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 9:00am
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

From fights to close defeats, Mike Tomlin’s team has hit a brown bump in the road.

Some sports rivalries are far less competitive than the grandeur and long-standing tradition might indicate. Examples that come to mind of one team traditionally dominating are Bears-Packers, Cubs-Cardinals and Dodgers-Padres.

It feels like Steelers-Browns should be on that mantle, right? Ben Roethlisberger went 26-2-1 in his career against the intra-division opponent that famously neglected to draft him in 2004. The Steelers have six Super Bowls and are atop the pantheon of stable NFL franchises, while the Browns have just two playoff appearances this decade and a list of quarterbacks/head coaches that rivals the signing of the Constitution.

In recent years, however, the tide has begun to turn orange.

Within the last seven meetings (including playoffs) between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, the Steelers hold a 4-3 advantage over their Ohio nemeses. That’s a stark difference between the prior run, in which the Browns won just one of 13 contests.

Cleveland hasn’t left Pittsburgh victorious in the regular season since 2003; aside from the infamous 2020 playoff meltdown, the Steelers haven’t had to be too anguished over protecting home turf. Where things shift, though, is along the shores of Lake Erie.

In its last four matchups in FirstEnergy Stadium, Mike Tomlin’s team has gone a measly 1-2-1. Let’s briefly break down that quartet of games.

The Steelers opened the 2018 season in Cleveland in what figured to be an easy win, as the Browns had just completed a 1-31 stretch. However, the home squad erased a 21-7 lead courtesy of six turnovers and 116 penalty yards from the black and gold. 77 rushing yards from Tyrod Taylor, nearly a career high, lifted the Browns to a tie that was, effectively, a stunning upset.

2019 may have been the most notorious of them all. Like this year, this game was played under the primetime lights of Thursday Night Football, and sans Roethlisberger at that. Mason Rudolph tossed four interceptions, and Randy Fichtner’s offense accumulated only 236 total yards in an altogether boring game — that is, until the final 15 seconds.

With the Steelers attempting to obtain some momentum entering the following week, Rudolph was dragged down late by Myles Garrett, spurring one of the wildest fracases we’ve ever seen in sports. Garrett was ultimately suspended indefinitely for swinging Rudolph’s own helmet at his bare head (but reinstated that following February), while current Steeler Larry Ogunjobi was suspended two games. Full circle indeed.

In 2020, Rudolph was given a shot at vengeance. Pittsburgh couldn’t improve beyond its No. 3 playoff seed, so Tomlin rested Roethlisberger, T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward and more in Week 17. The Browns looked firmly in control with a 24-9 advantage with most of the fourth quarter remaining, but Rudolph answered with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown pass to Chase Claypool. Then, with one last shot, Rudolph marched Pittsburgh down the field again, finding JuJu Smith-Schuster for six — but the game-tying two-point conversion was unsuccessful. The Browns clung to a 24-22 win, securing a playoff berth for the first time in 18 years. The rest is history.

That brings us to last season, in which Roethlisberger made his last ever start against the Browns as a visitor. The Steelers amassed 370 total yards and had zero turnovers, but the team generated only 15 points, largely because of an injury to Chris Boswell on a botched extra point. Consequently, Pittsburgh had to go for two on each of its two touchdowns.

In classic fashion, No. 7 won the game on a fourth-quarter, 83-yard drive in which the quarterback connected with Pat Freiermuth on fourth and goal to give the Steelers the lead for good. Keith Butler’s defense came up particularly clutch, stripping Jarvis Landry inside the red zone and breaking up a fourth-down pass. A 50-yard link between Roethlisberger and Diontae Johnson iced the game, preserving a black and gold win.

Of note, two of the four aforementioned games were not started by Roethlisberger. As such, the Steelers won’t be in unchartered territory when Mitch Trubisky takes the opening snap today (whether he finishes the game is, admittedly, a different question).

These four games have been chock full of zany plays, unbridled chippiness and air-tight football. More specifically, the combined score of Pittsburgh’s games in Cleveland since 2018 is actually 76-65 Browns.

Tomlin and Co. have had their share of eventful, draining games in The Land in recent memory; it’s clear that the Browns take pride in performing well against the Steelers, their overpowering kryptonite for so long. If history is any harbinger, Thursday night should provide an encore: yet another spirited, close affair between two AFC North rivals in dire need of a win.

STAFF PICKS: Predicting the winner of Steelers vs. Browns

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 8:00am
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The staff at BTSC share their thoughts and predict the outcome of the Steelers game against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3.

The 2022 regular season is in full tilt, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Cleveland Browns in Week 3. While the Steelers get ready for their second road game of the season, it is time for the BTSC staff to put on their prognostication hats and guess the winner of the contest.

Who will get closest? We will be keeping tabs, so let’s get the picks. Check out the staff picks below:

Jeff Hartman

I think I’ve predicted this score, or something similar, every week of this 2022 regular season. And I’m going to keep picking it until it hits! I think this is a game, much like Week 1, where the difference is the defense. I expect the defense to set up the offense in a myriad of ways. Providing short fields, taking the ball away and possibly even adding to the point total.

Either way, I think back to Week 2 and how if the offense had just an ounce of productivity the Steelers win that game. I think they have that ounce of productivity, even on a short week, and make enough plays to win. Steelers win, and head into the ‘mini bye’ feeling better about themselves at 2-1.

Pick: Steelers 23, Browns 17

Dave Schofield

Thursday games are awful for the road team. There’s not much time for the Steelers to get things turned around with the offense from Week 2. I see one scenario where the Steelers just come out and look like a different team and put up a bunch of points. I also see another scenario where the Steelers offense looks even worse and a change at the quarterback position is made at halftime. Unfortunately, the more likely scenario I see is where the offense looks even worse and the Steelers refuse to make the change. It will cost them.

Pick: Browns 13, Steelers 9

Bryan Anthony Davis

This team is in disarray. Everybody is playing the blame game or the coach is playing the “everything is okay” card. Nobody is willing to compromise. It can’t be fixed on a short week.

Pick: Browns 27, Steelers 19

K.T. Smith

Logic says the Steelers should lose this game. Their offense is in disarray, their defense will be challenged against the league’s best rushing attack through two weeks, and worst of all, there seems to be some internal dissention brewing. None of that is encouraging on a short week.

Then again, logic dictated the Steelers would lose on the road to Cincinnati in Week 1 and would come home to beat a middling Patriots team in Week 2. Neither happened. What brings me to this:

What do we say to the god of logic?

Not today.

Pick: Steelers 20, Browns 17

Geoffrey Benedict

The Steelers need a bounce back game, and facing the Browns has historically been a great place to get the Steelers focused and fired up. But this isn’t Ben Roethlisberger and his 26-2-1 record against Cleveland. And while Mitchell Trubisky won his only game against the Browns so far, it isn’t at all the same, and this is a Thursday night game on the road. Which favors the home team and teams that run the ball well...

But it’s still Steelers vs. Browns and I refuse to pick the Browns, no matter what my brain says is the most likely outcome.

Pick: Steelers 24, Browns 13

Rich Schofield (Big Bro Scho)

There is trouble in paradise. I know that the offense has sucked the first two games, but now you have players taking sneaky swipes at the coaching decisions...that’s never good for any reason. The defense will play hard and strong, but they will still be spending too much time on the field and will wear down in the 4th quarter again. The offense continues to show it’s ineptitude, and the Steelers lose another game they easily could have won.

Pick: Browns 21, Steelers 20

Shannon White

The Steelers have yet to prove that they are capable of winning a game without T.J. Watt's dominating presence. The Steelers ferocious pass rush is anemic without their superstar pass rushing edge. The Steelers potentially dominant defense is merely solid without him. The Steelers need to take a page from Brian Flores aggressive playbook and apply maximum pressure on the Browns offense, including dialing up plenty of run blitzes. Slow down Nick Chubb and the Browns running game, and make Jacoby Brissett try to beat you through the air. If he does, tip your hat to the man. The Steelers lack of continuity and execution on offense is alarming, and it's doubtful they addressed the plethora of issues considering the short week. Finally, Thursday night road games are brutal on the visitors.

Pick: Browns 20, Steelers 13

Jeremy Betz

The Steelers are a mess on offense and less potent on defense heading into a division matchup on a short week. That’s tough. However, the Browns come into this game short handed on defense with Clowney on IR, and Myles Garrett also banged up. It all equates to an ugly game and an ugly score, but the healthier team often comes out on top on a short week, and this week, the healthier team is Pittsburgh. In this situation, I trust Tomlin to right the ship enough to pull out a win.

Pick: Steelers 23, Browns 20

Bradley Locker

I have almost no faith in the Steelers’ offense to sort things out on a short week, so I’m expecting much of the same pitiful, hard-to-watch unit we’ve seen thus far. However, that doesn’t mean Pittsburgh can’t win. With new center Ethan Pocic and guard Joel Bitonio banged up, look for the Steelers’ interior defensive line to wreak havoc and attempt to stop Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt runs before they gain major yardage. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see multiple mistakes from Jacoby Brissett. I think the Steelers, much like in Week 1, win the turnover battle and generate just enough stops to leave Cleveland with a victory in a hideous game.

Pick: Steelers 23, Browns 21

Kyle Chrise (What Yinz Talkin’ Bout)

I’d predict that this is the game where Steelers Nation becomes insufferable over the state of the offense, but I think we’re already there. This is AFC North football: ‘nuff said. ANY GIVEN SUNDAY THURSDAY. The only safe prediction is to throw out your predictions. That being said...

Pick: Steelers 12, Browns 10

Anthony Defeo

The Browns might be coming off an epic collapse and a gut-wrenching home loss to the Jets in Week 2, but the Steelers remain the Same Old Steelers, complete with a pathetic offense that has averaged 15 points per game through two weeks after averaging 20.2 in 2021. I certainly don’t anticipate Matt Canada scheming up anything provocative during a short week—he couldn’t even do that over an entire summer. As for the defense? It’s missing T.J. Watt, which is the say, it’s missing its essence, its libido, its life force, what the French call a certain...I don’t know...Watt? The Patriots had success rushing the ball against Pittsburgh in Week 2, to the tune of 124 yards. I look for the Browns, with an even better rushing attack, led by running back Nick Chubb, and a superior offensive line to New England’s, to physically dominate the Steelers on the ground, especially on a short week, when it might be easy for Teryl Austin’s battered and tired unit to quickly look for a soft place to land.

Pick: Browns 27, Steelers 10

What is your prediction? Let us know in the comment section below, and feel free to tell the contributors above why they are dead wrong, or spot on!

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Steelers at Browns

Thu, 09/22/2022 - 7:00am
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Who to start and sit from the Steelers matchup this week.

I think it’s time for a re-evaluation for some Steelers fantasy assets based on what we’ve seen from the Offense so far in 2022. Things could change again if the offense shows growth, but for now, here’s an updated Najee Harris seems to be a little rusty to start the season, and that has led to low-end RB2 results through two games. I’d expect him to get better as he gets rolling, but for now, temper expectations for 22.

As for the WRs, Diontae Johnson gets demoted to high-end WR3 as long as Mitch Trubisky and the offense struggle to gain traction in the passing game. Until we can see some consistency out of Chase Claypool, he should not be in your lineups. The same should be said for George Pickens, who has yet to be involved in any substantial way in the offense.

At TE, Pat Freiermuth should still be started as a low end TE1 with the ability for more. His role should remain more stable than the rest of the skill position talents even as the offense evolves throughout the season.

Here’s hoping we see some improved performances out of the Steelers offensive playmakers against Cleveland on Thursday. Here’s how I see the Fantasy players from each squad stacking up on Thursday night.

NOTE: Because this matchup is on Thursday Night Football, there will be no DFS Value Pick this week.

MUST START

RB: Nick Chubb

Chubb will be used and used a lot against Pittsburgh on a short week with a suspect passing game led by Jacoby Brissett. He needs to be in your lineup.

START

RB: Najee Harris

WR: Diontae Johnson

TE: Pat Freiermuth

D/ST: Steelers

K: Chris Boswell

The draft capital you spent on Harris means you start him, albeit with tempered expectations as I wrote above.

Diontae should be a viable starting option based on volume alone in this matchup, especially in PPR formats.

Pat Freiermuth just needs to be in your starting lineup if you have him. He’s getting plenty of looks, and as we saw last week, he’s going to get those valuable Red Zone targets.

The Steelers Defense should be able to create some splash against the Browns. This is a bit of a projection, but I think the Steelers will be able to pressure Brissett better than they did Jones, and maybe that produces a big turnover.

Boz is automatic. What more do you want?

FLEX

RB: Kareem Hunt

WR: Amari Cooper

Hunt gets a ton of valuable touches in the passing game and in the Red Zone. He’ll get plenty enough work to warrant a flex play, although the Steelers have been much stingier against opposing RBs so far in 2022.

The Steelers are quietly giving up big games to opposing WRs, and Amari Cooper is coming off a big day against the Jets. Cooper has a chance to really pop this week, although he will be keyed on by the Steelers secondary with Cleveland’s relatively inconsequential supporting cast at Wideout.

SIT

WR: Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Donovan Peoples-Jones

TE: David Njoku

D/ST: Browns

K: Cade York

The three wide-receivers above are part of less-than-stellar offenses, and for now are just not consistent enough to be considered start-able options with the plethora of receiving talent in the league to work with.

The Browns defense is going into this matchup potentially severely undermanned with Jadaveon Clowney already ruled out and Myles Garrett less than 100%. If Garrett can’t go, it’s hard to find anyone else to create splash.

I don’t expect the Browns to be in scoring position a lot, and that will limit York.

There you have it. Just remember, if you heed my advice and it goes well, I’ll own it! But if it goes south…that’s on you, friend.

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