Steelers Defense Smothering Against the Browns
We've been waiting for the Steelers defense to have a great all-around performance all season.
Their 38-7 victory against the Browns finally showed the game-changing ability that buoyed them to a surprising 8-8 season with a hampered offense.
The run defense was as advertised against the Browns, holding them to 75 yards on 22 attempts.
The pass rush got home to Baker Mayfield and later on Chase Keenum in this game, as they had all year.
Mayfield got sacked four times, and the pressure he faced from that near-unstoppable pass rush forced him into mistakes and incompletions in critical situations. When Keenum entered the game, he didn't fare much better.
The usual suspects showed up for the Steelers, but they showed massive improvements from other facets of defense that were an issue to begin this season.
The Steelers were fifth-worst in 3rd Down Conversions allowed to beginning the season. They shut the Browns down on 3rd, with the team allowing one conversion on twelve tries, a huge improvement to the 10 for 14 total allowed against the Eagles last week.
Consistent pass defense was another thing added to the Steelers repertoire. The Steelers are ranked in the middle of the pack in pass defense. They give up the most passing yards per completion.
While the Browns passing attack had some flashes, the Steelers would eclipse them with a few big plays.
Minkah Fitzpatrick had a 33-yard pick-six for the first Steelers touchdown and took the wind out of the Browns sails early.
Mayfield's second interception to Cam Sutton at midfield led to a touchdown on Offense, extending the lead to 24-0.
The Browns would score a touchdown offensively, but nothing, not even an ACL tear injury to Devin Bush, affected their relentlessness. Robert Spillane filled in nicely, blowing up a tight end screen to Austin Hooper with a ferocious tackle.
Their performance garnered comparisons by Tony Romo to that legendary 2008 Steelers defense that led them to their sixth Super Bowl win.
With some tough tests on the road next week, starting with the undefeated Tennessee Titans. It's a comparison they want to continue hearing.