Gridiron Report: Steelers Falter Against Browns in Thursday Night Prime Time

Written By Anthony Cugini, Sports Columnist

On Thursday the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns by a score of 29-17.

All week long there was talk about how Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator Matt Canada needed to open up the playbook and begin to pass the ball down field. Canada did just that, as quarterback Mitchell Trubisky made plenty of impressive throws while also rushing for a touchdown.

Despite the improvements in the passing offense, it certainly still had its issues. Steelers’ wide receivers dropped a couple of key passes which led to a tough second half for Pittsburgh. Diontae Johnson had the biggest drop as Mitchell Trubisky targeted him 30 yards down field on third down. Despite the pass from Trubisky being perfect, the ball went right through the arms of Johnson, which led to a punt from Pittsburgh.

All these issues with the offense surprisingly weren’t the biggest reason Pittsburgh lost in Cleveland. The rushing defense struggled greatly against Browns running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. 

Nick Chubb finished the game with 113 yards and a touchdown, while Kareem Hunt ran for 47 yards of his own. The constant and consistent running from Cleveland kept the Steelers defense on the field and tired them out fairly quickly. 

It’s hard for the offense to get any sort of rhythm when they’re not on the field for ten minutes at a time. Last week against the Patriots, the Pittsburgh defense was outstanding while the offense lacked behind. This past week in Cleveland, it was the opposite. 

If the Steelers can get both sides of the game to succeed at the same time, they could be pretty dangerous, no matter the opponent. Though this is much easier said than done. The talent is there. With players like Diontae Johnson and Najee Harris on offense, along with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Cam Hayward on defense, there’s no reason Pittsburgh can’t win some football games. 

Many Steelers fans will tell you it’s time for a quarterback change. They’ll say it’s time for first round pick Kenny Pickett to come in for Trubisky. They’d be wrong. Mitch Trubisky showed that he has what it takes to be the starting quarterback. He made some great throws and by no means was he the only part of the offense that was bad in the second half. All of these fans calling for Pickett only see one thing: a loss. A loss means changes need to be made and the most obvious change would be at quarterback. 

Pittsburgh will travel back to Pittsburgh to host the New York Jets in week four. The Jets are coming off of a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals after a miracle win against the Browns. Hopefully Pittsburgh can snap this mini losing streak against the sub-par Jets.