Brown’s Belated Christmas Gift

Steelers 28 vs Browns 24 

 

Wow. I was not really looking forward to this game. Not because I thought the Steelers would easily beat the spread, but the only meaning it had was the sequestration of our players from injury.

The Cleveland Browns seemed to be TRYING to lose this game.. as if the #1 pick in the 2018 draft was at stake (it’s not).  Heartened as we were to observe just how deep our offense is, the defensive awfulness and why it hasn’t shored up some of its major weaknesses is scary.

Although Landry Jones has been vilified by some in Pittsburgh, he proved himself a capable backup (have you seen some of the starters on several other teams?!).  Stevan “The Riddler” Ridley has provided De’Angelo Williams-like depth at running back. The offensive line was shuffled around a bit and gave good protection (with the exception of  Chris Hubbard receiving an in-game transfer to center).

How about JuJu’s 95 yard kickoff return for a touchdown?!  The first since AB did it in his rookie year, 2010.  It was also the first time a player scored a TD off of a touchdown and kick return since the vaunted Gary “The Baller” Ballman demonstrated his gazelle-like capabilities in 1963.

 

Themes

  1. Steelers have solid offensive depth
  2. The defense is sorely deficient for this playoff run
  3. Cleveland is a suicidal team

5 Pivotal Plays

  1. Corey Coleman’s dropped pass
  2. JuJu’s 95 yard kickoff return for a TD*
  3. DHB revers for a TD
  4. Inability to score with 1st and goal from the Cleveland 4
  5. Miles Garrett roughing the QB penalty

*Gary Ballman

Gary Ballman,a star half back and wide receiver out of Michigan State, played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1962-1966, making the Pro Bowl in 1965 and 1966. On November 17, 1963 in a game against the Washington Redskins, Ballman returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Earlier in the game, he pulled in a 67 yard pass to score a TD.   It took 54 years before another Steeler scored TDs in one game off of a pass and a kickoff return.

Interestingly, although Ballman was not as prolific in receptions or total yards as his more recent star receivers, he does stand out in the number of yards he produced per reception.

 Gary BallmanHines WardAntonio Brown
Games578070
Receptions154330390
Yards 2,949 3,8885,259
Yards per reception19.1011.7813.48

This table compares the six seasons Gary played for the Steelers to the first six seasons of Hines and AB.

Grades

PositionGradeStatsGoodBad
OffenseB•348 total yards
•224 passing // 124 rushing
•3rd down: 3/10
•Red Zone: 1/2
•Couldn't score with 1st and goal from CLE 4 yard line
QBA-•23/27, 239, 1TD, 1 INT
•10 yard avg
•3 sacks
RBA•28car, 124 yards 4.4 ypc
•2 TDs
WRA+•16 rec, 209yds
•JuJu: 9/143 (46 long)
•Marty: 6/65 (17 long)
•JuJu: 9 rec / 10 targets
•Marty: 6 rec / 7 targets
O-LineA-•124yds rushing / 4.4 avg•Good protection•Difficulties with Hubbard at center
•3 sacks
•3 QBH
TEC+•4rec, 16yds
Mike TomlinB-•13-3 record
•Good offensive depth
•Defense - need to figure this out.
Tod HaleyB
Keith ButlerD-•The only guy sitting on D was Heyward and we still gave up 24 points to the Browns
DefenseD-•374 total yards
•272 passing / 102 rushing
•3rd down: 7/15
•6 sacks/42 yards
•10 QBH
•11 TFL
•Cleveland's suicidal tendencies
•Record for sacks in a season=56
•9 rushes > 4 yards
•8 passes > 15 yards
•2 passes > 50 yards
D-LineA•15 tackles
•3 sacks
•3 QB hits
•Alualu 2 sacks
•Good pressure on Kizer
ILBC•10 tackles
•1 sack
•3 QBH
-1 TFL
•Not containing screens
OLBD+•10 tackles
•1 sack
•2 QBH
•2 TFL
•Dupree didn't register a single statistic
•Lack of containment
CornerD-•12 tackles
•1 QBH
•1 TFL
•Will Gay dislodges ball on 32 yard pass to Johnson•Will Gay fell asleep on Rashard Higgins' 3rd qtr 4 yard TD
•Haden whiff on 34 yard Njjoku reception
•Dropped INTs: Hilton, Haden
SafetyD•4 tackles
•1 sack
•1 QBH
•1 TFL
•Davis INT
•Mitchell - fumble recovery
•Davis misses tackle of Rashard Higgins on 56 yard TD in 2nd half

 

We’ll be back next week to break down our first playoff opponent. Please join us!

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