The Cleveland Browns had no right even being in the football game in Week 11, but believe it or not, they found themselves right in the thick of things late in the second half. On second thought, this shouldn’t surprise many people considering how the Browns have played throughout the season and eventually collapsing in the second half when it mattered the most.
In this game, with blustery conditions, a handful of plays decided the outcome, and we are going to break them down for you in the latest edition of the Steelers Film Room.
Many will second guess Mike Tomlin’s decision to go for it on third and goal with 5-seconds left, but thanks to a Browns penalty they got a second shot at it. After another Browns penalty they had a third crack at it, and finally punched the ball into the endzone with Le’Veon Bell.
In my opinion, if you want to point to one of the main issues in the Steelers’ red-zone offense, you can point to a lack of running the football. This play depicts just how the offensive line is capable of getting a push when they absolutely need it.
If you can’t trust your offensive line to get you a yard, then the unit shouldn’t even be in the consideration as one of the best in the league. They were able to do just that and give Pittsburgh 6-points before halftime.
However, if you thought the drama was over there, think again. With the touchdown, the Steelers went up 12-0, and Mike Tomlin rolled the dice again, this time by going for the two-point conversion.
After going 0-4 against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10, the Steelers were able to convert on a nifty catch by David Johnson on a short crossing route.
A two-point conversion a game changing play? Absolutely. Those two points gave Pittsburgh a 14-0 lead heading into halftime, and they received the opening kickoff to start the second half. A huge gamble, but a huge momentum swing in the favor of the black and gold.
In the second half, with the offense still hitting the snooze button, the defense had to rise up and make a play. Leave it to Ryan Shazier on an inside blitz to create the chaos necessary to give Javon Hargrave his first fumble recovery, and his first touchdown.
As awesome as it was to see the player named ‘J-Wobble’ fall on the football in the endzone, this play is all Shazier. His speed and athleticism are what keep him in the play. McCown is still mobile for his age, and his first initial move would have deterred several defenders. When he looks “dead-to-rights”, Shazier is able to adjust and force McCown out of the pocket, where he catches up to the quarterback causing the turnover.
After that play, it was lights out for McCown and company. The Steelers win their 5th game of the year, and they mathematically eliminate the Browns from playoff contention. Whenever writing these articles I think of Joe Gibbs’ comment about how a handful of plays determine the outcome of a football game. In my opinion, the above plays are what turned the tide for the black and gold in Week 11.