The Pittsburgh Steelers were embarrassed on national television in Week 11 when they lost 21-7 to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. There was certainly some injury to insult as the team saw JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, Diontae Johnson, Ola Adeniyi and Artie Burns all leave the game with injuries.
Already short-handed, the Steelers stumbled their way through four quarters of play before the brawl with 8 seconds left in the game stole the spotlight from such a horrid performance by Pittsburgh.
But not everything was negative. For this, the fine folks at Pro Football Focus produced some instant reactions from the game. Plenty were bad, but there were some bright spots as the Steelers’ record dropped to 5-5 with six games left on the schedule.
See what they had to say:
Mason Rudolph turned in an ugly performance on Thursday Night Football. He had multiple turnover-worthy plays and missed several other throws. He completed just 23-of-44 passes for 221 yards, one touchdown and four picks on the night.
Mark Barron had one of his worst games of the season against Cleveland. He was a complete liability in coverage and missed multiple tackles on the night. He also allowed the touchdown reception to Browns rookie tight end Stephen Carlson in the fourth quarter.
Both Cameron Heyward and Bud Dupree had strong outings against the run, but neither Steelers defender made an extremely positive impact as a pass-rusher.
Positive marks for Heyward and Dupree are worthy of that distinction, as are the negative marks for both Rudolph and Barron. What might have been dismissed, and understandably so after so much went wrong on Thursday night, was the Steelers’ dismal short-yardage offense.
The Steelers failed on multiple 3rd, and 4th, and short situations throughout the game, and it seemed as if offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner had lost all confidence remaining in the running game to the point where he had an empty offensive set in a short yardage situation. Then again, there were so many blunders during the game PFF could have done about three pages of negatives on the Steelers.
What were some positives for the Steelers after Week 11, outside of Heyward and Dupree? Can you think of anything? Let us know 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 Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12.