“If it weren’t the Browns, this team would have lost.”
“They will have to prove it against a better team Thursday night.”
“This team just isn’t that good.”
While some of the above comments certainly may be true, you could ask every player and coach in the Steelers organization if they would like to apologize to anyone because they beat the now 0-11 Cleveland Browns.
Think you would get any responses? Nope.
In the NFL, it is a week to week league, and they are all professionals, but what transpired on the shores of Lake Eerie on Sunday was a performance worthy of a victory.
The first half was a dominant effort by the offense, powered by Le’Veon Bell, who racked up almost 100-yards rushing in the first half alone. A team who, in poor weather, was able to consume the clock and put points on the board, when points by both teams would be at a premium. When the offense sputtered in the second half, it was the defense who stood tall and made the game-clinching play to win the game. It showed the stars on the team playing like everyone expects. Lastly, it was a road win, but more importantly, a road win against a sub-.500 football team.
Say what you want, but this very would could be considered a “get right” game for the Steelers, and could spur them on to bigger and better things. The defense did what they should, sacking Cleveland passers 8 times in the game. Players like Stephon Tuitt, Arthur Moats, James Harrison, Mike Mitchell and even Artie Burns put their stamp on the game through either sacks, hard hits or turnovers created.
Offensively you saw a very safe game plan, most likely due to the weather, but the brunt of the plan was placed on Bell’s back, and he carried it like an All-Pro should. Antonio Brown made plays when necessary, and Ben Roethlisberger, although with modest statistics, played a good game.
Ultimately, this comes down to expectations. Leading up to this game I asked everyone I could who is a Steelers fan, “Does it matter how they win on Sunday vs. Cleveland?” The resounding answer was “No...just win.”
I agree 100-percent.
It only took one win.
One win to end the 4-game losing streak. One win to move the team back to .500. One win to put them back in the driver’s seat in the AFC North, and one win to start a new streak, but of the winning variety.
The Steelers got that win, and it shouldn’t matter who it came against, or how it was delivered.
The Steelers are now 5-5, and while that isn’t sexy, it is a step in the right direction. Next up? The Indianapolis Colts on Thanksgiving night.