PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Sunday was going to be the day that the Browns were going to let the world know that they were for real. They were going to come into Pittsburgh and leave winners of five straight.
Instead, it was another lesson in the resurgence of Pittsburgh Steelers football.
“It comes down to respect,” said tailback James Conner who rushed for a game-high 101 yards and a touchdown. “We just want our respect.”
“Really excited for our group, that was varsity ball today,” said head coach Mike Tomlin, who added that they played well against a hot team.
Steelers allowed one of 12 on third down after allowing 71% against the Eagles last week.
“I thought they answered that challenge well and emphatically today,” Tomlin said. “It was necessary to slow down a dangerous Browns attack, one that had been ringing up a bunch of points per game.”
Steelers also held the best rushing attack in the NFL to 75 yards.
“The front seven did a great job,” said safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who had a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter. “This week it was real important. That’s what their offense is based off of. Our defense did a great job of shutting them down and putting them in third and long.”
Steelers finished with four sacks and seven quarterback hurries and held Baker Mayfield to 119 yards passing and the two interceptions. The second one by corner Cameron Sutton.
On offense, Ben Roethlisberger said it felt like they didn’t do much in scoring 31 points. Roethlisberger threw for 162 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown to James Washington. Ben said it felt like the Bill Cowher and Jerome Bettis days though, the way they were able to run the ball in the second half to close out the game.
Steelers ran it eight straight times in the third quarter after a 4th and 1 stop of Cleveland at the Browns 28 in what ended up a 3 yard Chase Claypool touchdown taking 5:03 off the clock.
Next drive, after another fourth down stop, Steelers ran for 31 yards and on third down Roethlisberger hit Claypool for a 23 yard gain and Benny Snell ran it in from one yard out. That was 5:35 off the clock and a 38-7 lead.
The offense also had no turnovers against the team that had forced the most in the league.
“It’s our first AFC North game, we wanted to play good football,” Roethlisberger said. “We wanted to do it in all phases. I don’t know the last time I came out of a game with eight minutes to go, so that’s a good feeling.”
So the Steelers are 5-0 and what is likely the most predictable quote from the Steelers head coach.
“We are not into statements,” Tomlin said. “We’ll let you guys make the statements. We’ll just lineup and play against those that we are scheduled to play against, and they were next.”
“We appreciate all the sacrifice that everybody is making in an effort to keep that ball rolling, man, and it just needs to continue.”
After four straight at home, Steelers have three in a row on the road including AFC playoff teams Tennessee and Baltimore.