CLEVELAND (93.7 The Fan) – Why didn’t the Steelers get the ball to Jaylen Warren more often? Mike Tomlin said it was the game they expected. What happened on defense at the end?
Here are some notes and quotes from the Steelers 13-10 loss to Cleveland Sunday.
9 not enough
Jaylen Warren had 129 yards rushing against the Browns, on nine carries. Given that he provided the team’s only touchdown and only splash play, does Tomlin regret not getting him more touches.
“I don’t,” Tomlin said. “When you’re unsuccessful, you can look back and make a lot of those types of judgments. We don’t live like that. We don’t live in our fears. We don’t second-guess. We live. I stand by whatever decisions, or play selections, or ball distributions we had today.”
On the final drive with 1:44 to play, the Steelers threw three passes and didn’t involve Warren in the run or even in the pass game. Kenny Pickett said you want to throw it and there isn’t time to run it. But he does agree with wanting Warren involved.
“We need to continue to give it to him,” Pickett said. “Whether it’s the pass game, the run game. The guy always makes plays. It’s awesome to have 30 in the backfield.”
The over/under was set at 34, which is a lower number in today’s NFL. Nothing about the game on Sunday really surprised Tomlin.
“Exactly the type of game we anticipated,” Tomlin said. “You’ve got a really good defense, in a hostile environment [and] they had a young quarterback, so we knew they were going to do some things to minimize his exposure to our defensive unit. They weren’t going to take a lot of risks, so we had to get stops the traditional way.”
“We just came up a play or two short, but that happens. That’s what happens when you compete in this league on days like today. We own that. We compliment them for doing enough to win.”
4th quarter DTR
There were times he struggled, but instead of Pickett leading the fourth quarter charge, it was Cleveland rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, in his second NFL game. Here was his final drive
· 15 yards to Elijah Moore (longer than any Steelers pass completion all game)
· 5 yards to Kareem Hunt
· 8 yards to Amari Cooper
· 11 yards to David Njoku
That put the Browns in field goal range and the Steelers wondering how to stop those quick passes.
“If he’s able to just convert five-yard throws all day that is an issue as well,” said Steelers TJ Watt. “Teams have been doing that this season and it's just a matter of stopping it, so they are not able to continue to do it. That’s the issue right now.”
“They were finding spot and we weren’t getting after them enough,” said linebacker Alex Highsmith. “We couldn’t get off the field. We got to be better. We have been good throughout the year, it wasn’t good enough this game.”
“That was the recipe the whole game. They are going to try to minimize exposure to the quarterback-screens, draws. We just have to be a little more ready for those moments.”
The third-year tight end activated off injured reserve and did play. He made one catch for seven yards.
“It was right where we wanted them, we felt comfortable at the end of the game,” Freiermuth said. “It just didn’t happen today.”
Second play of the second half, on a second-and-nine Warren took a flip, pitch from Pickett, got past Cleveland corner Greg Newsome and untouched the rest of the way for a 74-yard touchdown.
“Just a pitch, I saw someone come downhill,” Warren explained. “We always emphasize we got to make one guy miss. That happened, blockers did the rest. I just followed their blocks.”
It was the longest Steelers running play since Willie Parker in Super Bowl XL. It was the longest regular-season run since Parker’s 80-yarder in 2005.
“It’s frustration when you lose, but it’s learning experiences too,” said linebacker Elandon Roberts. “One good thing is right now we are in a good position. We can take this game and learn from it. It’s November football, so we have to learn quick.”