Playoff football is still a possibility in Pittsburgh after a 27-11 win over AFC North rivals the Cleveland Browns. The win moves Pittsburgh within two games of the Cincinnati Bengals at the top of the division and at 5-6 the Steelers are right in the middle of the melee for the final wildcard spot in the AFC. The main talking points from the game are as follows:
No. 1: Browns opening drive woes.
The Browns haven’t made winning games easy, this game was the 19th in a row in which they haven’t scored a touchdown on their opening drive. This puts pressure on the offense to always be coming from behind, and when your quarterback is Jason Campbell or Brandon Weeden it isn’t going to get any easier.
No. 2: D’qwell Jackson and Joe Haden are both still great.
Even though Haden got torched by Antonio Brown for a 41 yard touchdown, he is still a top five cornerback. Both he and Jackson suffer the same problem: they play for the Cleveland Browns. What I mean by that is they hardly get any media attention because the Browns don’t win many games, if they were playing for someone like the Patriots or Seahawks they would receive a lot more of the spotlight they rightly deserve.
No.3: Gordon and Cameron are also a great pairing.
Another duo that would benefit from being on a different roster, this time on the offensive side of the ball. Tight end Jordan Cameron is third in the league for receptions among tight ends, all with fairly below average quarterback play. Josh Gordon is a very talented receiver, with plenty of speed to cause issues to the best defensive units. Put someone like Peyton Manning as their quarterback and both would be having statistically huge seasons.
No. 4: Steelers defense finally forcing turnovers.
The Steelers defense really clamped down on the Browns and looked like a defense that we would usually associate with the Pittsburgh way of playing football, tough and aggressive. Jason Campbell was harassed all the time he was on the field up until he left the game after sustaining a head injury.
Then the Brandon Weeden show began, a questionable scramble led to a Troy Polamalu forced fumble, incidentally this was the first game of Polamalu’s career with two forced fumbles, I couldn’t believe that stat when I saw it. Then the pick-six in the fourth quarter to put the nail in the Browns’ season after the Baltimore Ravens also won this week.
No. 5: The Steelers are still in the playoff hunt.
I said it when the Steelers were 0-4 and I’ll say it again now, the Steelers are making the playoffs. Now at 5-6 for the season Pittsburgh are only two games behind division leaders the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers have one more game against each team in the AFC North, the result of all three will be crucial to all teams involved, except maybe the Browns who look done after this week’s performance.