Steelers Postgame Commentary: Wild Card vs Browns
By COMON Network Team
Final Score – Cleveland Browns 48 def. Pittsburgh Steelers 37
The start of the 2020 Playoffs couldn’t have been much worse for the Steelers. When the final buzzer sounded, the Steelers were on the wrong end of the decision, and the Browns won their first playoff game since 1995.
On the first snap of the game, the snap from Maurkice Pouncey sailed over the head of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and was recovered by Karl Joseph in the endzone. The Browns would go on to score the first 28 points of the game. Jarvis Landry scored on a 40-yard pass from Baker Mayfield. Kareem Hunt ran it in from 11 yards out and eight yards out to complete that scoring run. James Conner scored on a one-yard rush in the second quarter with 1:44 remaining in the half. But the Steelers allowed the Browns to walk down the field and score on the ensuing drive to make it 35-7 on a Mayfield seven-yard strike to Austin Hooper. Chris Boswell’s 49-yard field goal made it 35-10 at the break.
The Steelers scored the only two touchdowns o the third quarter. Eric Ebron caught a 17-yard pass from Roethlisberger. The two-point attempt failed. Then JuJu Smith-Schuster scored on a five-yard grab. The score stood at 35-23. That is when the Steelers got a stop, got it back and nearing midfield, punted it away on the first play of the fourth quarter. Nick Chubb made the Steelers pay with a 40-yard catch-and-run score to push it to 42-23.
Chase Claypool’s 29-yard grab helped the Steelers cut it back to 13, but it didn’t last long, as Cleveland went right back down the field and scored on a chip-shot field goal to make it a 16-point game. Roethlisberger’s fourth INT sealed the Steelers’ fate. Pittsburgh added a garbage time score with a TD reception by Chase Claypool after which James Conner got in on a pass for two more. The Browns advance to play at top-seeded Kansas City next Sunday.
COMON Network Team Commentary
- A laugher. Even I was laughing by the end. Hard not to. And I don’t wanna hear “waaaah you’re not a real fan! Waaaah” because I guarantee I’m a bigger fan that 99% of people reading this. They sucked. In front of the world. I’ll put a few exceptions to the side. James Washington played hard. Jordan Berry punted as well as he could — even from the Browns’ 38 — down four scores. This was a laugher of historic proportions.
- History. Where does this rank as worst Steeler playoff losses under Mike Tomlin? Or ever? Denver comes to mind, both in 1997 and 2011. But those games were down to the wire. This was a laugher that turned into a game for a moment back to a laugher. If fans were there it would’ve been a boo fest that topped what we heard in the divisional loss against Jacksonville. The Steelers gave a sliver of hope. But that’s all it was. And it was only for a brief time.
- The big bad defense. Man, what a night to suck. An absolutely depleted Browns’ offensive line and that big bad defensive front didn’t even touch Baker Mayfield. All the credit in the world goes to those guys. Nick Chubb ran like a beast with wide open holes and Baker Mayfield had his time. Even when he didn’t have a lot, he made his plays. What a performance from the Cleveland offense. What’s that saying about defenses winning championships again?
Player of the Game: Cleveland Offensive Line
- Ben Roethlisberger was an embarrassment for the majority of the first half and I’m sure he’d tell you that. Maybe he already has by the time you’re reading this. Ben has beaten the Browns more than 20 times in his career and you can’t even count the number of losses to Cleveland on one full hand. But make no mistake about it, he was horrible in the first half. The snap isn’t his fault, but the three picks for the third time in his postseason career? Yea those are on him. The time for panic wasn’t when Pouncey’s snap sailed to the endzone. After one or two bad interceptions? Absolutely. That said he zipped it around in the second half. He should get credit for that, but not more credit than discredit for how it started.
- Mike Tomlin isn’t going anywhere, but there needs to be a scapegoat, or several scapegoats for this. For me, it’s both coordinators and beyond that, I’m not sure what else needs to be done. The team that wanted it more took advantage of every single chance it got. The team that wanted it more won the game. That’s embarrassing. Every person in that locker room should have to answer for this. Nobody is free of criticism tonight.
- That above note was written before the no-sense decision to punt to start the 4th quarter. That’s among the easiest decisions Mike Tomlin has ever had to make and he had the entire quarter break to make it. And he still got it wrong. It’s a 12-point game. There’s your game. They turned a blowout into a game and Mike Tomlin punted the game away.
- James Washington should get way more run than he gets. That guy is a baller.
- Where the hell was the NFL’s leading pass rushing unit tonight? They didn’t even hit Baker Mayfield tonight. Pathetic. Two All-Pro players on the field and another who got a vote.
- Say whatever you want about the Browns’ fan base but these fans deserve this. Gotta be one of the most loyal fan bases in sports given what the organization has put them through for the better part of the last 20 years. Good for them. Enjoy it. I don’t see the Steelers winning in the playoffs for a while.
Player of the Game: Nick Chubb (CLE)
- I mean, how much can I say about this that hasn’t been said already?
- This game is far worse than a typical playoff loss. The Steelers are not going to be good again for a while. The Browns are only getting better. The Ravens are the Ravens. The Bengals have a young stud at QB to build around. Be prepared, folks. The future is bleak.
- Mike Tomlin won’t be fired. Maybe he shouldn’t be. But he has a lot to answer for. This is the fourth-straight year that’s either ended in a playoff crash or a late-season collapse. Tonight, he got out coached by a team that didn’t have a head coach. It’s unacceptable. It’s pathetic, and it will only get worse from here.
Player of the Game: Nick Chubb (CLE)
- Here’s the deal. I could sit here and act like I know the X’s and O’s like an expert and point out things that cost the Steelers this game, but I’m not going to do that. The first half of this game was probably the most embarrassing 30 minutes of football I watched the Steelers play in my 22 years of existence.
- Now the 2nd half, just like two weeks ago against the Colts, was a completely different team. However, you absolutely go for it on that 4th and 1 at the beginning of the 4th quarter. The Steelers had every ounce of momentum at that point, and electing to punt killed about half of it. The other half went out the window when Nick Chubb scored on the screen pass on the ensuing possession. Again, I’m no coach, but I think punting there was a really dumb move.
- We talked time and time again going into this season about how good this defense for the Steelers is, and it was good at times. It led the league in sacks in turnovers. But for as good as that sounds, I think it got worse down the stretch. The Steelers gave up 100+ rushing yards in five of the last six games, 20+ points, and the Steelers lost the time of possession battle every time as well. The Steelers record in those six games? 1-5. While the poor offensive play is at blame for that mark, don’t let the defense off too easy either.
Player of the Game: Baker Mayfield (CLE)