(Pittsburgh, Pa) It was 1979 all over again, as the Pittsburgh Steelers wore throwback jerseys to honor the team that won their 3rd Super Bowl. They even had a Colquitt on the field, except it wasn’t Craig, who played for that ’79 Steelers team, but his son Britton who plays for their opponent, the Cleveland Browns. Only things missing: the entire ’79 Steelers team as well as the venue, which was Three Rivers Stadium.
What happened on the field of play was the same as 1979 as the Steelers manhandled the Browns 33-14 in front of 63,780 fans at Heinz Field. After tying the Browns in Cleveland earlier in the season and the emergence of rookie QB Baker Mayfield, there was the concern that the Browns would finally win a season series against the Steelers, something they haven’t done in years.
Not so said the Steelers as they recovered from a 6-0 1st quarter deficit to continue their mastery over the Browns.
“Didn’t start as fluidly as we would like. We accept responsibility for that, penalties and so forth.” Said Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin “But liked the resolve of the group and allowing our playing to unfold in spite of that.”
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger shook off an earlier interception to pass for 254 yards and 2 TDs, both of which went to WR Antonio Brown who also had 74 yards. Brown caught a 43- yarder and a 1-yarder against the Browns defense. But for the 3rd straight game, it was the play of RB James Conner who set the pace of the game as he rushed for a career-high 146 yards and 2 TDs along with 5 catches for 66 yards.
When asked about what changed after those first few drives, Conner responded “Just having patience. Things aren’t going to go our way the whole game. That’s why it’s four quarters. We just wanted to stay at it, stay focused and locked in. We knew the splash plays were on the way.”
The Steeler also overcame a special teams snafu when return man Ryan Switzer misplayed a free kick in which the Browns recovered. Most probably thought it was a punt in which the players call a ‘fair catch’, which FB Roosevelt Nix did, but it was a free ball. This took place after the Steelers got a safety when the Browns had a holding call in the end zone.
Tomlin’s thoughts on the special team error: “We screwed it up.”
The Steelers defense wasn’t too shabby either as they only allowed 18 points to Mayfield and the Browns offense. CB Joe Haden grabbed an interception against his old team and LB TJ Watt and DE Stepheon Tuitt each got sacks. Mayfield finished the game passing for 180 yards, 2 TDs and the interception.
Even though the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) won, the Steelers (4-2-1) remain in first place in the AFC North Division by beating the Bengals a few weeks ago. Plus, they have less losses than any team in the division. They must now prepare to travel to Baltimore to face the 4-4 Ravens who fell to the Carolina Panthers.
Tomlin Addresses the Squirrel Hill shooting- “Let me start by representing our organization and saying that our hearts go out to the victims of yesterday’s shooting. The Squirrel Hill community and the community of Pittsburgh at large. I am a member of the Squirrel Hill Community, personally and words cannot express how we feel as members of this community. We are prayerful.” When asked about if it’s a struggle for him and the team to harness their emotions, Tomlin replied “I probably live 800 yards from that church. Yes.”
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