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NFL: 5 Takeaways from Cleveland Browns' playoff win against Pittsburgh Steelers

Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
ANALYST
Modified 12 Jan 2021, 12:41 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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CLEVELAND BROWNS WON An NFL PLAYOFF GAME! Yes, that’s right these Browns are turning the page one at a time. Last week it was making it to the playoffs for the first since 2002. This week they took a step further, that too without having practiced the whole week, missing the head coach and Pro right guard.

This is what was expected of the Browns team last season, however all they deliverd was more disorder and chaos with first time head coach Freddie Kitchens at the helm. Baker Mayfield never looked comfortable in the offence presented by thim which led to the Browns yet again having a loosing record.

This time around however, unusual Rookie head Coach Kevin Stefanski has steadied the boat and brought lot of structure to the organization and last night’s game was a fine example of the same.

They not only managed to win the game without him but without having being able to practice for the majority of the week. Only having zooms meeting to set up the plan for the most important recent game for the franchise.

5 takeaways from Cleveland Browns' historic win over Pittsburgh Steelers


#1 Cleveland Browns Offense

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns

Through out the regular NFL season, Browns have been efficient in the red zone and have managed to put points on board when ever they have had the opportunity to take the field.

They were no different in this week NFL’s Wild Card playoff game. Whenever their defense took away the ball, Cleveland’s offense converted it into points to run away with the game within the first quarter of the game. They put up 28 points on board in the first quarter! Now that’s something no one expected.

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Steelers did play their part in helping them with field position from which they were able to convert for the point. However, you cannot take away any credit from Baker Mayfield, who was absolutely phenomenal taking his shots and reading the Blitzburg defense to the point. Doing so behind a offensive line which was lacking its starting pro bowl right guard. This offense can go toe to toe with any defense in the NFL.


2 Jarvis Landry came up big time

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns
Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns
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It was Jarvis Landry who started the revolution, He was seen on the Brown appearance on the HBO series Hard knocks. He instantly put the team on his back since he was traded to the Browns in 2018. He started the culture change for the Browns Franchisee which was very disgruntled and dysfunctional when he arrived.

He has been a vocal leader of the team and has backed it up with his play on field. Throughout his career he never missed a single game till he came into close contact with a Covid-19 person which ruled him out in the NFL week 16 game against the Jets.

He has been a constant for the team and for Baker Mayfield, it seems like he is his go to guy on 3rd downs. And boy does he help the team! One such play came on the first drive of this game when Browns needed a conversion on 3rd and 4 on a 3rd down. Not only did he make the catch but he took it to the house after making the catch. Which spring boarded Browns to an early 14-0 lead which swung the momentum in Browns' favor.


#3 Pittsburgh Steelers had an awful start

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Wild Card Round - Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
Wild Card Round - Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers

Right out of the gate Steelers looked unprepared in the NFL wild card game. On the very first play of the game, center Mick Pouncey snapped the ball way high above the quarter back which resulted in a touch down for the Browns right of the bat.

The mistakes kept on coming in the first quarter, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw 3 picks in the first half itself. This proved to be too heavy of a deficit to chip down. After Mick Tomlin decided to rest the starters for the NFL week 17 of the regular season, a lot of pundits were questioning his decision. The starters looked rusty and handed over the early momentum to Cleveland Browns.


#4 Browns Defense came up big

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns

All year, Cleveland browns defense, especially the secondary has been the big question. They were already running thin secondary and further suffered more when they had to place the Pro Bowl corner back Denzel Ward and Safety Ronnie Harrison on Covid-19/reserve list.

However, Browns didn’t let this set back take them down. Just like regular NFL season, they relied on the next man up on the Depth chart. In came M J Stewart, who played hard and didn’t let them miss Ward. He played with fire and came away with two takeaways which were turned into touchdowns by the Browns Offense.


5 Steelers impending rebuild

This steelers team went 11-0 till NFL week 11, then there seemed to be a stall, they lost back-to-back games. Throughout the regular NFL season, Steelers offense has lacked an effective rushing attack. In the last few weeks, the teams have been taking advantage of the lack of rushing attack by the steelers.

Couple that with an ageing quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger and this will put serious question on the Steelers as a team. With the salary cap issues looming and an ageing quarterback in their ranks, it might be time for the Steelers to look ahead and start thinking about the impending rebuild.

Published 12 Jan 2021, 12:41 IST
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