Browns Struggle at Heinz Field in 33-18 Loss to Steelers
Written by Brandon Lewis on October 29, 2018
The Browns lost their 25th consecutive game on the road Sunday, falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-18 to put their record at 2-5-1 halfway through the 2018 NFL Season.
For quarterback Baker Mayfield, it was another tough outing for the rookie. Mayfield completed 22 of 36 attempts, but for only 180 yards, averaging just five yards per play through the air. He did throw two late touchdowns, but by that time the game was out of hand. Mayfield also tossed his sixth interception of the season, matching the number of picks he threw his senior year at Oklahoma. Overall, the Browns passing game never got started. The Browns targeted wide receiver Jarvis Landry 12 times, but he only caught eight of them for 39 yards, and that explains the whole Browns passing game Sunday. Everything was short and predictable, allowing the Steelers to play everything underneath and dare Mayfield to throw over the top. The Browns have to get more explosive plays in the passing game quickly if Mayfield’s numbers are going to improve.
The Browns running game still has not gotten going this season. So far, the pattern with rookie Nick Chubb seems to get hot early and cool down late which is the exact opposite you want from your starting running back. Chubb began the day with 10 carries for 50 yards, including a big 20 yard run early in the game. He finished with 18 carries for 65 yards, finishing with an average of 3.6 yards a carry. Duke Johnson only got two carries and gained no yards on those carries. The Browns need more consistency from Chubb, and more production from Johnson to take the pressure off Mayfield a little bit.
The Browns defense struggled for the second straight week, giving up 33 points to an explosive Steelers offense. Veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had never lost to the Browns at Heinz Field going into Sunday, and the streak continued with Roethlisberger having another brilliant game, throwing for 257 yards, including two touchdowns to star wide receiver, Antonio Brown. The Browns did force Roethlisberger into throwing an interception, but they did not capitalize on it offensively, so it did not hurt Pittsburgh. For the most part, Roethlisberger had all day to throw, the Browns sacking him only one time. The Browns have to get pressure on the quarterback to help their secondary out. When the quarterback has all day to throw, they march up and down the field on the Browns, and we saw that again Sunday.
Steelers running back James Conner had another tremendous game against the Browns, running for 146 yards on 24 carries. Whenever Conner wanted to, he could take the ball for an easy gain against the Browns interior. Jaylen Samuels also chipped in with 17 yards on four attempts. The Browns rushing defense has not been good all year as they rank 30th out of 32 teams against the run this season.
Next week, the Browns come back home to take on the high flying 7-1 Kansas City Chiefs with young stud quarterback Patrick Mahomes leading the phenomenal Chiefs offense into FirstEnergy Stadium.