Updated: Aug 21, 2021
Good Sunday morning everyone! The big game is finally here, and without further delay, I would like to share our Keys to the Game!
I know it may sound redundant at this point, but it is true...
1. Continue to run the ball!
Even without Nick Chubb, the Browns have a potent running attack spear headed by Kareem Hunt. Together with Johnson, and running behind what we consider to be the best line in football, we should dominate upfront. We must win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball to put ourselves in position to win this game.
The Steelers have the second ranked run defense in the league.
The Browns have the fourth ranked run defense in the league.
Cleveland have the number one rushing offense in football.
Pittsburgh has the eighth best rushing offense.
This game will be won in the trenches. Who can dominate on either the offensive or defensive line of scrimmage? That will be the game within the game that we need to watch. Whoever can establish the run, will have the upper hand in the passing game as well. The Steelers will get the ball out quickly to nullify Garrett in pass rush.
More Quick Stats
Cleveland has the 29th ranked passing offense...
Pittsburgh has the 19th ranked passing offense...
Cleveland has the 30th ranked pass defense...
Pittsburgh has the 15th ranked pass defense...
The passing games for both teams are not prolific, but they are spurned by their rushing attacks. A certain key to the game will be who can establish the run to setup...
Make them respect the run first, then keep them off balance.
Make everything look the same.
2. Baker Mayfield must be efficient.
Mayfield must get the ball out quickly and be decisive.
Avoid interceptions at all costs!
In a closely matched game such as this one, turnovers can certainly decide the difference. Ben has been prone to throwing picks in the past, but this year he has taken care of the ball, only throwing one interception so far this year offset by10 touchdowns. He has been efficient.
Versus Mayfield who has nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Mayfield must remain on time and in rhythm because when he improvises is usually when he gets into trouble. He must be decisive with the ball and make good decisions to keep the Browns in contention on Sunday.
3. Garrett and Ward must show up!
Combined, they need to make big plays during pivotal times in the game.
Garrett is having a Defensive Player of the year type of season. He has 6 sacks, but he has made game changing plays that have attributed heavily to the Browns 4-1 start. He will be challenged this week by getting to Ben to disrupt his timing, which will be difficult because the ball is out so fast. That is when Ward steps in. Because if he can make some plays in coverage, it can have a great influence on the game because the receivers will be covered and Ben has to hold on to the ball longer giving Garrett more time to sack him.
It will be important that the Browns make strong tackles and avoid giving up the big play. We also must stuff the rush consistently.
4. Make halftime adjustments
Avoid the third quarter lull.
The third quarter has been a problem this year. Stefanski must put his team in the best position coming out after halftime depending on the flow of the game. Adjustments are hard especially for a rookie head coach, but he has to get better at it as the season progresses because the way the Browns are playing, the games are only going to get more important as the season goes on.