TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Cleveland Browns At Pittsburgh Steelers

Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers
(credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Quarterback
It has been another difficult year in Cleveland, but they have gotten production from the quarterback position. Whether it has been Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer or Jason Campbell, all three have demonstrated their ability at given moments. Campbell has gotten the call throughout the second half of the season, and he has been fairly accurate throughout his time under center.
Winner The Steelers needed a near-miraculous confluence of events to stay alive in Week 16 and they got what they needed. Much of the credit must go to Ben Roethlisberger, who has completed nearly 65 percent of his passes. Roethlisberger is strong enough to shake off potential tacklers and wait until the last second before launching the ball downfield.
Offense
Winner The Browns will go into the offseason knowing that they have found a true superstar at the wide receiver position in Josh Gordon. He has excellent balance and run-after-the-catch skills, and he gives the Browns a major threat from anywhere on the field. Jordan Cameron is a complementary receiver at the tight end position. The Browns must find a viable running game before the start of next season.
The Steelers know that if they are going to have a chance to recapture their glory, they are going to need a viable running game to help Roethlisberger. Mike Tomlin believes that rookie Le’Veon Bell can handle the responsibility in the future. Antonio Brown has turned into an explosive wideout who can get downfield. Jerricho Cotchery has been a surprising TD maker this season.
Defense
Winner The Browns have been a fairly solid defense this season, as they have been in the top 10 against the run and the pass. However, they have given up key plays in the fourth quarter and that is going to have to change. Middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson is the team’s best tackler, while rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo is a good pass rusher who should only get better.
Winner The Steelers still have a decent defensive identity, but they are no longer the effective unit they have been in the past because many of their key players have gotten older and slower. Strong safety Troy Polamalu fits this description, and his losing gambles have hurt the Steelers. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons is the team’s best tackler.
Special Teams
The Browns have gotten decent punt and kickoff coverage this season, and they have also gotten the occasional big play from their return specialists. Placekicker Billy Cundiff has been decent, but he is not comparable to former Cleveland placekicker Phil Dawson.
Winner The Steelers have done a decent job on special teams this season, and they have been especially effective on punt coverage. Brown’s speed has made him a viable threat returning punts this season. Shaun Suisham has been remarkably effective as the Steelers’ placekicker this season.

The Winner Is

Winner Pittsburgh Steelers
3 out of 4

It’s still a long shot to make the playoffs, but the Steelers are still alive. They will not end the season by losing on their homefield. Look for a big game by Roethlisberger.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Tale Of The Tape: Best Picks Of Tomlin/Colbert Era

    Joe Starkey and Chris Mueller drafted the best picks of the Tomlin/Colbert era with the Steelers.

  2. Nigel Williams-Goss #5 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs reacts after a play in the second half against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. Kennedy Meeks #3 and Justin Jackson #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels react in the second half against the Oregon Ducks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.
    NCAA Championship Tale: 1 Gonzaga Vs. 1 North Carolina

    Gonzaga and North Carolina are set to square off in the NCAA Championship. Let’s break down the matchup.

  3. Joel Berry II #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels handles the ball in the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 26, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. Tyler Dorsey #5 of the Oregon Ducks reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 25, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.
    Final Four Tale: 1 North Carolina Vs. 3 Oregon

    North Carolina and Oregon are set to square off in the Final Four. Let’s break down the matchup.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App
KDKA Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE