Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At Cleveland Browns
- QuarterbackThe Steelers are trying to play respectable football in the second half of the year and if they can find a way to improve their record, much of it will be due to the performance of Ben Roethlisberger. While the Steelers have struggled this year, Roethlisberger has been accurate in his passing and he can still shake off tacklers and make the throw to an open receiver.Jason Campbell has given the Browns everything they could want from a backup quarterback. While he does not have overwhelming athletic ability, he is smart and he reads defenses well. Campbell is an accurate short- to medium-range passer and he can keep his cool when getting pressured by the opposing pass rushers.
- OffenseThe Steelers are one of the few teams that have not tried to change their gameplan over the last few years. They still want to punish opponents with their running game, but that has not happened this year. Le’Veon Bell has not had a stellar rookie year, but if he gets decent blocking he can be a factor. Wideout Antonio Brown has been quite dependable this season.The Browns have had some fine moments this year and they have responded well to the accurate passing of Campbell. While the Browns don’t have much of a running game, wide receiver Josh Gordon has been a big-play performer who can blow past tacklers with his eye-catching speed. Tight end Jordan Cameron is a solid red zone target.
- DefenseThe Steelers have some issues on defense, but they are still a hard-hitting and effective unit in most games. The biggest issue for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is the lack of team speed that has impacted them from time to time. Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is one of the Steelers’ most dependable tacklers, while LaMarr Woodley is the team’s best pass rusher.The Browns have been consistent on defense all season and that’s one of the reasons they have been moderately respectable this season. Unlike the Steelers, the Browns do have the speed to stay with speedy opponents. Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has been the team’s best tackler all season while free safety Tashaun Gibson excels at breaking up passes.
- Special TeamsThe Steelers are hoping their special teams can put up a big play or two in the second half of the season. Brown certainly has the speed to break a long run. Placekicker Shaun Suisham has been dependable all year, but the Steelers are struggling with their punting.The Browns could have a big advantage in this game with their special teams because Travis Benjamin has already taken back a punt for a score and has come close with an 86-yard kickoff return. Billy Cundiff has done an adequate job, but he doesn’t have a great track record on clutch kicks.
The Browns feel like they can earn respect any time they can compete with the Steelers for 60 minutes. They appear to have a chance to do that here and get an important home win against a team that has tormented them for years. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor