Winners and losers: Steelers vs. Browns

The winners and losers of the Pittsburgh Steelers lost 29-17 to the Cleveland Browns Thursday night.

The winners

George Pickens – For what could end up being the catch of the year. Pittsburgh finally gave Pickens a chance to make plays, and he answered with a horizontal, one-handed absurd snag deep into the right sideline. One of the wildest you’ll ever see. Pickens’ production today far outstripped what he did in the first two weeks and it was nice to see him deliver his much-needed starting game.

He’ll say Pickens didn’t finish the game on a high note from there, a chance of a warm kick he went up for with one hand and a false start on the side kick, but it’s this play that will kick in the shade reel. Unfortunately, there weren’t many other highlights tonight.

Miles Cilibro / Miles Boykin – I want to shout out to the members of Special Team Miles for what they did tonight. Killebrew had a partial punt block that gave Pittsburgh a great fielding position, and the Steelers went strong after Brown’s gambler tonight, while Boykin had solid kick coverage. Boykin might end up making the Pro Bowl for what he’s doing this year.

James Daniels – The entire attacking line held up tonight, despite fading out a bit more in the second half, but Daniels held on positively. Daniels got a good boost in his running game. Overall, this group still has to go and finish, but I thought it did relatively well tonight. I didn’t get that front five for a red card in my first three games. This is…unexpected.

Devin Bush – It’s probably a bit relative to expectations and the running defense was poor overall, but it looks like Bosch played well tonight with a big stick on the goal line against Karim Hunt and kept clean in the running game while doing well as a dropper under the area. He finished the match with 11 tackles (six solo pieces). It’s been a good year for him. Better than it was.

Alex Highsmith – The rush of passes in Pittsburgh is still largely invisible, but Highsmith had a nice looking stat sheet tonight. He finished the day on 2 QBs, 2 TFLs, and 1.5 sacks. He’s been around the only guy close to QB in those last two games.

losers

Terrell Edmonds – Edmunds gave up two landings in the night, one for Amary Cooper and one for David Njoku. Both italicized with Edmund Late for reading and closing. He can step in but he’s still not instinctive enough and he’s always late reading the track or playing the ball out of coverage. Cleveland picked him in critical situations tonight.

Ahkilu Witherspoon – Tough night for Witherspoon, whom Amary Cooper cooked throughout the match. Cooper saved him by going out of bounds on a long run in hunting and jogging but nevertheless, Witherspoon struggled to beat him. He missed a hole tackle by Nick Chap, which led to a 36-yard pickup, and left the game late in the third quarter with a leg injury.

Third down offense – A third offense was only good for half of this season, the first half of week two, it was 1/6 in the middle of the fourth quarter. The best thing Pittsburgh in third did was avoid them in the first place but they couldn’t turn in those moments. The day ended 1/9, becoming 2/13 since the second half of the Bates game.

End of half of the offense – It’s tough points but in each of the past two weeks, the Steelers have had what it takes to drive a two-minute lead. Around the midfield with nearly 20 seconds left. Both games, Pittsburgh could not even line up for a field goal. Last week, Mitch Trubesky received a bad sack that finished the inning. This week, he missed it Wide Open Diontae Johnson along the right side line. A chance to steal points late and this is very important in close matches.

Deontay Johnson – Johnson did some nice snags along the sideline, but his third fall on a deep ball down the left sideline, a nice throw by Mitch Trubesky, passed into his hands. Johnson finished the day with two drops. Recipients say they want to play but can’t finish some crucial chances.

run defense – The Steelers’ front was gassed in the final quarter of this match but nonetheless they were trampled all over. Having made the Cleveland short of 100 yards in both meetings last year, despite their defense of the shocking run. There is no such luck tonight with Brown wearing the Steelers, and the day ends with more than 150 yards off the ground. Missed tackles, inability to get off the blocks, and let down, the Browns were the most dominant and physical team of the night.

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