Random Thoughts on Browns @ Steelers

Photo via Steelers.com/Karl Rosen

As fate would have it, I was only able to follow the score updates on NFL.com during the actual game. (It’s complicated.) But I did manage to watch the condensed version on Gamepass last evening, which it may interest you to know took 33 minutes total. There seems to be a lot of wasted time in a football game.

Which was, I guess, my first random thought. Here are some more, in no particular order:

Despite watching the condensed version and missing the vast majority of the commentary (and how sad that is, written in sarcasm font), I would be considerably richer right now if I had a dollar for every time they mentioned Le’Veon Bell. Get over it, people. We have.

I would be even richer if I also had a dollar for every time they said “that ball was nearly picked off” or “he’s lucky that wasn’t an interception” or words to that effect. “Nearly,” whether nearly intercepted or nearly in the end zone or nearly at the first down marker, isn’t the same as intercepted, or a touchdown, or a first down. So shut up about it already.

Baker Mayfield appears to be the real deal. The over/under speculation for how soon the Browns will ruin him can begin now. (Note—the over/unders will, I believe, be quite different if Hue Jackson remains the head coach, a position he apparently enjoys, because he mentions it quite frequently to the press, or if someone else replaces him. This could happen rather soon, and the top candidate would appear to be none other than our old friend Todd Haley.)

Nick Chubb appears to be the real deal as well.

We already knew Myles Garrett was the real deal. He’s the only player to have sacked Ben Roethlisberger in some weeks, and the only one to sack him yesterday either. Let that sink in, especially when you realize that Marcus Gilbert didn’t play, and was replaced by Matt Feiler. Is Mike Munchak a genuine genius?

I believe most Steelers fans love Vance McDonald as much as I do, but I note that it is still Jesse James who gets the “Heatthh” calls…

Apparently all the turnovers in Week 1 were not a fluke. The Browns defense has some issues, but taking the ball away isn’t one of them.

If you signal for a fair catch, you should bloody well catch the ball. Rosie, I’m looking at you, and, for that matter, all the other guys who a) should have known the rules on a free kick, and b) should have at least fallen on the ball.

Were the Steelers merely toying with the Browns during the first quarter and a half, rather like a cat with nothing better to do than torment a mouse? I would like to think so (although this would not be a very attractive character trait), but I fear that’s really how they were playing. All is forgiven for the moment, but I would greatly appreciate it if they would get their stuff together a bit earlier next week.*

The hold in the end zone that resulted in a safety should also result in an assault charge for the offending lineman. He was indeed an offensive lineman in that moment. Bud Dupree may never be the same.

Speaking of which, Bud seemed to spend more time in the Browns’ backfield than most of their offensive personnel. This seems like a good thing to me.

And as long as we’re making such comparisons, I was interested to note that during the final Steelers’ drive, but before the touchdown run, James Conner had already accumulated more yards than the entire Browns’ offense. That’s some studliness right there.

And speaking of studliness, I would like to once again remind my readers that Conner was one of my selections in my final Momma’s Mock Draft, back in 2017. Just sayin’. I will admit that had I known he was capable of not only getting his current haircut but continuing to rock it when he saw how it came out, I might have had to rethink it a bit. Fortunately his hair is covered by his helmet during the game.

I don’t want to jinx him or anything, but Chris Boswell seems to have gotten over the yips, thank heavens. What is it with kickers this season? Is it something in the way the planets have aligned? I can’t ever remember so many games turning on missed field goals and extra points. And I believe the Browns’ kicker, who missed one of each yesterday, is a replacement for the guy who started the season. It’s just weird.

It was nice to watch Ryan Switzer on punt and kick returns. He’s the first guy who has looked like he knew what he was doing since AB was returning punts. (Well, except for that one free kick…) I do think he’s going to break one soon. Unfortunately he’s not as impressive on the offense. And man, the special teams penalties are annoying…

If it was going to take Joe Haden this long to get an INT, I’m glad it was against the Browns. They were crazy to get rid of him, and hopefully they have noticed this by now.

And looking ahead:

It’s a pity the Tampa Bay coaching staff didn’t replace Jameis Winston with Ryan Fitzpatrick a bit sooner today. Maybe the Bengals would consequently have joined the Ravens in being a full game back of the Steelers.

And speaking of the Ravens, I think they are going to be pretty desperate next week. I hope the Steelers are aware of this.

That’s all the thoughts I have at the moment. Feel free to add yours in the comments…

*I was attempting to be funny, but I have to wonder how much the events of Saturday effected the team/coaches/etc. Mike Tomlin was asked this in his presser after the game, and he noted that he lives about 800 yards from the synagogue, and yes, it was on his mind. I live even closer to the synagogue than MT, and I can tell you it’s pretty hard to forget. In fact, I hope no one forgets. It’s getting to be a scary world out there, and the scariest part, to me, isn’t the plethora of weapons but the vast wells of hatred. Perhaps one of the lessons we can learn is that talk is not as cheap as we have traditionally thought. If someone is spewing garbage, there’s always the chance that they are going to act on it…


  • I mentioned to Ivan and Hombre several times how good a game Bud was having. Some “bust” he is.

    Ivan also told me how close you live to the synagogue. I completely agree with your assessment. Far too much hate in the world.


  • Very interested to see how Conner wll do against the Ravens run defense.


    • Me too. I love the way he runs, and I really love the way the O line blocks for him. Chris Carter at DK Pittsburgh Sports did a piece a few weeks ago demonstrating how much better he runs with a lead blocker, something which they perhaps didn’t worry so much about with Bell. But what really stands out to me is the number of different ways he has of creating more yards, whether it is eluding people or just plain blowing them up. The Ravens will be a big test, and I suspect the answer depends a bit, ironically, on whether Ben can come out of the gate connecting accurately with his receivers…


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