We have seen some ugly games in the past, but this one may have been the ugliest of them all. It is not often you see three of your best players leave a contest, in two cases, concussion related injuries by way of illegal hits to the head. The line between being phyiscal and dirty can be sometimes blurred, but on this night, the Cleveland Browns were as dirty as they could be; then there was Myles Garrett.
Setting the ugly nature of this contest aside, if you were to evaluate it by the quality of play, the game was not even close. For instance, the Browns first drive on offense looked like this; 7-yard completion to Odell Beckham Jr., 20-yard completion to Kareem Hunt, 42-yard completion to Odell Beckham Jr, and a one-yard touchdown by Baker Mayfield. This drive alone was symbolic of the Browns efficiency on offense, versus the Steelers offense's inability to consistently move the chains; a common theme seen in this year's offensive unit.
As enjoyable their four-game winning streak was, fans should be deluded by what this team really is; a team in full development mode. The offense is not the type of offense that can win gains, as it is at a deficit of talent in practically every spot; the problem goes beyond what Mason Rudolph is or is not. On defense, they were exposed in a fashion reminiscent of their performance against the Patriots. Most notably, this was the first game where the defense failed to record a turnover since week one.
Though certain parts of the game have changed in the last few years, physicality remains a crucial element to success. This season, the Steelers have lost the battle in the trenches twice; week one against the New England Patriots, and this week against the Browns.
If we were to be realistic, their focus should center around development for the future. Even if this team were to make the postseason, the probability of them winning a playoff game is slim; we have seen stronger Steelers teams in the past lose their first playoff game.
What can be taken as a positive is this team's resilience, which was evident in the way they kept pushing, even when the game seem out of reach. One thing that can be said about this year's squad, they are willing to fight for everything they have, and fight for each other if necessary, ask Maurkice Pouncey.