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Steelers Will Try To Break Losing Streak In Cleveland – Week 11 Preview

steelers browns losing EDrost88 via flickr


The Pittsburgh Steelers head to Ohio to play AFC North opponent Cleveland Browns, where both teams will be looking to break their losing streak.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of a four game losing streak, and are hoping to get back on track in week 11 against the winless Cleveland Browns. Mike Tomlin is looking to avoid his first losing season as a head coach, and a loss to the Browns would be a huge blow to the perception of him as a coach and how he handles his team in times of adversity.

Mike Tomlin has already started to make changes with his roster, due to the fact that he is simply not seeing the level of play he needs in order to help the team win. On defense, they have decided to demote Jarvis Jones, and put Anthony Chickillo into a starting role alongside James Harrison. Anthony Chickillo is coming off back-to-back games with a sack, and has recorded two forced fumbles this season. On offense, Todd Haley has increased his usage of Eli Rogers, while Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates have seen a lot more of the bench than the field. After being benched for two weeks due to Coach’s Decision, Eli Rogers stepped up last week against the Dallas Cowboys and caught four passes for 42 yards, including a touchdown.

Many of the Steelers issues have come from accountability and the lack of veteran leadership. That took an even bigger blow this week when Mike Tomlin announced that defensive tackle and team captain Cameron Hayward would be out for the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. But Ben Roethlisberger knows that this is his team, and it is his job to lead the Steelers to victories as well as getting young players to become leaders themselves.

“Yeah. I mean, it’s hard to lose a guy like your captain and stuff like that. But other guys have to step up. I mean, it’s that time of year. It’s that sport where you lose guys and other guys have to be ready to step up. So we’ll count on some leadership from some other guys and hopefully, if it’s three or four different guys stepping up, then that’s awesome.”

Ben Roethlisberger has been historically great against the Cleveland Browns. He holds the winning percentage since 1970 for any quarterback against a single opponent with a record of 19-2, with both losses coming in Cleveland. In those 21 games, he has passed for 5,323 yards, 35 touchdowns, with a 97.1 passer rating. All of those numbers are the best for any quarterback against the Cleveland Browns in their franchise’s history.

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The biggest obstacle for the Steelers this weekend will be to find a way to limit the amount of yards allowed. The Steelers defense is 24th in the NFL in yards per game allowed with 380.8 and losing Cameron Hayward will not help. Terrelle Pryor Sr. has found new life in Cleveland at the wide receiver position, and Pittsburgh Steelers fans remember him all to well from his Oakland days. Pryor led the Raiders to a 21-18 victory with only 88 passing yards, but had 106 rushing yards with most of it coming on a 93-yard touchdown rush on the Raiders first offensive play of the game.

The Cleveland Browns have not done many things right this year, but one thing they have done is keeping a level head. With the youngest team in the NFL, Hue Jackson has reminded his players to stay the course, and not let losing become a premeditated thought.

“We’re not planning on 0-16. That’d be very disappointing for all of us. But at the same time we’re not focused on wins and losses. We’re focused on really the core things that over a period of time will help us be successful.”

This is the first of two meetings for the AFC North opponents this season, and both are hungry for a win to end their losing streak. Don’t be surprised if this is a close game until the fourth quarter, two teams in a dog fight trying to prove their worth in this league. The Steelers are currently one game back of the Baltimore Ravens in the division, so they’ll need every division win they can get.

Statistics referenced from Pro Football Focus and Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide