When it comes to records going into Pittsburgh, those are all tossed out. Just as the Steelers methodically discarded the Browns to the tune of holding them to just 75 yards on 22 carries, while rushing for 129 yards on 37 carries and three touchdowns.
For the game, RB Kareem Hunt finished with 40 yards on 13 carries, while averaging 3.1 yards per carry.
The final score wasn’t nearly indicative of how badly the Browns looked and played down by the Confluence of Three Rivers, in losing their 17th straight in the Steel City.
It was bad. As in God dreadful bad.
You had a clearly compromised Baker Mayfield—who was nursing a park of bruised ribs—getting sacked, hit and beaten by the Steelers trademark zone-blitz to the tune of being pressured on 52 percent of his drop backs before getting pulled for backup, Case Keenum.
For the day, Mayfield finished 10-18 for 119 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions—one of them being a pick-six returned for a touchdown by S Minkah Fitzpatrick.
In the case of the Steelers, Pittsburgh improved to 42-7-1 vs. Cleveland since 1994.
Findlay, OH native Ben Roethlisberger—whom the Browns passed on in the 2004 NFL Draft for Miami TE Kellen Winslow II—improved to 24-2-1, as the Steelers reached the 5-0 mark for the first time since 1978. RB James Conner rushed for 101 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. Canadian-born rookie WR Chase Claypool continued his strong play in scoring another touchdown.
At 4-2 and losses against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the Browns dropped to 1-2 vs. teams above .500—with the one win coming against the Colts—and also drop to 1-2 in the always rugged AFC North, with their return match vs. a dangerous Cincinnati Bengals down in The Queen City.
While the Browns are still dealing with injuries, football is a no-excuses business, whereas everyone on every team in hurt or injured. In their two losses, Cleveland has scored a total of 13 points.
Cleveland can only benefit from playing the proverbial Little Sisters Of The Poor for so long before they have to answer the bell in beating the big boys such as the Ravens and the Steelers, as they still have return dates with them as well as upcoming games vs. the Raiders (3-2) and Titans (5-0). Those games will help determine if the Browns are a legitimate playoff contender, or a pretender that will ultimately be exposed.
If Sunday’s loss was an indication, Cleveland has some work to do.