Sunday, 15 November 2015

Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Cleveland Browns 9: Tom Reed's instant analysis

Nervous days in Berea : The Browns (2-8) head into the bye week following one of their worst performances in recent memory. It will be an interesting 48 hours in Berea to see if owner Jimmy Haslam and the front office opt to make any substantive changes.The relative inexperience of the coaching staff figured to insulate Mike Pettine for the remainder of the season. But a pitiful effort like this one against the club's biggest rival could spark some for of action.
Owner Jimmy Haslam said immediately after the game "no change" was planned for the bye week, which means Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer should be safe for at least a few more weeks. But this loss will linger throughout the break.The pass defense was shredded by a one-legged Ben Roethlisberger, who opened the game on the bench nursing a foot injury. Leave it to the Browns to injure regular backup Landry Jones (ankle) to get to the quarterback who's 18-2 lifetime against them.Cleveland committed mindless penalties that extended Steelers drives, and took back-to-back pass-interference calls in the third quarter.The Browns' woes extended to all three phases. Even when they scored a touchdown, Travis Coons missed an extra point.The offense had a first-and-goal at the 1 midway through the third quarter, trailing 24-3, and went 24 yards backward in three plays. The comedy of errors started with the Browns' first possession as Johnny Manziel's attempted pass squirted out of his hands and was ruled a fumble.Manziel actually played well in his third start of the season. He's one of the few Browns who could feel decent about his outing.
Defenseless : The pass defense – thought to be strength of the unit in preseason -- has been a major problem. But the season-long struggles could not have prepared fans for this clunker.Roethlisberger carved the Browns' secondary, hitting streaking receivers and drawing four pass-interference calls. Big Ben was 18-of-23 for 286 yards and two touchdowns -- at halftime. He abused Pierre Desir and rookie Charles Gaines, who had a rude introduction into the NFL's regular season. All this occurred as the Browns elected to make Justin Gilbert a healthy scratch.The club finished the game with special teams ace Johnson Bademosi playing cornerback. He got toasted on a 56-yard slant by Antonio Brown to make it 30-9.Next time fans complain about corner Joe Haden (concussion) having a rough day, remember this outing. 
Manziel's day  : It's hard to find much fault with Manziel's performance except for his first pass. He did throw a fourth-quarter interception and was sacked six times, but he made plays and moved the chains throughout the afternoon.He completed 33-of-45 passes for 372 yards a TD, an INT and a 98.5 passer rating and somehow survived a brutal second-quarter face-mask by Arthur Moats in which he was spun like a pig on a spit.Manziel did a nice job throwing from the pocket on many occasions. I don't see how he isn't the quarterback when the Browns emerge from the bye to host the Ravens.

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