Oldest Rivalry in the AFC
There is a visceral disdain between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It doesn’t matter what their records are but when these titans meet there will be blood. The Rivalry has spanned for nearly 70 years, with 141 games played and the Steelers are up 79-61-1 overall. They have the oldest rival in the AFC and tonight on Thursday Night Football they meet again for another slobber-knocker of a game. We have had everything from Joe Jones violent sack of Terry Bradshaw, Antonio Brown kicking punter Spencer Lanning directly in the face, and the recent Myles Garrett helmet bashing of Mason Rudolph. This rivalry is alive and well and let’s see what happens tonight! The Rivalry: Steeler vs Browns!
Browns and Steelers Over Decades
The Browns dominated the first two decades of this rivalry in the ’50s and ’60s. The major turning point for the Steelers was in the 1970s when Cleveland native and Browns’ linebacker Chuck Noll took over as head coach of the Steelers. In the 1980’s the Browns were more dominant with a 12-8 record and then the rivalry was disrupted in 1995 when the Browns franchise relocated to Baltimore. The Browns would return in 1999 and the Steelers would control the series through the 2000’s. Recently the Browns have tried to turn the franchise around and even annihilated the Steelers 48 to 37, in the January 10, 2021, AFC Wild Card game. An exciting game to remember for Browns fans and hopefully a turning of the tides.
Something to Prove
The Cleveland Browns are coming off a massive defensive meltdown of 31-30 loss against the Jets last week. Jacoby Brissett and the offense looked more alive during the Jets game but a cascade of events from special teams and the defense led to their defeat. Brissett went 22-27 of his passes with one touchdown and one interception. Fans and media have been discrediting his performance against the Jets due to the interception. With 22 seconds left after leading by two scores, desperation was going to happen after that defensive breakdown. Brissett played with more confidence and looked better than he did week one.
Chubb Takes the Blame
The running game had a total of 184 yard on 37 carries and 3 touchdowns. Nick Chubb was bombarded with criticism this week for running in his final touchdown. The touchdown put them up by 2 scores, but critics think he should have slid or gone down to run out the clock. He addressed the media saying, “Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have scored right there,” Chubb told ESPN’s Jake Trotter on Tuesday. “Honestly, looking back at it, it cost us the game. A lot of things went wrong, not just one thing. But collectively as a unit, as a team, we could’ve all done things different. But it’s only a problem because we didn’t win. So I probably should’ve went down.”
Nick Chubb was doing what running backs are supposed to do so he is not at fault, but the coaching staff should bare the weight of the criticism. The coaching staff should have been telling them to run out the clock after they got a first down. Stefanski and his staff should have been on top of that situation but who would have thought up by two scores with 1:22 left on the clock they would meltdown in such a terrible way. The Browns have a bitter taste in their mouth and have something to prove against the Steelers tonight.
Trubisky or Pickett
The Steelers have themselves a quarterback controversy! Starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw for 160 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Patriots in week 2. His QBR was 35.4 out of 100. Trubisky had a terrible performance considering all the talent that surrounds him like Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. Najee Harris who is touted as one of the elite running backs in the NFL only had 15 carries for 49 yards. The running game can’t get going if the passing game is so dreadful.
Trubisky was booed during last Sunday’s home opener and fans started chanting for quarterback Kenny Pickett. The Steelers are 1-1 and Trubisky was supposed to be a bridge quarterback but for how long? Fans and critics want Kenny Pickett to start sooner than later to hopefully spark this Steelers offense. Mike Tomlin will have some decision making to do in the next few weeks to see who gives them the best shot to succeed. Trubisky is named the starter for tonight and this should make or break his starting status.
Thursday Night Football Tonight
Both teams have had slow underwhelming starts to the season but tonight could potentially lift one of the teams out of their fog. It’s a rivalry game and they will pull out all the stops against each other. Rowdy fans will be packed into First Energy Stadium to be a part of this long 70-year span of a rivalry between these two teams. The Browns will beat the Steelers with the dynamic duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt sending them back to Pittsburgh where they will be calling for Kenny Pickett. Mike Tomlin will have a major problem on his hands.
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