Winners and losers from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 13-10 loss against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11.
Jaylen Warren – The biggest winner of the game, clearly. He was the Steelers’ offense Sunday, putting the first points on the board with a remarkable 74-yard touchdown run on the second play of the third quarter (a shoutout to C Mason Cole for a key downfield block). He ran hard, getting far more than what was blocked, breaking tackles, stiff-arming defensive backs, and running people over. A true statement and breakout game from Warren, who may have just cemented a true lead role over Najee Harris. Warren finished the game with 129 yards and a touchdown.
Cam Heyward – Though the pressure might not have always been there, Heyward’s run defense was critical against a Browns team looking to hand it off as much as possible. Heyward was hard to move and had key open field tackles, including a key stop that could’ve gone for a big play by RB Pierre Strong.
Elandon Roberts – The lone inside linebacker healthy of the team’s “big three,” this was a game made for Roberts. Attacking the run, playing the ball underneath, and the Browns tested him short and in the flat. Cleveland made some mistakes along the way, errant passes and dropped balls, but Roberts was hitting everything, and his footsteps may have influenced some of those offensive mistakes. He finished with 15 tackles, 11 of them solo, big-time numbers.
Dan Moore Jr. – Some obvious losers today, Moore being one of them. From the literal first offensive snap of the game, Moore was schooled by Myles Garrett. An incredibly tough matchup and the Steelers struggled to pair their concepts to their protection, but it showed what Garrett has done to Moore throughout his career: win against him. It didn’t always translate to sacks, but Moore hadn’t been as successful against Garrett as some credited him before the game. An awful game and if you’re into these things, his PFF pass protection score is going to be…low.
Kenny Pickett – Yeah, he’s going here. Pickett looked just as incapable as Browns rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the two team’s game plans were essentially the same. Miscommunication ran rampant and Pickett couldn’t come up with anything. He was under consistent pressure, but the numbers were just bleak. He couldn’t push the ball downfield and his accuracy to the sidelines struggled. Everything about his game felt painful and he spun into pressure again, not always climbing and hitching. Pickett had been bad in his last two outings against the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers. Today, though, was rock bottom.
Communication – In Pittsburgh’s first true road game of the season, having almost home-field feels against the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Rams, the Steelers looked like a team overwhelmed by a hostile environment. Twice, they had 12 men on defense, forcing them to burn timeouts. Offensively, the screen game was a disaster, there were snaps before Pickett expected them, and receivers weren’t on the same page (most egregiously a swing pass to RB Jaylen Warren where the receivers were supposed to but didn’t block, leading him to get crushed). This was a disjoined performance, as much as you’ll ever see it.
Joey Porter Jr. – While Porter helped contest DTR’s throw on CB Chandon Sullivan’s interception, he had his hands full with WR Amari Cooper. A great route runner, Porter struggled to match and mirror. He was flagged for holding in the first half and while the defense generally kept the ball in front, Porter’s weaknesses and areas to improve, evident coming out of college, were on display. Not as awful a game as some of the other names on this list but I wouldn’t call it a good game.
Pressley Harvin III – On a day where field position was going to be critical for both sides, Harvin’s day got off to a decent enough start. But he had two miserable second half punts. A low-lining 42-yarder with virtually zero hangtime, returned 21 yards for a net of 21. His next was somehow worse, a 20-yard shank that landed out of bounds. Pittsburgh’s defense came up large to help bail him out, but he didn’t do those jobs.
Third-Down Offense – The Steelers finished 3-of-14 on third down and at one point, they were only 1-of-9. They were in many makeable situations but couldn’t convert and the offense stalled and punted throughout.
Diontae Johnson – Not all his fault but two catches for 10 yards on eight targets and some tough near-catches on plays he could’ve and didn’t make. The passing game was a mess, and it starts with Pickett but Johnson was a ghost nearly all game.