Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

Steelers Keys to Victory over the Browns in Week 2

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a horrid performance in Week 1, a 30-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, and the hope is there is a bounce back on Monday Night Football in Week 2 when the Cleveland Browns come to town.

What exactly do the Steelers need to do to claim their first victory of 2023? Let’s break it down in all three phases of the game…


1. Win on 1st Down

The Steelers might have been explosive in the preseason, but in the regular season have moved at a snail’s pace. To help this unit out as much as they can, they need to win on first downs. Don’t need to get it all at once, but to create manageable down and distances. Baby steps is what’s required.

2. No Turnovers

Sometimes I’ll suggest the Steelers just need to be on the positive side of the turnover battle. Not in this game. They need to stay clear of turnovers by all means if they want to win.

3. Improve on 3rd downs

Last week the Steelers were 5-for-15 on third downs, and it is probably safe to say the majority of those first downs came on the 95-yard touchdown drive to end the half. While 40% is good, being near or above 50% will likely equate to a winning performance.


1. Slow down Nick Chubb

There are certain players in the NFL you never say you are going to “stop”, you just hope to minimize the damage. Nick Chubb is one of those players. Slow him down, and watch Kevin Stefanski start to abandon the run. But if the Steelers can’t slow down the dynamic running back, it could be a long night.

2. T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith go OFF

With Jack Conklin out for the year, T.J. Watt’s matchup on the right side of the offensive line is favorable going against rookie Dawand Jones. What not one is really talking about is how Alex Highsmith has done well in his career when going against Jed Willis. If the Browns want to send help to Jones all game, it will mean Highsmith needs to win his matchup. If these two players can have big games, it could equate to success for the team.

3. Take the ball away

Not having any turnovers is not an option. The Steelers have to take the ball away by any means necessary. The offense will likely need those extra possessions.

Special Teams

1. Consistency

I’m not asking for much, just consistency. Chris Boswell make your kicks, and Pressley Harvin do your job. That’s all.

2. Big play ALERT!

I don’t know why, but I think Calvin Austin III is going to have a dynamic day in the return game. Could it be the Steelers’ first punt return touchdown since Diontae Johnson did it in 2019 at the Arizona Cardinal?

I talk about this, and MUCH more on the Monday episode of “Let’s Ride”, and you can hear that podcast in the player below this article. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they gear up for prime time!

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