Will Browns dominating defense continue against the Steelers?
The Cleveland Browns embarrassed the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 with a dominating 24-3 win. If it weren’t for the Browns giving the Bengals three possessions around midfield in the second half they may have shut them out. Cincinnati only had 143 yards of offense and six first downs. They only made two first downs on third down plays and had seven possessions of three and out.
Cleveland took the heart and soul out of Cincinnati. Now with a Week 2 Monday Night Football battle on the horizon against the Pittsburgh Steelers, can this pumped-up Browns team build on their first game and push around the Steelers?
Pittsburgh just got pummeled themselves by a San Francisco 49ers team 30-7 on their home turf. And from listening to Steelers fans that game wasn’t even that close. If the Browns were to beat their divisional foe, then they’d have a 2-0 record for the first time to start a season since 1993 when Bill Belichick was the team’s head coach. That is a long time but the way this team performed last week points to a really strong possibility that they pull off the next win.
Pittsburgh will likely be all hands on deck and will be a force to be reckoned with on Monday night. Cleveland hasn’t had much success over the Steelers for a long time now. They did however embarrass them back in the 2020 playoffs as they destroyed them by a score of 48-37. The Browns went up 28-0 in that game before the Steelers came up for air after drowning at the start.
Back to the current state of affairs, Cleveland played with an effort and passion from their defense last week that hadn’t been seen in 30-plus years. The cornerbacks of Denzel Ward, Martin Emerson, and Greg Newsome all reminded me of those original “Dawgs” cornerbacks Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield. That time back in the late 1980s and early 1990s was when this Browns team took on that nickname and it’s continued with the team ever since.
Cleveland’s defensive line and linebackers also played inspired and with rage. One could see how confident a player like Myles Garrett was in their game against the Bengals as he toyed with the Cincinnati linemen all day. Will that mentality and effort continue under the bright lights of Monday Night Football? I’d imagine that it will.
The Browns have been inspired all off-season with the hiring of their new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz because the system he has installed with them is one where the players can play more freely and attack the ball. That certainly rolled over into Week 1 and I don’t see this unit slowing down at all. When you are confident and you are winning in the NFL that’s a recipe for success.
Playing the game in Pittsburgh will be tough. I’ve said many times in the past that you could bring a hot dog vendor from the stadium down on the field and he’d beat the Browns in the past. But this current Browns team, especially its defense feels different this season and that could mean big things long term.
It was only one game and both teams were on different ends of the spectrum last week so it’s still very early to make accurate predictions but if the Browns want to cement their place in the AFC North this season then beating the Steelers would really help.