Revenge is one of those things that can be said lightly, or in jest, or possibly just possibly will happen. Week six showboats an inter-division battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the surprisingly 3-1 Cleveland Browns. Let’s look at some of the extra reasons why this will be the game of the week to watch.
A Questionable Return
In the 2019 season’s week 11 game, Myles Garrett was ejected and ultimately suspended for his conduct on the field. He fought with and ultimately hit rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph with Rudolph’s own helmet. Coming inches away from possibly permanently injuring the young replacement quarterback. Many in all corners of the sports world thought that Garrett’s punishment was too light. Of course, that sentiment was not shared and still isn’t shared by his teammates.
Running back Kareem Hunt went on record stating that ‘This one’s for Myles (Garrett); We’ve got his back no matter what.’ While he back-peddled his comment slightly, stating that Garrett can control his emotions and wants nothing but to win. Whether that is true or not, emotions are sure to be running high in week six. Especially now that the experienced and stronger Ben Roethlisberger is at the helm. The Steelers linemen have shown on more than one occasion. They will protect their quarterback no matter what. If a dirty hit is thrown, this game has the potential to dissolve into something ugly.
Defense of Steel
Not only has the Steelers defense been on point this year. Not only were they on point last year, but last week with the five sacks against the Philadelphia Eagles. They are not tied for the second-most all-time in NFL history of having at least one sack in 61 games in a row. But stats and records are not what motivates this defense. The rush of a great sack or tackle is what gets their juices flowing. The loss of yardage when they stop a run behind the line of scrimmage is what pumps their blood.
There are teams across the NFL that can hardly get one sack every couple of games. The Steelers are making it look easy. TJ Watt, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Mike Hilton, and Bud Dupree all made it to Carson Wentz to keep him guessing where the next hit came from. Will Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield go through the same punishment? In a high emotion game, the smart money is on yes.
Rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool had a great break out game against the Eagles. Can he do the same against the Browns in week six? That’s the big question. Last week Claypool had four touchdowns in one game, leading to a plethora of memes and jokes comparing him to Al Bundy. But all jokes aside, he had an amazing game, and there is no reason to believe he won’t have many more.
However, the Browns can’t only prepare for him, as Roethlisberger has many other weapons he can go to. JuJu Smith-Schuster was drawing the coverage away from Claypool, opening the door for him. The tables can easily turn, and now double coverage on Claypool opens the door for Smith-Schuster, Eric Ebron, or James Washington. There is simply no covering all of them, and Roethlisberger is an expert on reading the whole field and seeing what opportunities are there.
A Coaching Challenge
As mentioned before, this game has the potential to be very emotional and fiery. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is usually very good at keeping his team focused and in control. This is partially from his skill as a coach and his experience with his team. Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski is in his first year in this position. As an assistant coach on the Minnesota Vikings, he was not part of last year’s drama. He cannot take it lightly. This will be a real test of how he leads his team coming into Heinz Field.
This is a very important game for the division lead. Three of the four teams in the AFC north are playing strong with minimal errors. Any loss is going to come back to haunt that team at playoff time. Last year many sports commentators, myself included, called for not only the suspension of Garrett but his removal from the NFL altogether. Him being back and in this game does not sit well with everyone. It is going to be difficult to keep emotions in check after last year. However, if the Steelers are in control enough to get their anger out in their playing, the weapons they have should be enough to stop a surging Browns team.
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