In a rivalry that has been lopsided in recent years the Browns looked to make their mark in the AFC North and show their legitimacy as a contender. A win would give the Browns a trademark victory to give momentum for the remainder of the season.

The first quarter was dominated by Pittsburgh’s running attack. A 10-play drive featuring all runs set up a field goal. The Browns offense had two 3 and outs and Brian Hoyer completed zero passes. The Steelers bought heavy pressure on Hoyer and it looked to be an uphill battle for the offense after one quarter. At the end of the 1st the Steelers were on the move again, but a botched snap on an attempted field goal provided the momentum swing the Browns needed.

On the following possession the Browns faced a quick 3rd and 6. Desperately needing a first down, Hoyer found Miles Austin over the deep middle for 17 yards. The following play Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shannahan dialed up a tremendous call. On 1st and 10, the Browns lined up in a running formation with one wide receiver and 3 tight ends. Travis Benjamin was split out wide right with Jim Dray on the right side of the line. Jordan Cameron and Gary Barnidge lined up on the left side of the line. Crowell was the single back behind Hoyer. Hoyer play action faked going right to Crowell and bootlegged left. Benjamin ran a clear out route across the middle to open the right side of the field. Cameron was in man coverage against Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. Cameron sold the fake run by going to block down on an inside linebacker. Polamalu read run on the play. Once he saw it was a pass, Polamalu ran with Benjamin, who crossed right in front of him. Cameron was able to release to the right side where he was wide open. Hoyer under threw Cameron but the play was still good for 42 yards. A perfectly thrown ball by Hoyer would have scored a touchdown. The drive was finished off by an Isaiah Crowell touchdown run. Kyle Shannahan has his offense clicking and he has put Hoyer and the offense in great positions to succeed.

Brian Hoyer’s best pass of the day came on his 51-yard touchdown to Jordan Cameron. It was a 3rd and 2, and the Browns showed run again with three tight ends and only one receiver. Hoyer play action faked and set up in the pocket. From the three tight end set, Dray stayed in to block and Barnidge came across to the left and blocked backside. Cameron released and ran a post. Hoyer faced pressure from his backside but stayed strong in the pocket to deliver a perfect ball leading Jordan Cameron over the middle, beating Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen for six.

Brian Hoyer completed just 8 passes on the day, but threw for 217 yards. Hoyer averaged 27 yards a completion. He was able to connect on big plays down the field, which were opened up by our two headed monster at running back. Ben Tate rushed for 78 yards on 25 carries and added 2 touchdowns. Isaiah Crowell had 11 carries for 77 yards and a score of his own, combining with Tate for 155 rushing yards. The zone-blocking scheme has fueled the Browns scoring attack. The strong run game has opened up play action and has given Hoyer time in the pocket. Hoyer was only sacked once on Sunday.

The Browns 31-10 thumping of division rival Pittsburgh has opened the door for the Browns to make a serious run. Over the next three weeks the record of our combined opponents is 1-15. The Browns should lean on their strong running game and solid quarterback play to take advantage of three weaker opponents. The defense should get a chance to improve and gain confidence during this stretch. The Browns have chance to be well over .500 at the halfway mark and will be in the thick of the playoff race all year.

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