PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The Steelers control their own destiny!
The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting with a record 7-5 and have — at the moment — solidified their spot in the 2nd place in the AFC North division after defeating the Cleveland Browns 20-13 at Heinz field, Sunday. With a litany of injuries to starters on both sides of the ball, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin realizes his team was faced with an uphill battle and after the victory simply said no matter what, you have to get it done. “It feels good to win always, but it definitely feels good to win when you are faced with adversity in terms of people available to you,” Tomlin said. “There’s just less margin for error. Not that we feel like we are incapable, we just realize we have to play closer to optimum level.”
Tomlin made the necessary adjustments before the second half based on what he observed throughout the game.
“We felt like we needed to minimize their run in the second half more than we did in the first half and we needed to run it better than we did in the first half. We felt like it was 10-10 at the half, but they had won the line of scrimmage. They had more significant run plays, they had control of the time of possession. We needed to flip that.” — Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers
Cornerback Joe Haden sealed the win for Pittsburgh with an interception against Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and took to the postgame podium with a smile on his face knowing that, despite his individual play of 2 tackles and 1 INT, it was a good team win. “We just have a group of guys with Terrell [Edmunds], Steve Nelson and then the addition of Minkah [Fitzpatrick]. This is one of the best secondaries I have ever been a part of because we have communication, we have guys that are very football smart and are very capable of making plays.” Haden said “I feel like I am holding my side down, but everybody else is doing their thing in the back end.”
Running back Benny Snell Jr. rushed for 63 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. He said the win was dedicated to center Maurkice Pouncey who was suspended for the game due to the unfortunate on field altercation the last time the Steelers and Browns met where a fight broke out and Pouncey came to the defense of his teammates. “Him [Pouncey] not being out there with us, we wanted to get this win for him. That’s why we got the game ball for him as well. I’m happy and I’m proud!”
For the second consecutive game QB Duck Hodges connected with wideout James Washington for a score. This time for 30 yards splitting two defenders for the touchdown. Washington says coach Tomlin’s motivation is what plays in his mind constantly. “Coach [Tomlin] would always say, ‘You never know how many opportunities you’re gonna get.’ What better game not to going out there and do that?!”
The Steelers head to Arizona to face the Cardinals who are 3-8 and in last place in the NFC West.
PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged that injuries are a part of the game. The realization of adjusting for the sudden — and always unexpected — changes in personnel can throw off team chemistry. However, Coach Tomlin has preached the, “next man up” approach on the journey to success as his team continues to heal.
Since the beginning of the 2019 season, the Steelers lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the season due to an elbow injury on his throwing arm which required surgery. Starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt is out for the year with a pectoral tear, free safety Sean Davis was put on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, fullback Roosevelt Nix is also on IR with a knee ailment and kick returner/WR Ryan Switzer’s back will keep him from seeing action. Running back James Conner has missed significant time on the field as well when he re-aggravated his shoulder. Most recently, wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson in addition to linebacker Ola Adeniyi succumbed to concussions in the game against the Browns last Thursday night, just to name a few. Quite a few, actually.
While the team has seen its fair share of fallen players, Tomlin said in his weekly press conference Tuesday, “I don’t spend a lot of time crying over who’s available or who’s not available. It’s as much a part of the game as blocking or tackling,” Tomlin said. “If you are a competitor — like we as coaches are competitors — that fires you up. You want to smile in the face of adversity.”
The Steelers will play on the road Sunday Nov. 24 against the winless Cincinnati Bengals (0-10), a team that would love to get a win against the Pittsburgh. The Steelers (5-5) are still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt and in 2nd place in the AFC North division.
PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Banged up wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson are added to the list of starters who have temporarily fallen victim to injuries.
In the game against the Cleveland Browns Thursday, both standouts left the game with concussions and as of Monday, were still in concussion protocol. Neither were available for interviews.
JuJu Smith-Schuster left the game after suffering a helmet-to-helmet hit. In the second quarter, 2 defenders, [former Steeler] Morgan Burnett and Greedy Williams made contact with both sides of Smith-Schuster’s helmet, on the same play, leaving him motionless on the field. He was later able to walk off the field on his own.
Smith-Schuster took to his Twitter account to thank those who were supportive following his injury:
Want to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers from the injury last night. I will be ok and can’t wait to get back out on the field with my brothers. pic.twitter.com/SV09EGwr4o
As for Diontae Johnson, Browns safety Damarious Randall lowered his head and collided in the third quarter with Johnson after a helmet-to-helmet hit, leaving him wincing in pain. Johnson started bleeding from his ear shortly thereafter. The hit prompted an immediate ejection of Randall.
Appreciate all the prayers man.. I’m doing good. I’ll be back 🙏🏾
“The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed wide receiver Deon Cain and running back Kerrith Whyte Jr. to the 53-man roster, it was announced today. To make room on the 53-man roster, the Steelers released linebacker Jayrone Elliott and running back Tony Brooks-James.”
We have signed WR Quadree Henderson and WR Amara Darboh to our practice squad and released WR Terry Wright and LB Sutton Smith.
(GSM) — Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has been suspended without salary for the remainder of the 2019 NFL season following an altercation with Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.
The incident took place in Cleveland during the Thursday night matchup with 8-seconds left to play in the game where Garrett forcibly removed Rudolph’s helmet and hit him over the head with it. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey proceeded to throw punches, striking Garrett several times prior to kicking him while on the ground.
The National Football League hit both the Steelers and Browns with stiff financial penalties and said in a statement, “The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns organizations have each been fined $250,000 and three players – Cleveland’s MYLES GARRETT and LARRY OGUNJOBI, and Pittsburgh’s MAURKICE POUNCEY – have been suspended without pay for their actions in Thursday night’s game,” The statement read. “Garrett has been suspended without pay indefinitely – at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason – and must meet with the commissioner’s office prior to a decision on his reinstatement. He was also fined an additional amount. Garrett violated unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting, removing the helmet of an opponent and using the helmet as a weapon.”
Art Rooney II, president of the Pittsburgh Steelers released a statement on the incident:
“As an organization, we are disappointed with what occurred last night near the end of our game against the Cleveland Browns. The actions of the players involved were not something that should be part of any football game. Our players, coaches and everyone in the Steelers organization understand that we must always maintain composure, no matter what happens. After a hard-fought game between two rivals, it is a shame that the game ended that way.”
The Cleveland Browns also commented publicly about what transpired Thursday night via owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam:
“We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game. There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization. We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years but his actions last night were completely unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions.”
PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The Steelers have a rising star at wide receiver.
In the absence of embattled wide receiver, Antonio Brown, rookie Dionte Johnson provides plenty of missing firepower from the Steelers’ passing game.
The Steelers have now a new rising star at wide receiver.
There is a new era, as we have all heard at nauseam, related to the void left from the injury to all-pro and future Hall of Fame Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the departures of Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell. There is no debate that there is a difference in the offense, missing this high level of offensive firepower!
In my opinion, there is a glimmer of hope, with the emergence of Dionte Johnson. The former University of Toledo standout has shown he can be a legitimate threat, has great hands, is a solid route runner and possesses game breaking speed. Johnson has 30 catches for 363 yards with 3 touchdowns, the longest being the electrifying catch and run against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.
Johnson is not an Antonio Brown and it is truly unfair to make the comparison. However, Johnson is an outstanding wide receiver, and in this period of transition away from the “Killer B’s” (Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger), he should be allowed to continue developing and be measured against his own standard, one that, if it continues this trajectory, will be exciting to watch and lethal for any opponent of the Steelers.