It seems everything is right in the world, especially if you’re a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Five games into the season and Pittsburgh is 5-0, they sit atop the AFC North, and Big Roethlisberger has returned to Pro Bowl form. The Steelers have rolled into this season with the high expectations and thus far have met them. The last time the Steelers were 5-0 was in 1978; that team won a Super Bowl and was one of the best in NFL history.
Heinz Field was a “House of Horrors” once again for the Cleveland Browns. Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns are now just 1-20 in Pittsburgh. The Browns haven’t won a game at Heinz Field since 2003 and they’ve never beaten Mike Tomlin in the Steelers’ stadium (0-17). Ben Roethlisberger is now 24-2-1 as a starting quarterback against the Browns. No quarterback in NFL history has more wins against the Browns.
While the gold and black didn’t have a great passing day, the running game held up their end for the game. James Conner rushed 20 times for 101 yards and one touchdown. Benny Snell and Chase Claypool both contributed with touchdown scores. While Big Ben was only 14/22 with the one score, he’s been productive coming back from injury. On the season the QB is completing 69.1%, 1178 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and only one interception. The biggest key to the Steelers offense so far is protecting the football. Roethlisberger, known for forcing the issue has not taken many chances this year. He is off to one of the best starts of his career.
The defense has been hit and miss at times but was hitting on all levels Sunday. It seemed that everyone on defense got pressure on Baker Mayfield. The Steelers played their most aggressive defensive football game this year. The Steelers defense has the speed and talent with their front seven to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Mayfield was eventually taken out, as he battled a rib injury all week. The Browns had scored 30 or more points in four straight games, but against Pittsburgh, they went back to looking like the Browns.
Unfortunately during the game, 2019 first-round pick, inside linebacker Devin Bush tore his ACL and is done for the season. Bush was off to a strong start with 26 total tackles, two pass breakups, and one sack through five games. Last year, in a solid rookie season, He finished with 109 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. The injury is a blow to a defense that was beginning to catch their flow.
“It just makes you sick when someone, a young player, skilled like that, gets hurt,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said after the game. “I need to send my thoughts and prayers to him.”
The injury comes at the worst time as the Steelers take on the Titans. This is a matchup of the league’s second-best offense meeting the second-best defense. Derrick Henry, who leads the NFL with 588 rushing yards, will keep the Titans on schedule. The Titans will look to key on Bush’s replacement, and Ryan Tannehill will seek to make enough plays to wide receiver AJ Brown to keep Tennessee unbeaten.