The Cleveland Browns won a game they had to win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, moving them to 2-1 and into their mini-bye. Unfortunately, injuries both sustained in the game and a Myles Garrett car wreck have made the road trip against the Atlanta Falcons into a challenging matchup.
Bri and I start with gratitude that Garrett only suffered mild injuries in a car wreck that saw his car flip multiple times. Even though the team hasn't ruled him out this week, I expect he won't play and will hopefully be good to go when the Browns host the Los Angeles Chargers the following week.
We discuss what we liked and disliked about the game against the Steelers. The Browns were the less physical in the first team and they had a difficult time matching the intensity of the Steelers. The Browns were able to take control in the second half, though some of that appeared to be as a result of the Steelers changing their offensive approach.
The Browns offense was outstanding. Kevin Stefanski and the offensive staff did a great job with their game plan and play calling. Bri and I both adore Amari Cooper. He's been exactly what the Browns need on the field, but we both agreed that the even-keeled approach he and Jacoby Brissett have were valuable coming off the meltdown against the Jets.
Nick Chubb continues to dominate and is playing better than at any point in his career so far this season. I love what I saw from David Njoku, which wasn't flashy. He just got open and caught routine plays, then did some good things with the ball in his hands.
Wednesday is going to be a big day for the Browns in terms of participation in practice and the injury report. Garrett's running mate Jadeveon Clowney was out against the Steelers and did not practice on Monday with an ankle injury sustained against the New York Jets. Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, defensive tackle Taven Bryan and safety Ronnie Harrison all had to leave the Steelers game with injuries. Their status is uncertain.
The loss of linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. for the season was a big one, both on and off the field. Perhaps merely a coincidence, the Browns defense played better after the injury. Jacob Phillips stepped in and had his best performance of the season.
The defense the Browns had out for the second half was very young. Should the team find itself without players like Garrett and Clowney, it will get even younger. The game against the Steelers felt like make or break. This game against the Falcons feels more like an opportunity even though the Browns could really use this win.