Steelers did well against Browns without their best lineup

Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

The Steelers did well without their best players against the Browns. This gives me hope for the playoffs.

The Steelers played the Browns and it looked before the game like the Steelers were throwing in the towel. Early in the week, it was reported that Mason Rudolph would be the Steelers starting quarterback. It seemed as though the Steelers didn’t care if they won the game.

The Black & Gold then showed less concern for the outcome when they sat their best players including TJ Watt and Cameron Heyward who did not practice all week despite the lack of a clear injury.

They were also able to rest some key players like Chris Boswell who is dealing with a groin injury. The good news is that Matthew Wright has been good in relief of Boswell and that puts my mind at ease going into the playoffs if the Steelers were to be without their starting kicker.

The offensive line got some rest with David DeCastro getting a day off and Maurkice Pouncey getting the week off. Mason Rudolph started the game and Josh Dobbs was used as a change of pace to confuse the defense. I think it worked better than their quarterback situation last year as Rudolph was able to move the ball well.

According to ESPN, Mason Rudolph was 22 of 39 for 315 yards passing. He also kept a good ratio of touchdowns to interceptions with 2 touchdowns and only 1 interception.

Josh Dobbs added something as he was 4 of 5 passing and also averaged ten yards per run. This team was able to move the ball without Roethlisberger and gave me some hope that Rudolph has improved since 2019.

The Steelers made the game close and their loss came after the Browns ran the clock out in the fourth quarter. The Steelers were in it until the end and almost came up with an onside kick at the end of the game.

Final Thoughts

This team was seemingly falling apart when they played the Colts but the halftime speech really jumpstarted this team again. The Steelers went from undefeated to the laughing stock of the NFL.

The play against Cleveland showed that this is a team with some depth and now they will be healthier going into the playoffs with rest to plenty of players on the team. Their stars of the pass rush, Cameron Heyward and TJ Watt got the week off; so, those guys should be rearing to go for the playoffs.

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One thing that came out of this game is that I thought the Steelers showed they could be competitive without Ben Roethlisberger. I think a lot of Steelers Nation lost faith in Mason Rudolph but it was regained against the Browns.