The Ugly: The Offensive Line Was Outmatched
The Cleveland Browns have a fantastic defensive front. They will get theirs. But that doesn't discount just how badly the offensive line played.
What few plays Najee Harris made in the run game were on the edge with him creating for himself. One of his biggest runs came when he mimicked Jerome Ford to cross the field in the third quarter because there was nowhere to run. Jaylen Warren ran tough all night, but his positive carries came in similar situations where he made chicken salad.
There are no rushing lanes to run through in this offense for the backs. Harris isn't playing well, but the narrative of poor blocking in front of him isn't fabricated. The performance we saw from this unit after the BYE Week last year is not being replicated and the rushing attack is suffering as a result.
In the four-minute offense to close the game, the Steelers' front was unable to create room for Harris or Pickett while Warren's seven-yard rush was of his own making.
Then there's the pass protection. Pickett was sacked twice for a loss of 22 yards. The yardage lost has more to do with poor decisions from Pickett, but the pressures were mounting and the young quarterback was trying to make a play. The offensive line is liable to shoulder some of the blame for his performance, which is why the offensive line lands in the ugly category.