The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 21-18 in a tightly contested game. The Steelers blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown just 2 minutes and 16 seconds into the game. The blocked punt seemed like an ominous start to the game, but the Browns competed real hard. These are not the same ‘ol Browns.
Kizer Up and Down
Browns’ rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer made his first career NFL start today and there ups and downs against the vaunted Steelers’ defense.
Kizer threw for 220 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for a touchdown on a quarterback sneak.
Let’s start with the positives. Kizer showed off his arm talent on a few throws. The velocity that Kizer has on his throws is very apparent. Unlike others that have had good velocity, Derrick Anderson and Brandon Weeden, Kizer also has touch allowing him to be accurate.
Kizer missed Duke Johnson on two long throws. Both needed more air under them. He also missed one to newcomer Kasen Williams. Williams did not know where he was running down the sideline. He caught the ball but was out of bounds.
Now the bad.
DeShone Kizer was sacked seven times today. While the offensive line did not play well, Kizer also held on to the ball too long at some points. Going forward, Kizer must develop the mental clock of when he should release the ball. If he doesn’t, Kizer has the potential to be injured by taking too many hits.
Speaking of too many hits, Kizer took a couple shots today that made me cringe. One resulted in a penalty on the Steelers after Kizer slid. The defender hit Kizer after he slid, drawing the penalty. The other was on a scramble by Kizer. He scrambled towards the sideline and made a cutback to get more yards. In doing so, he took another rough hit. Decisions like that are not good for a quarterback’s career.
Highly Invested In Offensive Line Struggles
The Cleveland Browns invested a truck load of money into the offensive line this offseason with re-signing Joel Bitonio and signing J.C. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler.
It is going to take some time for the new offensive line to gel as a unit. The right side of the line, Zeitler and second-year player Shon Coleman, both struggled against the blitz this afternoon.
There was one specific play where it seemed Zeitler picked the wrong guy on a blitz and the defender ate up Isaiah Crowell and got the sack.
Browns Defense shows promise
Even with the #1 Overall Pick Myles Garrett being out, the Browns’ defense only gave up 14 points today against the high-powered Steelers’ offense.
LeVeon Bell rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries. The run defense was stout. Joe Schobert had 9 tackles today. Not a bad first start.
The Browns only had one sack today but with no Myles Garrett, sacks were going to be hard to come by.
Garrett being out means that the depth of the defensive line takes a hit. With all of the blitzes that Gregg Williams sends, lack of depth hurts when guys are tired.
One player that really shined today was second-year safety Derek Kindred. Kindred was all over the football field today. He also had the Browns’ line takeaway today with an interception off of a tipped pass.
With a healthy Garrett, this defense is going to be fun to watch all season.
– Seth DeValve is becoming a very reliable target for Kizer. He seems to be catching anything that is coming his way.
– Corey Coleman also produced today with 5 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.
– The Steelers shot themselves in the foot with 13 penalties for 144 yards. The Browns had just 4 penalties for 61 yards.