The Good, Bad, and Ugly column is a breakdown of several segments of each game into each of a grading category of "good", "bad", or "ugly". To get to the nitty gritty, Joe Kuzma dissects three moments from each game which could be best classified as each of those labels.
Good – James Washington TD catch
Steelers Ball: 2nd Quarter 1:48 - 1st-and-10 CLV 30
This is by far the best play of the game, because it changed the momentum in the Steelers favor.
Following the Boswell field goal, the Steelers offense got another shot at points before halftime after the defense forced a three-and-out on the Browns. Receiving the ball at their own 31 with 1:48 left in the second quarter, the Steelers would drive 69 yards in 5 plays, capped off by an incredible touchdown reception by James Washington, who was interfered with not once but twice on the play and still came up with the ball.
The game would be tied 10-all going into halftime with the Steelers receiving to start the second half, and feeling as if they could definitely win this game despite going down ten points early to the Browns.
Bad – Duck's INT
Steelers Ball: 4th Quarter 7:30 - 1st-and-10 PIT 25
Mike Tomlin was somewhat chided for a comment made in his press conference last Tuesday about Duck Hodges: “He has not killed us.”
That statement almost came back to bite the Steelers, and also put a damper on a solid performance by the undrafted rookie quarterback.
The Browns culminated a 7-play, 61-yard drive with a field goal, closing the score to within seven points with Pittsburgh leading 20-13. The Steelers offense took the field again and on their very first play following Cleveland’s possession, is when disaster struck, as Hodges threw an interception, which was returned to the Steelers 30-yard line. Whether the pick was a result of a wrong route run or miscommunication with WR Diontae Johnson is debatable, but it happened.
And at a bad time to do so.
Fortunately, the Steelers defense would suffocate the Browns offense and force a 3-and-out, as well as push them out of field goal range: in other words, it didn’t end up “killing” the Steelers. (But it could have!)
Ugly – "False Start"
Steelers Ball: 2nd Quarter 4:10 - 2nd-and-7 CLV 19
I could’ve picked a play or two early on, where the Steelers forgot how to tackle on a Browns touchdown, but this particular instance takes the cake.
The Steelers were driving, down 10-0 in the second quarter, with their best offensive effort in the game thus far… and then the referees killed it with a bogus false start call on the quarterback, where Devlin Hodges didn’t even move!
The play set the Steeler back five yards, to 2nd-and-12, and changed their play calling, stalled the drive, and ended with a 39-yard Chris Boswell field goal instead of, what could’ve been a 3rd-and-short following a Kerrith Whyte 3-yard gain.
Instead, the bogus call (in which you could visibaly see Mike Tomlin mouth “BULLS***” to a sideline official) derailed the Steelers best drive of the game at that time. Unreal.