The “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” as Steelers season stifled at hands of Browns
Following every Pittsburgh Steelers game, Travis Newton takes a no-holds-barred, unabashed look at what went well, not so good, and just plain ugly. Here is this week’s edition of the “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”
JuJu Smith-Schuster Touchdown Reception
Steelers Ball: 3rd Quarter 3:01 – 4th-and-5 CLV 5
Down by 19 points and nearing the 4th Quarter, the Steelers offense was desperate for points as they looked to make a miracle comeback. Ben Roethlisberger targeted his most consistent receiver on the 4th-and-goal play when he went in the direction of JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Smith-Schuster lined up for the play on the right side of the Steelers’ offense. On the snap, he made an inside move and ran a crossing route against the flow of the Cleveland defense. Roethlisberger delivered a strike to Smith-Schuster finding him with a step on his defender and connected for the touchdown.
The touchdown was the cherry on top of what was a phenomenal game for JuJu Smith-Schuster. He finished with 13 receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown, making the Steelers’ decision for what to do with the young receiver even tougher as he seeks a new contract in the offseason.
Ben Roethlisberger Interception
Steelers Ball: 4th Quarter 3:25 – 1st-and-10 PIT 40
It very well may be the end of an era for Pittsburgh as they will have to address the question of who will start under center next season. There is plenty of time in the offseason for speculation about what Roethlisberger will do and who should be the next starting quarterback, but plays like this one from Big Ben can certainly cause Steelers faithful to be ready to move on from the quarterback who brought so much success to the Steel City.
Linebacker, Sione Takitaki dropped into coverage on the snap taking away the middle zone. Roethlisberger never picked up the linebacker in coverage as he threw it late across the middle, looking for Eric Ebron. Roethlisberger delivered the ball right to the hands of Takitaki as he made the interception then dashed for 23 more yards, sealing the victory for the Cleveland Browns.
This was the fourth interception of the night for Roethlisberger, leaving many questions about whether he can still play the game efficiently at the highest level.
Maurkice Pouncey Bad Snap
Steelers Ball: 1st Quarter 14:54 – 1st-and10 PIT 22
Only six seconds had elapsed off of the game clock before disaster ensued for the Steelers when nine-time Pro-Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey sailed the opening offensive snap over the head of Roethlisberger.
The arid snap proceeded to roll toward the Steelers’ endzone with an effort made by James Conner to save the possession. However, Conner failed to scoop up the fumble and the Browns jumped on it to score the first touchdown of the game.
The play left Pittsburgh supporters in disbelief as the veteran center suffered from the yips in the season’s biggest game. There were several snaps by Pouncey in the game that were off target, but none more costly than the blunder on the opening drive.