Tue, 24 Nov 2020

Countdown to 2020: The Browns

The Steelers
08 Jul 2020, 06:30 GMT+10

Date: Oct. 28

Time: 1 p.m.

Venue: Heinz Field

Date: Jan. 3

Time: 1 p.m.

Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland

All-Time Regular-Season Series: Steelers lead. 74-59-1. The Steelers also lead the postseason series, 2-0.

Karl Roser/© Pittsburgh Steelers

Last Meeting: The Steelers extracted a measure of revenge for a 21-7 loss to the Browns in mid-November with a 21-13 victory over Cleveland on Dec. 1 at Heinz Field. QB Devlin Hodges went 14-for-21 passing for 212 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. WR James Washington had four receptions for 111 yards and a TD. The Steelers rallied after spotting the Browns an early 10-0 advantage.

Last Season: The Browns went 6-10 and finished third in the AFC North. Cleveland ranked 22nd in total offense (12th rushing, 22nd passing) and 22nd in total defense (30th rushing, seventh passing).

Since Then: Another new head coach (Kevin Stefanski) and another new general manager (Andrew Berry) have been hired. The Browns also aggressively sought upgrades along the offensive line, via the signing of 2016 First-Team All-Pro OT Jack Conklin (Tennessee) in unrestricted free agency and the drafting of Alabama OT Jedrick Wills )10th overall). Wills was the first of five Cleveland selections in the top 155 overall picks. The Browns also added another skill-position weapon with the signing of TE Austin Hooper (Atlanta) in unrestricted free agency.

Headliners: DE Myles Garrett is eligible to return from what ended up as a six-game suspension incurred for hitting Steelers QB Mason Rudolph with his hemet last Nov. 14 in Cleveland. Garrett, the first overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, has 30.5 sacks in 37 career regular-season games. QB Baker Mayfield enters his third season as the Browns' starter with 49 career touchdown passes and having thrown 35 interceptions in his first 30 games (29 starts). WR Jarvis Landry underwent off-season hip surgery. RB Nick Chubb finished No. 2 in the NFL in rushing in 2019, with 1,494 yards on 298 carries (a 5.0 average) and eight rushing touchdowns. Chubb surpassed 100 yards on the ground seven times last season, including a 165-yard effort in a 40-25 win on Sept. 29 at Baltimore (one of two regular-season losses for the Ravens).

Stat That Matters: Stefanski, formerly the Vikings' offensive coordinator, is the Browns' 11th head coach (including interim coaches who finished seasons) since the franchise resurrection in 1999. He follows Chris Palmer (1999-2000), Butch Davis (2001-04), Terry Robiskie (2004), Romeo Crennel (2005-08), Eric Mangini (2009-10), Pat Shurmur (20011-12), Rob Chudzinski (2013), Mike Pettine (2014-15), Hue Jackson (2016-18) and Gregg Williams (2018) to the Cleveland sideline.

Memorable Meeting: The Steelers enjoyed success on the ground (RB Barry Foster rushed for 133 yards and RB Bam Morris had 60) and through the air (QB Neil O'Donnell was 16-for-23 passing for 186 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions) in a 29-9, AFC Divisional Round domination of the Browns on Jan, 7, 1995 at Three Rivers Stadium. The game remains the only one in which the Steelers have beaten a Bill Belichick-coached team in the postseason (Belichick was in the fourth season of a five-year stint as the head coach in Cleveland).

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