One major way attacking the quarterback could backfire is through short screen passes. Coupled with the fact that Cleveland hasn’t successfully defended a screen all year, Pittsburgh’s tendency to dial up several screens every game presents a danger. With a talented back in Bell, the Steelers are perfectly set up to be one of the better screen pass offenses in the game.
This doesn’t mean that the Browns should back off of their relentless pressure on Roethlisberger, but it is a play they should be extra careful of.
On second down, Pittsburgh’s favorite down to throw a screen pass, the Browns should dedicate a linebacker to the running back coming out of the backfield. They shouldn’t worry so much about how many yards are gained on the play, but it should be their goal to stop the recipient of the pass before he reaches the secondary every time. If this happens, Pittsburgh will be less likely to throw them later in the game.
Of course, another solution to the threat of the screen pass is to throw Pittsburgh off-balance. These plays are clearly within the Steelers’ comfort zone, so having a lead in the game will reduce them. Also, if the Browns can prevent the Steelers from staying ahead of the sticks, they are much less likely to be dealt a strong dose of screen passes.
Throwing Pittsburgh off-schedule is one way of throwing them off-balance. This must be achieved in order for the Browns to defend the screen pass, which is necessary for a competitive contest.