The Cleveland Browns have revenge on their minds for the second game in a row. Last week the Browns were able to avenge a loss to the Baltimore Ravens from earlier this season. Now it is time to pay back the Pittsburgh Steelers for what transpired during their week two Monday Night Football fiasco.
Only this time around, the revenge will have to come without their starting quarterback. Deshaun Watson has been shut down for the remainder of the season due to a broken bone in his throwing shoulder. However, the show must go on and the Steelers will not be looking to give their pity and condolences.
Now Cleveland hands the keys to the car over to Dorian Thompson-Robinson as he looks to steer a 6-3 team to the postseason. If the Browns are to make a drive to the playoffs, they will need to treat the Steelers like a speed bump this Sunday. Here are three matchups the Browns will need to exploit to defeat their bitter rivals.
Matchup No. 3: Dorian Thompson-Robinson vs Teryl Austin
Cleveland is hanging their hopes of playing deep into January on a fifth-round rookie. While that sentence may not comfort any Browns fans, it's the truth of the situation. But now, without the imminent return of Deshaun Watson, the Browns, and head coach Kevin Stefanski, will get to build around DTR’s unique abilities.
DTR is an amazing athlete with a cannon for an arm. But with that tremendous upside comes an equally unknown floor. It's Stefanski’s job to put DTR in the best possible position to maximize his talents while doing his best to mitigate his flaws.
However, it is the Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin’s job to expose DTR’s flaws and limit his strengths. Given the weapons at his disposal on the defensive line, Austin’s plan for the rookie most likely involves a healthy amount of pressure. But it's what Austin, and the Steelers, will do on the backend of their defense that could present DTR with the most problems. Confusion can slow any quarterback’s ability to diagnose a defense, so expect Austin to change the picture that DTR sees from pre-snap to post-snap early and often.
Austin’s defense is tied for the league lead in forced turnovers, and they lead the league in creating turnovers inside the red zone this season. So, for DTR the goal is simple, end all of your possessions in kicks in one way or another. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is going to be under constant pressure while trying to decode coverages. Is the rookie up for the challenge? We will all find out this Sunday at 1 pm.