PFF Preview: Steelers @ Browns, Week 6
After completing the largest comeback in league history by a road team, some may wonder whether the Cleveland Browns (2-2) have what it takes to fend off the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) in what is sure to be another hard-fought AFC North battle.
Although the Browns have had an efficient run game, led by two rookie running backs in Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, they received a boost in Week 5 with the addition of Ben Tate who hadn’t played since being forced out against the Steelers in Week 1 due to injury.
Tate, who seems to have reclaimed the starting running back role, was one of just 11 running backs to finish Week 5 with a positive run grade. On his way to an exceptional outing, Tate earned a lot of his yards on his own, as he collected 3.14 yards after contact per attempt and forced seven missed tackles (tied for first), on his way to an Elusive Rating of 109.1. In comparison to West and Crowell, Tate has produced an elusive rating of 73.9 on the year compared to Wests’ 40.8 and Crowell’s 18.7.
After being gashed for 183 yards in Week 1 against the Browns, the Steelers’ front-seven needs to be weary of Tate and Cleveland’s improved rushing attack. Key to stopping Cleveland’s ground game are a pair of Steelers defenders, specifically Lawrence Timmons and Steve McLendon. Timmons has been Pittsburgh’s best defender against the run this season, logging 20 tackles, 15 stops, and a Run Stop Percentage of 14.7%, all team-highs. McLendon has also stood out as he has been credited with seven stops and has generated a Run Stop Percentage of 11.5%, ranking in the Top 15 among defensive tackles in both categories.
Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
Justin Brown – Brown, who has lined up for 145 passing plays, has run 77.9% of his routes out of the slot, the 12-highest slot percentage in the league.
Ben Roethlisberger – With an Accuracy Percentage of 79.5%, Roethlisberger has one of the highest percentages in the league.
LeGarrette Blount – Blount, who is tied for ninth with four runs of 15+ yards, has a Breakaway Percentage of 54.3%, seventh in the league and five spots ahead of Le’Veon Bell.
Brian Hoyer – With an average of 3.68 seconds to throw the ball before getting sacked, Hoyer is ranked 10th in the league.
Andrew Hawkins – Although Hawkins has been targeted a team-high 35 times, he has yet to catch a touchdown pass and has a WR Rating (passer rating on throws to him) of 79.6, the worst on the team.
Jabaal Sheard – With a Pass Rush Productivity of 11.0, Sheard ranks 16th among 3-4 outside linebackers.
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