Cheat Sheet: Steelers at Browns


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The Steelers travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
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The Steelers and Browns have met 144 times dating back to 1950. Of those 144 matchups, only three have been in the postseason. Pittsburgh is 2-1 in the playoffs against the Browns. Overall, this series sits at 81-62-1 in Pittsburgh's favor. Cleveland started off with an eight-game winning streak, won 12 of the first 13 contests, and only had two losses out of the first 18 times these teams squared off. Starting in December of 1962, the tides greatly turned to the Steelers' favor. The Browns won just four games between that point and October of 1983. Even more extreme, starting in January of 1994, Pittsburgh won 43 of the next 51 games with a tie thrown in during that time, including a 26-22 Week 2 victory. The Steelers have won four of the last five meetings. Mike Tomlin's career record vs. Cleveland is 26-6-1. Since 2007, the Steelers have outscored Cleveland by 277 points in these head-to-head matchups.


  • The Browns are 4-1 at home, while Pittsburgh is 2-1 on the road this season. Both teams are on a two-game winning streak. The first time the Browns were leading in last week's win over Baltimore was when the clock hit 0:00. Pittsburgh is 13-5 its last 18 games.
  • Cleveland has outscored its opponents by 44 points, while the Steelers have been outscored this season by 26.
  • The Steelers are 6-0 in games decided by one score or less. The Steelers now have nine-straight victories in one-score games. Their record in such games with Kenny Pickett as the starter is 11-3, which is best among active quarterbacks with at least five career starts.
  • Pittsburgh's plus-10 turnover differential is the best in the NFL. The Browns are minus-44. The Steelers have the most turnovers created (18) in the NFL, but Cleveland isn't far behind with 15. Pittsburgh has 10 interceptions compared to nine for the Browns. Only the Chargers have recovered more fumbles than Pittsburgh's defense. Cleveland has turned the ball over 19 times, the most in the league. The Chargers are the only team with fewer turnovers than the Steelers (8). The Raiders are the only offense with more interceptions than Cleveland while the Steelers have lost just two fumbles, the fewest in the NFL.
  • In the most recent meeting, a Steelers win, Pittsburgh turned the ball over twice. However, the Browns turned it over four times, missed a field goal, and were 0 for 2 on fourth downs. In that game, Pittsburgh scored 26 points despite never snapping the ball inside the Browns 30-yard line. 
  • In the 22 career games in which Pickett has appeared in, the Steelers are 2-6 in games in which he has thrown an interception and 11-3 in games he has not.
  • Only three offenses produce fewer yards per drive than Cleveland and five produce fewer than the Steelers.
  • The Browns possess the football this year for 34:12 on average, easily the highest in the NFL. And over their past three games, Cleveland averages 35:46.
  • The Browns have produced 64 more first downs than they have allowed. They have 98 more rushing attempts, as well. They produce 90.1 more yards per game than they allow. But what really stands out is that Cleveland's offense has been on the field for 166 more plays than their defense, which is 18.4 more plays per game. Not only is Cleveland's plus-166 play differential the best in the NFL, but the next best team is at plus-83.
  • Since both entered the league in 2017, T.J. Watt (88) and Myles Garrett (85.5) lead the NFL in sacks. Watt is also first in quarterback hits and forced fumbles and second in tackles for loss. Garrett is third, fifth and fourth respectively in these categories. During that time, Watt has appeared in 96 career games compared to 93 by Garrett.
  • Games involving Cleveland are averaging a league-low 336.4 combined passing yards per game.
  • The Browns outrushed Pittsburgh by 143 yards earlier this year.
  • The Steelers and Browns are both 4-0 this season when scoring first.
  • Based off current EPA, only four teams have an easier schedule going forward than the Browns.


  • Pittsburgh's offense averages 4.8 yards per game and the Browns allow 4.5, but the Steelers averaged 5.4 yards per play in each of their most recent two games and Cleveland gave up 6.1 yards per play last week.
  • Of the Steelers offensive snaps, 78 percent have come out of 11 Personnel (1 RB/1 TE), the fifth-highest percentage any offense has utilized any personnel grouping.
  • The Browns defense is best in the league in yards, punts and three-and-outs per drive, second in points per drive and third in touchdowns per drive.
  • Over his past seven games, Pickett has only thrown one interception. During that stretch, he has attempted 177 passes. He also has 147 consecutive passes without an interception. Houston's C.J. Stroud is the only quarterback in the league who has thrown at least 90 passes that has fewer interceptions than Pickett.
  • Over his last 17 starts, Pickett is averaging 6.4 yards per attempt with 11 touchdown passes.
  • Pickett has the second-highest deep passing rate in the first quarters this season.
  • Of all the quarterbacks this season that have attempted 200 or more passes, Pickett has the fewest attempts (49) and completions (26) to the middle of the field. The Browns defense has allowed the fewest (36) completions in the middle of the field this year.
  • Cleveland's defense is giving up the league's best completion percentage at 49.4%. The Browns also are the best in the league against receivers aligned on the outside with a completion percentage of 47.3%. Diontae Johnson has been targeted on the outside 23 times since returning in Week 7, the most in the league during that time.
  • George Pickens had the Steelers most receiving yards with just 45 against Green Bay. Over his past three games, Pickens has been targeted just 14 times, producing 68 receiving yards. Pickens has now been targeted on 17.6% of his routes with Johnson on the field compared to 23% with him off.
  • The Browns have given up just 80 total receiving yards to tight ends this year not named Mark Andrews. Cleveland also allows the third-fewest yards per game to opposing wide receivers.
  • Over the first five games of the season, Najee Harris was being targeted on 13% of his routes run. Since then, that number has shot up to 33%. Of the 50 running backs during that stretch with at least 40 routes run, only Aaron Jones is being targeted at a higher percentage. Over the course of the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Harris saw a target on 19% of his routes. Of all running backs that have a minimum of 20 targets, Jaylen Warren's 1.7 yards per route run is fifth-best in the league. He also has the most forced missed tackles of all qualified running backs as a pass catcher. Warren has been targeted on 30.7% of his routes - only Alvin Kamara is higher among running backs with 100 or more routes run.
  • Garrett's 11 sacks are eight more than any other Browns defender. However, Cleveland has 12 different players with at least half a sack this season. The Browns are sacking opposing quarterbacks on 10.6% of their dropbacks, the highest percentage in the NFL. Garrett has a sack on 4.3% of his pass rushing snaps. That is the highest in the NFL and well above AJ Epenesa, who is second at 3.8%. Garrett is the fourth player since 1982 with 10-plus sacks in six of his first seven seasons.
  • The Steelers ran for a season-high 205 yards against Green Bay after running for their previous season-high the week before against the Titans. Harris and Warren combined for 183 rushing yards last week and both scored while averaging over 5.0 yards per carry. Warren set his career high in rushing against Green Bay with his first career 100-yard game. In terms of EPA added for an entire game, only two running backs in the league provided more than Warren and only nine provided more than Harris last week. Warren has produced 223 total yards over the past two games. He has received double-digit rushing attempts in both games after averaging 6.4 rush attempts before.
  • During the past two weeks, Warren leads the NFL with nine runs of 10-plus yards. Warren's 14 runs of 10-plus yards is the NFL's sixth-most despite Warren being 39th in number of carries.
  • A stellar 28.2% of Warren's runs have resulted in a first down. Only six qualified runners of any kind are better. Harris averages 2.0 yards gained after first contact. Of all runners of any sort with at least 50 carries, Harris is seventh-best in this regard. Harris has 520 career yards from scrimmage in his five games against Cleveland and a touchdown in four of those contests.
  • Harris and Warren are the only pair of running back teammates with 575-plus yards from scrimmage apiece.
  • Through the first seven games of the season, the Steelers averaged 79.7 rushing yards per game and averaged 3.4 yards per carry. In the last two contests, that has spiked to 185.5 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry. Also, from Weeks 1 to 7, the Steelers were 30th in yards before contact per rushing attempt. Since then, they are second-best.
  • Of the Steelers rushing yardage, 6.5%, comes from runs of 15-plus yards. Only the Dolphins and 49ers are higher. Of the rushing yardage allowed by the Browns, 6.9% comes on such runs. Only the Broncos and Bengals give up a higher parentage.
  • Cleveland had allowed just two rushing touchdowns to running backs this season before giving up two to the Ravens last week. However, in that game, they gave up a 39-yard run to Keaton Mitchell. Other than that, the Ravens rushed for just 67 yards on 23 remaining carries. The most rushing yards a running back has had against Cleveland this year is 75. The Browns have hit opposing rushers behind the line of scrimmage at a 55.1% clip, the best in the league.
  • Last week Harris and Warren each played 33 of a possible 65 offensive snaps and Conner Heyward and Darnell Washington played 34 and 33 respectively.
  • Only five defenses are worse in red zone efficiency than Cleveland.
  • Per EPA, only the Colts offense has faced a tougher slate of opponents than Pittsburgh thus far. The Browns defense is first in the NFL in EPA and success rate-both by a wide margin.


  • Cleveland's offense averages just 4.6 yards per play, but they are at 4.9 over their past three games. The Steelers give up 5.6 for the season.
  • Of the Browns offensive snaps this season, 10.6% have featured an extra offensive lineman, which is the most in the league. They've also used 01 Personnel (0 RB/1 TE) at the league's highest rate. In turn, the Browns are 31st in their usage of 12 Personnel (1 RB/2 TE).
  • The Steelers defense has faced 21 Personnel (2 RB/1 TE) at the league's highest rate and 11 Personnel (1 RB/1 TE) at the league's 26th highest rate.
  • Only the Ravens and 49ers are running the ball a higher percentage of their snaps than Cleveland.
  • The Browns are completing just 52.1% of their pass attempts, the lowest percentage in the NFL. Only three offenses have a higher average depth of target (8.93) than Cleveland though. Just three defenses are allowing a lower completion percentage (54.5%) than the Steelers, and only the Bengals are seeing a higher average depth of target (9.56).
  • Only the Eagles and Broncos hold the ball longer per pass attempt than Cleveland.
  • Rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson attempted 36 passes in his one start this season against Baltimore, completing 19 for 121 yards, completing just 52.8% of his throws. He took four sacks, didn't throw a touchdown, and was intercepted four times. Thompson-Robinson has a yards per attempt of 3.51, passer rating of 28.0, average depth of target of 9.4 and average time to throw of 2.91 seconds.
  • Not only does Cooper's 715 receiving yards lead the team, but it is 338 yards more than any other Browns pass catcher. Cooper has the 11th-most receiving yards in the NFL and has already had his bye week. Cooper has accounted for 43.6% of the Browns air yards, fifth-most in the NFL.
  • With Watson at quarterback, Cooper averaged 7.8 targets, 5.6 receptions, 96 receiving yards, .4 touchdowns as opposed to 8.3 targets, 3.3 catches, 58.8 receiving yards and zero touchdowns with other Browns quarterbacks.
  • Tight end David Njoku has now produced 50-plus receiving yards in three of his last four games after not gaining 50 in any of his first five games this year. Njoku has more yards after the catch than any tight end in the league despite already having his bye week. Since Week 4, Njoku only five tight ends have a better target share (22.4%) and target rate per route run (23.5%). And Njoku leads all NFL tight ends with a target share of 34.5% in the red zone. The Steelers have allowed just one touchdown to a tight end though.
  • With Watson at quarterback, Njoku averaged 5.2 targets, 4 receptions, 35.2 receiving yards as opposed to 7 targets, 4.5 catches, 50.3 receiving yards with other Browns quarterbacks.
  • Watt now has the second most sacks (88) in NFL history in a player's first 100 games behind only Reggie White. Watt has played 96 career games. Nick Bosa is the only player in the league with more quarterback hits than Watt this year. Watt has 16 career sacks in his 11 games vs. the Browns.
  • The Browns ran for 178 yards against Baltimore last week.
  • Jerome Ford averages 4.3 yards per carry compared to 3.3 for Kareem Hunt. Nick Chubb was at 6.1 in this offense before getting injured in Week 2 against the Steelers. Ford saw 64% of the snaps last week and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. However, 25.8% of Ford's runs this year have failed to gain yardage. That is the highest rate of any running back with 100 or more carries. But Ford is also sixth in the NFL with 289 of his yards on gains of 10 or more yards.
  • AJ Dillon had a 40-yard run last week, but other than that play, he and Aaron Jones combined for 65 yards on 21 carries.
  • Pittsburgh's 40.7% red zone efficiency is better than every defense except Tampa Bay, Tennessee and Baltimore. And the Steelers lead the NFL with five red zone interceptions. They also have eight passes defensed in the red zone, which is the second most.
  • Over their past five games, the Steelers defense is allowing 1.55 points per drive. That is fifth-best over the stretch.


  • Through nine games, these are the Steelers leaders in special teams snaps: Nick Herbig (186), Mark Robison (172), Miles Boykin and Miles Killebrew (169), James Pierre and Elijah Riley (168), Conner Heyward (135) and Chandon Sullivan (118).
  • The Browns have attempted 27 field goals this year, making 24. But their opponents have collectively only attempted a field goal 13 times, making just eight of those. Pittsburgh's opponents have attempted five more field goals than the Steelers.
  • Chris Boswell has missed just one kick this season and is perfect from within 60 yards.


January 10th, 2021: Wild Card Game: Browns 48, Steelers 37, Heinz Field

Not to bring up bad memories for Steelers fans, but let's go back about one year ago and rehash the last time the Browns came to Pittsburgh. This one of course didn't go as the Steelers would have liked it started in tragic fashion when Maurkice Pouncey snapped the ball over Ben Roethlisberger's head, which put the Steelers behind from the start. Cleveland took a 35-10 lead into halftime. But Pittsburgh outscored the Browns 27-13 in the second half. Roethlisberger threw for 501 yards in that game, but the Steelers came up just short. The irony of this game is if the Steelers won in Week 17 in Cleveland — a game in which Pittsburgh rested many key starters and still only lost 24-22 — the Browns don't get in the playoffs to begin with. The following Sunday, the Browns traveled to Kansas City and lost a close game to the Chiefs.


Browns CB Amari Cooper vs. Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr. - Will the Steelers stick Porter on Cooper? It certainly will not be an exclusive matchup, but these two will see plenty of one another. Earlier this season, Cooper was targeted 10 times and finished the day with seven catches for 90 yards. Last week, he was targeted nine times and caught six for 98 yards. He's clearly the Browns top receiver. Over his career, Cooper's production at home is also much greater than on the road.

Steelers OT Broderick Jones vs. Browns DE Myles Garrett - Garrett will rush from the right and left sides of the line of scrimmage. The Browns even rush him from an off the ball position. The Steelers are very familiar with what Garrett brings to the table, but their first-round rookie offensive tackle is not. Garrett didn't have a sack in the first meeting but did have a sack and a half last week.