While he was the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, Hue Jackson was considered one of the hottest head coaching candidates in the NFL. People viewed him as a genius when it comes to figuring out how to score points. In his first year with the Cleveland Browns, he has yet to pick up a victory. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, the outcome was the same. The Steelers defeated the Browns by a score of 24-9, as reported by ESPN.
Coming into the game against the Cleveland Browns, superstar quarterback Ben Roethlisberger knew that it was a must-win situation for the Pittsburgh Steelers, even though they were up against a team that has lost every single game thus far during the 2016 NFL regular season. That was because the Steelers were sitting on a 4-5 record. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they are playing in a very weak division, so a chance at the playoffs was still a possibility.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense received the memo. They knew that they needed to step up, even though they were not going up against one of the elite offensive squads in the NFL. Steelers defenders responded with eight sacks, which made it extremely hard for the Cleveland Browns to build up any sort of momentum on the offensive side of the ball.
Things were pretty rough for the Cleveland Browns at the quarterback position when they learned that Robert Griffin III, whom they signed as a highly-publicized free agent over the summer, went down with a severe injury. The Browns had to resort to playing rookie Cody Kessler at the position. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was forced out of the game with a concussion.
This is the second concussion suffered by Cody Kessler on the season. After the game, Hue Jackson seemed a bit concerned, openly wondering if his quarterback needed to be shut down for the rest of the season. Kessler’s long term health is more important than trying to pick up the first victory of the season.
To get an example of how bad the AFC North is as a division, the Baltimore Ravens came into Sunday in first place with a 5-4 record. They dropped to 5-5 after losing to the dominant Dallas Cowboys. By beating the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers managed to move into a tie for first place. They might end up as one of those teams that make it to the NFL Playoffs without a winning record.
Of course, the Pittsburgh Steelers do not care what their record is if they can make it to the postseason. The team has won two Super Bowls with Ben Roethlisberger, which is two more than most people had predicted for the franchise.
For years, the Pittsburgh Steelers were feared throughout the NFL because they were able to break down defenses by running the ball with power and suffocating offenses with tough defense. That has not always been the case this season. The Steelers only had 13 total sacks coming into the game against the Cleveland Browns. Picking up the additional eight sacks was something of a pleasant surprise.
Le’Veon Bell provided the tough yardage on the ground on Sunday. His 146 yards enabled the defense to stay on the sidelines for as long as possible. Bell also ate up a lot of the clock, which kept the Cleveland Browns offense from being able to pick up much momentum. He is considered one of the best running backs in the NFL, and Sunday was evidence of that.
Things are getting pretty ugly for the Cleveland Browns, and Hue Jackson might not be back on the sidelines next year.
[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]