The Browns failed to finish off the Steelers on Monday.
The Browns lost a heartbreaker to the Steelers on Monday that saw James Hudson get wrecked, Baker Mayfield gets smashed, Kevin Stefanski gets bashed, and a whole host of other just awful sequences that played out. Cleveland is now going to have yet another losing season, and while a lot of that falls to Covid outbreaks and injures, poor preparation is also a big factor.
It’s a factor that we saw once again on Monday night.
That said, not everyone looked lost and scared on the field. Several players actually played well and dare I say, impressed. These aren’t all of them, just the five I think deserve the most attention.
The five players who did their job on Monday vs. The Steelers
Having just three receptions off five targets against the Steelers, Donovan Peoples-Jones did a heck of a job making the most out of his opportunities. He finished with a team-high 75 yards and showed glimpses of being a valuable piece for next season.
Last season I was rightfully very hard on David Njoku, but now facing the prospect that the former first-round tight end could leave in free agency, leaving us with Austin Hooper, I’m now far more appreciative of his skills. Catching one of two touchdown passes on Monday night, Njoku has been one of the few consistent big-play guys in the passing game all year and hopefully will return in 2022.
The technically second-year player Grant Delpit has not had a great year. While the NFL does not officially recognize him as a rookie (say as the NBA would), Delpit is essentially a rookie. He’s not had a great year but he had a nice game against the Steelers. He racked up 11 tackles and one for a loss, and while you can argue that’s because the Steelers picked on him a lot, I’ll also point out that he stuck every guy in his tackle radius and did a good job of not whiffing. That has been an issue in the past for our secondary.
If I told you that corner-turned-safety M.J. Stewart would be the Browns’ best safety in 2021, would you believe me? Stewart had seven tackles and has shown an increasing ability to cover guys as the season has gone on, helping the Browns with the easy choice of letting Ronnie Harrison fall victim to the Sarlacc Pit that is NFL Free Agency.
Jadeveon Clowney is one of the most penalized players on the Browns this year, and that’s saying something. Clowney had a bone-headed move that was costly after he threw Chase Claypool’s shoe after a third-down stoppage, but he also did have two sacks. That in itself is impressive as he hasn’t been getting many sacks throughout the year with a healthy Myles Garrett across from him, so for him to do so with a hobbled Garrett is a nice sign.