Steelers sensed Browns’ offensive frustration, fed off it

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The Steelers failed to register a convincing win in their first four games against bad teams. So, obviously, they dismantled on Sunday the best team they’ve seen all year.

The defense led the way on Sunday against the Browns, as it has all year. Per the NFL, Pittsburgh’s four sacks and two interceptions matched the 1985 Giants as the only teams in league history with at least three sacks and one interception in each of the first five games of a season.

After the 38-7 win over Cleveland, Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward spoke with PFT by phone. Among other things, he was asked whether the Steelers sensed the frustration being displayed by the Browns’ offense.

“We definitely feed off of that, because as a defense we start thinking we can create an avalanche effect,” Heyward said. “If it’s one thing after the next. As a defense you can keep rolling that way. Then it turns into a pick six. It gives us a chance to provide short fields for our offense and you’re fighting an uphill climb. For a defense if you can do that to an offense you’re gonna have a lot of success.”

Success against the Browns began with shutting down the best rushing attack in football.

“We had to get off the bus stopping the run,” Heyward said. “And if we felt like if we could stop the run then we could throw the kitchen sink at them and make sure we knew where they were gonna go when they passed the ball. They were averaging like almost 200 yards rushing on the ground. For us, if we could put them in situations where they had to pass and they couldn’t rely on a good play-action, we felt like we could really take advantage of that.”

And they did, moving to 5-0 and setting a showdown with the 5-0 Titans next Sunday in Nashville.