NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: CLEVELAND BROWNS (11-5) AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (12-4)
WILD CARD // SUNDAY, JAN. 10, 2021 // 8:15 PM ET // HEINZ FIELD // REFEREE: SHAWN SMITH
LEADER: Steelers lead all-time series, 2-0
STREAKS: Steelers have won past 2
LAST GAME: 1/5/03: Browns 33 at Steelers 36
LAST GAME AT SITE: 1/5/03
REGULAR SEASON HISTORY:
LEADER: Steelers lead all-time series, 75-60-1
STREAKS: Steelers have won 2 of past 3
LAST GAME: 1/3/21: Steelers 22 at Browns 24
LAST GAME AT SITE: 10/18/20: Steelers 38, Browns 7
BROWNS earned postseason berth for 1st time since 2002 & won 11 games for 1st time since 1994. • KEVIN STEFANSKI makes postseason debut as HC. • CLEVELAND had 3 players named to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: G JOEL BITONIO, RB NICK CHUBB & DE MYLES GARRETT. • BROWNS OFFENSE ranked 3rd in NFL with 148.4 rush yards per game in 2020, most by Cle. since 1978 (155.5). • BROWNS DEFENSE ranked tied-6th in AFC with 38 sacks, 3rdconsecutive season with 35+ sacks.
QB BAKER MAYFIELD passed for 3,563 yards & 26 TDs vs. career-low 8 INTs for career-high 95.9 rating in 2020. Joined ANDREW LUCK & PEYTON MANNING as only players in NFL history with 3,500+ pass yards & 20+ TD passes in each of 1st 3 seasons. Passed for 196 yards & TD vs. 0 INTs for 97.1 rating in Week 17 meeting. Has 13 TDs vs. INT for 117.1 rating in his past 5 on road. Makes 1st-career postseason start. • RB NICK CHUBB rushed for 1,067 yards & career-high 12 TDs, becoming 1st Cle. RB with 1,000+ rush yards in consecutive seasons since JAMAL LEWIS (2007-08). Aims for his 7th in row with rush TD. Rushed for 108 yards & TD in Week 17 meeting. Aims for his 5th in row vs. Pit. with 75+ scrimmage yards. RB KAREEM HUNT rushed for TD in only career playoff game (1/6/18 vs. Ten., with KC). Chubb (1,217) & Hunt (1,145) were only pair of RB teammates each w/ 1,000+ scrimmage yards in 2020. • WR JARVIS LANDRY aims for his 6th in row with 5+ catches & 50+ rec. yards. Aims for 4th in row on road with TD catch. Had 11 catches for 102 yards in only career postseason game (1/8/17 vs. Pit., with Mia.). WR RASHARD HIGGINS had career-high 599 rec. yards in 2020. Had rec. TD in last road meeting. Aims for 3rd in row on road with 75+ rec. yards. TE AUSTIN HOOPER had TD catch in Week 17 meeting & has rec. TD in 2 of past 3. • DE MYLES GARRETT led team with 12 sacks in 2020. Aims for his 4th in row at Pit. with sack. Has sack in 5 of his past 6 on road. LB B.J. GOODSON led team with career-high 91 tackles. Had 9 tackles & 0.5 sacks in last road meeting. CB DENZEL WARD tied2nd in NFL with career-high 18 PD. Aims for 4th in row with PD.
STEELERS won AFC North for 1st time since 2017. • MIKE TOMLIN makes 9th postseason appearance. Led Pittsburgh to SB XLIII championship in 2008. • PITTSBURGH had 5 players named to 2021 Pro Bowl roster: G DAVID DECASTRO, S MINKAH FITZPATRICK, DT CAMERON HEYWARD, C MAURKICE POUNCEY & LB T.J. WATT. • STEELERS OFFENSE allowed 14 sacks in 2020, fewest in NFL and fewest by Pit. in SB era. • PITTSBURGH DEFENSE led NFL with 56 sacks.
QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER passed for 3,803 yards & 33 TDs vs. 10 INTs for 94.1 rating in 2020, his 10th-career season with 3,500+ pass yards. Passed for 162 yards & TD vs. 0 INTs for 100.9 rating in last home meeting. Had 18 TDs vs. 3 INTs for 99.9 rating in 8 home games this season. Aims for his 3rd in row in postseason with 300+ pass yards. Ranks 5th in NFL history with 5,256 career postseason pass yards (250.3 per game). • RB JAMES CONNER rushed for 101 yards & TD in last home meeting. Has 314 scrimmage yards (157 per game) & 3 rush TDs in 2 career home games vs. Cle. Had rush TD in 5 of his 6 home games this season. RB BENNY SNELL had career-high 4 rush TDs in 2020. Aims for 3rd in row at home vs. Cle. with rush TD. • WR JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER had career-high 9 rec. TDs in 2020. Aims for 3rd in row with TD catch. Aims for his 5th in row at home with 7+ catches. Had rec. TD in only career postseason game (1/14/18 vs. Jax.). WR DIONTAE JOHNSON set career highs in catches (88), rec. yards (923) & rec. TDs (7). Had 96 rec. yards in Week 17 meeting. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with 70+ rec. yards & TD catch. WR CHASE CLAYPOOL led rookies with 9 rec. TDs this season, tied-most by rookie in franchise history. Had 5 catches for 101 yards & TD in Week 17 meeting. • LB T.J. WATT led NFL with career-high 15 sacks & 23 TFL. Has sack in 6 of 7 career games vs. Cle. Aims for his 5th in row at home with sack & 3rd in row at home with FF. DE STEPHON TUITT had career-high 11 sacks in 2020. Aims for 4th in row with sack. S MINKAH FITZPATRICK led team with 4 INTs. Had INT-TD in last home meeting. Aims for his 4th in row vs. Cle. with PD.
ON THE AIRWAVES TV: NBC/Telemundo/Peacock (8:15 PM ET): Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (field reporter) NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan & Tony Boselli SIRIUS: 82 (Cle), 211 (Pit) | XM: 226 (Cle), 225 (Pit), 88 (National)