The Cleveland Browns will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers and try to end 2016 on a high note. Here are four things we're watching during the game.
1. The first win of the season came in dramatic fashion for the Browns. Cleveland beat the Chargers, 20-17, on Christmas Eve after watching a San Diego field goal sail wide right as time expired.
Head coach Hue Jackson, though, said it’s time to turn the page after an emotional and upbeat week. “It was a huge game for us. I am not trying to downplay that by any stretch and our guys needed that win to validate a lot the things we have done, but at the same time, we all recognize and understand that it was one victory,” he said.
“Hopefully, it leads to bigger and better things for our football team. We all understand here is the next opportunity and can we go do this. That is my charge to them – can we do it again and walk out of here the right way and have the right feeling walking into the offseason?”
2. Robert Griffin is set to make his fourth start back from injury after being cleared from the concussion protocol Thursday morning.
Griffin, who combined for 206 yards against the Chargers before being knocked out early in the fourth quarter, said he hopes to have another “jump” in Pittsburgh after missing the previous three months with a broken bone in his shoulder.
“This game, you have to appreciate the game of football and respect the game of football. Being out for three months and coming back and playing was something that was extremely tough, but you have to be strong willed and strong minded to overcome that rust and to overcome missing throws early in that start,” he said.
“From each start, I think that I have personally played better, been more in rhythm and started to make plays the way that people are used to seeing me make plays.”
3. No Ben, no Bell, no Brown, no problem? Not quite.
Jackson downplayed the playoff-bound Steelers’ decision to sit stars in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown.
“We will know more when we walk out there. I will believe it when I see it.” Jackson said, laughing. “I am not going to worry about that. I am worried about us playing well. All I can do is coach our team.”
4. In an effort to put together the team’s best combination at offensive line, Jackson said there’s a possibility that starting center
“I am just trying different things and just trying to make the best decision as we move forward into the future,” Jackson said. “There are some things that I want to know and see in practice and kind of grow from there and see where this thing all shakes out at.”
He added: “It is important that any situation that we are not sure about, now is the time to find out as much as we can before the season is over so that we have some idea of what we have. Cam has done some good things at center. He is practicing some different spots this week. We will see where that leads this weekend.”