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Hidden Play: Week 8 vs Cleveland

Games are full of special moments.  Most are easy to see and are part of the highlight reel each week.  Some moments happen just out of the limelight of the big play, but without their efforts those big plays don’t happen.  These hidden plays can be a block, a pressure, a tip, or football IQ creating the impact that is the difference between success and failure.

This week I want to focus on momentum.  The tide in which all great football games surf upon.  This game was no different. The Steelers started the game slowly, both on offense, and on defense.  The Steelers couldn’t gain a first down, and the Browns were moving the ball with relative ease. Fortunately, the Steelers’ defensive was reactive enough to hold the Browns to 6 points on their first two trips into Steelers territory.  

Their third trip also ended with Greg Joseph attempting a 41 yard field goal.  After making kicks from 34 and 45 yards, it seemed like this kick was certain.  Instead of going up by two scores with a third ball through the uprights, the kick was sliced right, like an overzealous weekend golfer swinging for distance.  It wasn’t even close. 

So with this small mistake, the Steelers were able to turn this error into their first touchdown drive, with a beautiful deep pass to Antonio Brown.  The extra point was made, the Steelers took the lead, and never looked back.

Momentum changed back to the Browns one time later, after a failed recovery on a free kick to lead to a touchdown for the Browns.  Joseph again missed a kick. This time it was an extra point, and again missed it badly. Though the Steelers didn’t gain field position after this miss, they did take the momentum back and scored another touchdown on a run heavy drive capped off by a 12 yard James Conner run.  

Momentum can swing back and forth, off of many different plays.  On Sunday, it was missed kicks that gave Pittsburgh the extra bump they needed to conclude a dominant performance, and seal victory for the team.  

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