Pittsburgh Steelers: Studs and duds vs. Browns in Week 13

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PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 01: Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers strip sacks Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns in the second half on December 1, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers squeezed just enough out of their offense to defeat the Cleveland Browns 20-13 and advance to 7-5.

After their 20-13 victory against the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers will retain the sixth seed in the AFC for another week. With Mason Rudolph on the bench, Devlin Hodges did just enough offensively for Pittsburgh to escape with the win.

Two weeks ago, when the Browns and Steelers met for the first time this season, there were fireworks in the final seconds. Myles Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet after the young quarterback twisted the Pro Bowl defensive end’s helmet. Garrett hit Rudolph with the quarterback’s own helmet and received an indefinite suspension. Maurkice Pouncey was suspended two games for retaliating in the ensuing melee.

In comparison, Sunday’s game was tame. The only conflict relating to Week 11 came in the form of some interesting t-shirts. The Steelers got their revenge for the Week 11 21-7 loss, dropping the Browns to 5-7. Despite their easy remaining schedule, Cleveland likely won’t make the playoffs.

Stud: Bud Dupree, OLB

There’s a certain amount of elation fans feel when the defense sacks the opposing quarterback. It’s especially prominent for Steelers fans since the team has a long history of sack artists. Dupree, a 2015 first-round pick, was a mediocre linebacker entering the 2019 season, but he has elevated his game to another level.

Before this season, Dupree’s season-high in sacks was just six, and his season-high in tackles was 42. Now, in only 12 games, Dupree has 8.5 sacks and 50 tackles. Alongside Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt, who both recorded at least 0.5 sack on Sunday, Dupree is a lethal weapon. He gives the Steelers a three-pronged attack.

Unfortunately, Steelers fans won’t get to see Dupree in the black and gold much longer. He’s in the fifth and final year of his rookie deal. After the performance he’s put on this season, some team will pay Dupree a lot of money in free agency. Unless he offers Pittsburgh a discount, it will be hard for the Steelers to retain the breakout outside linebacker.

Dud: Jaylen Samuels, RB

While Samuels did average 4.6 yards per carry, his role with the Steelers is still very vague. He carried the ball seven times for 32 yards, but Benny Snell carried the bulk of Pittsburgh rushing hopes in James Conner‘s absence.

Realistically, if the Steelers are sold on Snell moving forward and Conner gets healthy, Samuels’ job comes into question. Of course, Conner’s health is always in question, but Samuels future with the team may be as well after the season.

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