- Keenum: 21 for 33, 199 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, and 1 sack taken
- Johnson: 22 carries, 146 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
- CLE Defense: season-low 41 rushing yards allowed
Although Keenum did not deliver a superstar performance, he played well enough to get the Browns their fourth win of the season.
When Baker Mayfield went down with his injury, Keenum was ready:
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) October 22, 2021
Mayfield is the latest in the long list of injuries for the Browns this season.
Kareem Hunt is another player with a multi-week injury that has hurt Cleveland’s depth.
It will not be easy for Kevin Stefanski.
The Browns have the Steelers, Bengals, Patriots, and Ravens in four of the next five weeks before the bye.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, Pittsburgh received its bye in Week 7.
Therefore, the Steelers will have more rest than the Browns heading into their Week 8 clash.
Fortunately, for the Browns, Keenum is healthy and ready for action.
Here are the three reasons why the Browns can beat the Steelers with Case Keenum:
1. Kevin Stefanski and Case Keenum Have a History of Success Together
In addition to the win on Thursday, the tandem of Kevin Stefanski and Keenum has been very successful in the past.
Coincidentally, a bunch of the 2017 Minnesota Vikings faced off in the Browns’ win over the Broncos:
Pat Shurmur calling plays for Teddy Bridgewater against Kevin Stefanski calling plays for Case Keenum on TNF this week. All four were members of the 2017 Vikings.
Plenty of what-ifs with that group for Vikings fans… pic.twitter.com/s3OUxWwyl3
— Will Ragatz (@WillRagatz) October 20, 2021
Keenum’s lone year with the Vikings was a fruitful one, as he started 14 regular-season games, sporting an 11-3 record.
That season was by far the best of his lengthy NFL career, and it came with Stefanski as his quarterbacks coach.
Keenum defeated Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints during the Divisional Round.
His Vikings fell in the NFC Championship Game, but this type of success is good to have from a backup quarterback.
One note that should be mentioned is that the 2017 Vikings had the league’s best defense in terms of points and yards allowed.
There is some good news about this comparison.
The 2021 Browns have allowed the second-fewest yards per game in the NFL this year.
2. Keenum Did Not Turn the Ball Over in the Week 7 Win
While Keenum has not played many games during his time with Cleveland, he has not been prone to committing turnovers.
His last turnover came in 2019.
In addition, the Pittsburgh Steelers are not forcing many turnovers this season.
Heading into Week 7, the Steelers are in the bottom 10 in the league in takeaways.
They have forced fewer than one turnover per game this season.
With this information in mind, Keenum should be able to limit turnovers again in Week 8.
It is very important to keep the turnovers down on the offensive side.
This is important, especially because the Browns have forced fewer than one turnover per game this season, too.
3. The Steelers Own the 25th-Best Offense in the NFL
On the other side of the football, the Steelers offense may not be able to stand toe-to-toe with that of the Browns.
It may have been an offensive battle in the meeting between these squads during the playoffs.
However, the Week 8 matchup may not be the case.
The over/under opened at just 45 points for this contest.
Keenum was the record holder for NCAA Division I FBS passing touchdowns, passing yards, and completions.
Roethlisberger has attained 4,000 yards in several NFL seasons.
Those performances are in the past though.
It may come down to the defenses in this contest, as neither quarterback should be setting any offensive records in this game.
If the Cleveland defense can play like it did against Denver, Keenum should do enough for another Browns victory.