For Now, Heyward Moving on From Cleveland, Brawl

Steelers turning focus to Bengals before Browns rematch

Josh Rowntree
November 18, 2019 - 2:41 pm

Sandwiched between Thursday’s fight in the end of the Steelers’ 21-7 loss to Cleveland, and the rematch with the Browns on December 1, is a game the Steelers have to win.

Pittsburgh will travel to Cincinnati Sunday to take on a Bengals squad that has yet to win a game and has already been eliminated from playoff contention. But the fight, in which Browns defensive end Myles Garrett received a season-ending suspension, currently overshadows the next game. 

“I kind of closed that book on Friday,” Heyward said. “I think we’ve all got to move forward. We’ve got a very important game, going against Cincinnati. I’m just looking to shut that book. I know we play them in the future, but we’ve got to go through Cincinnati and I know that’s an important game for us. I’ve just got to dive deep into that right now.”

That ‘future’ is fairly soon, as the NFL — somewhat oddly — scheduled the two AFC North rivals in Cleveland and Pittsburgh to meet twice in three weeks. 

But Cincinnati comes first, and Heyward knows that, even if a budding, nasty rivalry — something like what the Steelers have had with the Bengals — is awaiting them. 

“Cincinnati, we’ve had a rivalry with,” Heyward said. “I think all of the AFC North we’ve had a rivalry with. It’s about respecting those opponents. 

“In years past, it came down to penalties. That playoff game (an 18-16 win in the 2016 Wild Card round) we had with them was a critical time in that rivalry. They’re going to try to fight for their lives. 

“I know they’re out of the playoffs officially. But they’ve got guys fighting for spots, a new quarterback in (Ryan) Finley. If they get (wide receiver A.J. Green) back, we’ve got to be ready for that, as well.”

Heyward, and the rest of the Steelers, are wanting to not only shake off the way the loss in Cleveland ended, but the team’s play that led to the defeat. 

“The most important things is that we lost that game,” Hewyward said. “I know that got overshadowed by a lot of things, but as a defense we didn’t play well. We were on the field too much, and that’s our fault. 

“They drove the ball and had a lot of success. You’ve got to learn from that. I’m not going to hide from that. I know we didn’t play how we’ve been playing. But that just means you’ve got another week to step it up. The great thing about it is, we play them twice. But going forward we have to play better than we did.”

Hear more from Cam Heyward, including his thoughts on Myles Garrett’s suspension, in the video above.