CLEVELAND — Rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth had a big play on a big stage, catching the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 15-10 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
But he had a bigger role overall, as well, with veteran tight end Eric Ebron sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Freiermuth played 58 of the Steelers’ 74 offensive snaps against the Browns, the most snaps he’s played in a game so far in his career and also the highest percentage of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps at 78%.
In addition to his touchdown, Freiermuth hauled in four of his seven targets for 44 yards, which goes as his second-most productive game in terms of catches and yardage.
“I think Ben [Roethlisberger] looks for mismatches and he’s great at that, so he was looking at my matchup and saw a couple mismatches on there,” Freiermuth said after the game.
Third tight end Zach Gentry also saw his numbers bumped up, earning 45 snaps for 61% of the Steelers’ total, both season highs.
Freiermuth had fairly balanced usage, going into a passing route 44% of the time, run blocking 44% and pass blocking 12%. Gentry was more frequently a blocker, run-blocking 52% of the time, pass-blocking 20% of the time and running a route 28% of the time.
The Steelers used just two tight ends for the first time this season, option to not activate Kevin Rader from the practice squad. They also did not use an eligible lineman, other than on the fake field goal play at the end of the first half.