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Jarvis Landry backs up offseason talk with big day against Steelers

We had heard Jarvis Landry talk a big game all offseason since he was acquired from the Miami Dolphins, and he backed it up in Cleveland’s Week 1 tie with Pittsburgh.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns receivers caught just nine passes, Jarvis Landry grabbing seven of them, in Cleveland’s Week 1 tie with Pittsburgh. He finished with 107 yards on 15 targets, which doesn’t scream efficiency, but the ugly weather and some poor throws contributed to those missed connections.

According to Browns communications manager Dan Murphy, Landry now has recorded at least two receptions in each of his past 64 games, which is the second-longest active streak in the league. Antonio Brown leads that list with two catches in 101 consecutive games. Landry also extended his streak of least five receptions to 18 games, tied for the third longest in NFL history, with Brown also leading the way with 36 games—from 2013 to 2015.

All offseason, and especially during preseason’s Hard Knocks airings, the world watched and listened to Landry’s gusto. We heard him talk about the winless Browns advancing to not just the playoffs, but to the Super Bowl, and sooner than later.

“If we get everyone playing to their potential, we can win the Super Bowl this year,” Landry said before the start of training camp.

Whether he can still help deliver on that bold prediction is a topic for another day.

There remained questions, though, on whether Landry would be able to deliver on Sundays as the Browns hoped to utilize him more down the field than he had been deployed in the past. He caught a ton of passes in Miami during his four years there—led the league, actually, with 400 receptions—and many believed his predominant usage in short-to-intermediate passing game and sub-elite speed meant he wasn’t talented enough to win down the field.

Landry had long receptions of 33 and 39 yards on Sunday, and was targeted down the field a few other times. It wasn’t all pretty in Week 1, mainly thanks to some poor throws by Tyrod Taylor and pressure by the Steelers defense. But Landry proved his hardwork and dedication to his craft weren’t just lip service.

Here’s Landry’s grab on the 33-yarder, a play that absolutely would have hit the ground if 99 percent of the receivers in the league were the intended target.

The biggest thing Landry continues to bring to the team is his determination, which makes him one of the biggest effort players in the league, certainly the biggest on the Browns. Landry’s pancake block on backpeddaling Steelers cornerback Artie Burns surprised the defensive back and made him nearly swing at Landry from the embarrassment. That, or he was miffed about the after-the-block grabbing by Landry while they were on the ground.

Either way, it’s actually pretty hilarious how the irate Burns almost got himself ejected.

I’d take Landry in three rounds inside an octagon, or any fighting shape of your choice, by the way.

Bless’m then, Juice.

Despite his spirited effort and strong overall performance, the offense as a whole, including the penalty-riddled offensive line, was entirely unacceptable for the majority of the game.

The lone bright spots were Taylor’s legs—although that’s arguably not wholly positive since he couldn’t do very much at all from the pocket—Landry’s performance, Josh Gordon’s pretty touchdown in the front corner of the end zone, and one impressive offensive drive where the Browns moved the ball 96 yards for a score without completing a pass.

Landry said loafing and not giving your best effort was “contagious,” I just hope his passion and determination starts to spread more to his offensive peers.

Although it’s early, Myles Garrett and the defense are certainly already matching his intensity. Their six forced turnovers were the most by a Browns defense since 2010.