The usually sure handed tight end dropped three or four passes against the Steelers during the 13-10 victory and made no excuses after the loss.
“Great team win but that shxt was unacceptable,” Njoku tweeted. “I gotta do better; thankful for my brothers for fighting till the end. 1-0.”
Njoku still made his impact felt. With quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson looking for short completions, he finished with a team-high seven catches for 56 yards on a whopping 15 targets. He also had a crucial catch on the Browns’ final drive that helped set up Dustin Hopkins‘ game-winning field goal.
“Dave’s going to make a bunch of plays this year, same with Elijah (Moore) and all those guys,” Thompson-Robinson said. “So I have no choice but to get the ball out of my hands and get it in their hands because they’re special playmakers.”
But Njoku wasn’t happy with how he performed and has a plan of attack to improve.
“I am going right home to use the jug machine,” Njoku told reporters after the game. “It was a good victory, but it is back to work”
Njoku is tied for the team-lead in catches (45) and second in yards (433). He’s also found the end zone twice this season.
David Njoku Growing Connection With QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson
The Browns relied on Thompson-Robinson a little more than they would have liked in his second career start. The rookie compled 24 of 43 passes for 165 yards with one interception.
“He is a warrior. It is not easy being in his shoes. Especially being a rookie,” Njoku said. “He is such an incredible athlete. He got the job done today. He did a great job.”
Njoku already had a significant role within the offense but his active afternoon proved he’s a bit of a security blanket for his rookie quarterback.
“We have exceptional confidence in each other,” Njoku said of his relationship with Thompson-Robinson. “Even though what I displayed was unacceptable. We found a way to get the job done.”
The Browns had a solid first half but weren’t able to find much success on the ground against the Steelers’ stout front. Cleveland rushed for 96 yards as a team and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Remain Starting QB
The Browns signed veteran quarterback Joe Flacco after beating the Steelers but Thompson-Robinson is expected to remain the starter — for now, at least. Browns head coach and offensive play-caller Kevin Stefanski recognized his young gun has room to grow but was happy with how he stepped up when the presure was on.
“As you guys know, with Dorian, he doesn’t lack for confidence, and I say that’s just who he is,” Stefanski said. “He’s a confident kid. He trusts in his ability. So, from the first snap to the last snap, he was ready to roll.”
Thompson-Robinson showed improvement from his first start, when he tossed three interceptions in a short-notice call against the Baltimore Ravens. The Browns will need the rookie to keep improving if they want to keep their momentum rolling.