Four days after their gut-wrenching loss, the Browns rebounded by defeating their longtime rivals at home on “Thursday Night Football.” Aided by Nick Chubb and a strong second half by their defense, the Browns posted an 29-17 victory to move to 2-1 on the season. Pittsburgh, fresh off its own disappointing Week 2 loss, fell to 1-2.
Trailing 14-13 at intermission, the Browns took control of the game by scoring of their first two drives of the second half. The offense was fueled by Chubb, who finished the night with 113 yards on 23 carries. Cleveland also received a big night from Amari Cooper, whose 32-yard catch on a third-and-1 play set up Chubb’s 1-yard touchdown that extended the Browns’ lead to 23-14 with 9:29 left. The Browns put an exclamation point on the win with Denzel Ward’s defensive score on the game’s final play.
After slow starts on both sides of the ball, the Browns — spearheaded by a 37-yard run by Chubb — struck first on Jacoby Brissett’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Cooper, who finished the night with 101 yards on seven catches. The Steelers responded with Najee Harris’ 5-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter. A balletic, one-handed catch by rookie George Pickens set up Harris’ touchdown.
Cleveland countered with David Njoku’s touchdown catch from Brissett with 8:58 left until halftime. The Steelers took their first lead moments later when Mitch Trubisky scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. Pittsburgh’s offense started the second half with another promising drive that ultimately fizzled shortly after crossing midfield. Pittsburgh, after doing little for most of the second half, was able to mount a late scoring drive that made it a six-point game with 1:46 left. A penalty on their ensuing onside kick, however, allowed the Browns to milk the game clock down to nine seconds.
Heavy winds affected both kickers during the first half. Boswell missed a 53-yard attempt on Pittsburgh’s second drive. Browns rookie kicker Cade York missed a PAT but made up for it by making his 34-yard field goal attempt late in the third quarter to give Cleveland the lead for good.
Why the Steelers lost
Before heading into tonight, Trubisky did not have one game with over 200 yards passing, but just made it tonight, with a stat line of 20-for-32 for 211 yards and no touchdowns.
Trubisky has not shown enough this season, with some asking if he should be benched for rookie QB Kenny Pickett.
On offense, Diontae Johnson was the player of the night for the Steelers, with six receptions for 63 yards and a fumble recovery, but did have some key drops. The Steelers offense clearly has a lot it stills need to work on.
The defense was unable to keep up with Chubb, one of the best running backs in the NFL, who recorded another 100-yard game to his resume.
The defense missed T.J. Watt and historically do not win without him. They are now 0-6 when Watt is on the sidelines.
Why the Browns won
The Browns came off a loss where all three phases of the game struggled and bounced back with a game where everyone had a helping hand in the win.
Brissett looked confident and composed and when needed was able to use his rushing abilities on…