Four days after the shocking defeat, the Browns bounced back by defeating their longtime home rivals at “Thursday Night Football”. Aided by Nick Chubb and an excellent second half from their defense, the Browns took a 29-17 win to move up to 2-1 of the season. Pittsburgh, fresh from its disappointing defeat in Week 2, fell to 1-2.
Under 14-13 at half-time, the Browns took control of the game by scoring the first two drives of the second half. The attack was fueled by Chubb, who finished the night with 113 yards on 23 carries. Cleveland also received a great night from Amari Cooper, whose 32-yard catch on a third-and-1 play set 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 last play.
After slow starts on both sides of the ball, the Browns – led by Chubb’s 37-yard run – struck first on Jacoby Brissett’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Cooper, who finished the evening with 101 yards out of seven. catches. The Steelers responded with Najee Harris’ 5-yard landing run to start the second quarter. a ballet, one-handed capture from rookie George Pickens set Harris’ touchdown.
Cleveland responded with Brissett’s David Njoku touchdown with 8:58 left in the interval. The Steelers took their first lead moments later when Mitch Trubisky scored on a 1 yard touchdown. The Pittsburgh bout began the second half with another promising push that eventually vanished shortly after crossing midfield. Pittsburgh, after doing little for most of the second half, was able to land a late shot that made it a six-point game with 1:46 left. A penalty on the subsequent onside kick, however, allowed the Browns to reduce the game clock to nine seconds.
Strong winds hit 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 at the end of the third quarter to give Cleveland the lead forever.
Why the Steelers lost
Before entering tonight, Trubisky didn’t play a game with past 200 yards, but he did it tonight, with a 20/32 stat line for 211 yards and no touchdowns.
Trubisky hasn’t shown enough this season, with some asking him if he should be benched for QB rookie Kenny Pickett.
In attack, Diontae Johnson was the player of the night for the Steelers, with six receptions for 63 yards and a fumble recovery, but she had some key drops. The Steelers attack clearly has a lot he still has 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 TJ Watt and historically doesn’t win without him. They are now 0-6 when Watt is on the sidelines.
Why the Browns won
The Browns came out of a defeat in which all three phases of the game fought and bounced back with a match where everyone contributed to the victory.
Brissett seemed confident and composed and, when needed, was able to use his running skills in short-range situations.
Speaking of the running game, let’s talk about Chubb. Chubb absolutely demolished the Steelers defense, putting in 23 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown. Since 2018, he has played 24 games from 100 yards, the most in the league during that time frame.
I was also impressed by Cooper, who had a rhythm with Brissett and finished the game with seven catches for 101 yards and one touchdown.
What sealed the deal for the Browns was the defense that kept the Steelers off the pitch and forced the three and the outs back-to-back towards the end of the match. The Steelers have never been able to recover from those two stops, which brings us right to the turning point of the game.
(And the garbage time defensive touchdown didn’t hurt.)
Towards the end of the third quarter, a 35-yard pass from Trubisky to Jaylen Warren was called back due to a penalty on Chukwuma Okorafor. That drive led to a Steelers punt not long after and the Browns responded by scoring a field goal on their next drive.
With the back ball, the Steelers once again were unable to do anything about it, going three and out.
The Browns responded once again, this time using 6:35 to make 11 plays for 80 yards and scoring a touchdown for the 23-14. On the score, multiple players had an impact and the Browns appeared to have complete control of the game and Brissett seemed to have complete control of his attack.
Chubb, who spent over 100 yards on the ground on this record, had his fair share of runs, including one for 16 yards. Cooper came out great with a 32-yard pass to put them in Steelers territory. Chubb was the only one to punch for a quarter and 1 yard.
To make matters worse for the Steelers, they responded with another three and eliminated, making two in a row.
The Steelers didn’t get the win, but they got the next best thing, a feature in our “Play of the Game” segment.
Wide receiver George Pickens showed why there was talk of the Steelers training camp with a single hold. in the first quarter,
Pickens’ catch came from a second and 3 game, with Trubisky throwing one on the right sideline. The 36-yard catch put the Steelers in the red zone and established a touchdown from Najee Harris.
The Browns will head to Atlanta to face the Falcons next week, who are 0-2 at the start of week three. The Falcons’ two defeats were both close, losing 27-26 to the Saints and 31-27 to reigning Super Bowl champion Rams.
The Steelers will host the Jets in week 4. The Jets’ offense has so far been led by quarterback Joe Flacco, with Zach Wilson still on the sidelines with a bruised bone and a meniscus tear. Wilson should have skipped two to four weeks and won’t be back for week 3. In two weeks, Flacco is third by past yards with 616, behind Tua Tagovailoa (739) and Carson Wentz (650) of the Dolphins.