Four days after their heartbreaking loss, the Browns rebounded by beating their longtime rivals at home on Thursday Night Football. Assisted by Nick Chubb and a strong second half from their defense, the Browns delivered a 29-17 win to move up to 2-1 in the season. Pittsburgh, fresh from their own disappointing Week 2 loss, fell to 1-2.
Trailing 14-13 at the break, the Browns took control of the game by scoring their first two drives of the second half. The offense was fueled by Chubb, who finished the night with 114 yards and 23 carries. Cleveland also received a big night from Amari Cooper, whose 32-yard catch on a third-and-1 game set up Chubb’s 1-yard touchdown that extended the Browns’ 9:29 lead to 23-14. The Browns set an exclamation mark for victory with Denzel Ward’s defensive record on the last play of the game.
After slow starts on both sides of the ball, the Browns — led by a 37-yard run from Chubb — hit first on Jacoby Brissett’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Cooper, who finished the night for 101 yards on seven catches. The Steelers responded with Najee Harris’ 5-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter. a ballet, one-handed catch by rookie George Pickens set up Harris’ touchdown.
Cleveland countered with David Njoku’s touchdown catch of Brissett with 8:58 by halftime. The Steelers took their first lead moments later when Mitch Trubisky scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Pittsburgh’s offense started the second half with another promising shot that finally fizzled out just after crossing midfield. After doing little for most of the second half, Pittsburgh managed to score a late goal that made it a six-point game, 1:46 ahead. However, a penalty on their subsequent onside kick allowed the Browns to milk the game clock to nine seconds.
Strong winds hit both kickers in 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 final lead.
Why the Steelers lost
Before Mitch Trubisky went into tonight, he didn’t have a single game in passing for over 200 yards, but made it tonight with a 20/32 stat line for 211 yards and no touchdowns.
Trubisky hasn’t shown enough this season, with some questioning whether he should be benched for rookie QB Kenny Pickett.
On offense, Diontae Johnson was the player of the night for the Steelers, with 6 receptions for 63 yards and a fumbling recovery but had a few key losses. The Steelers’ offense clearly has a lot of work to do.
The defense couldn’t keep up with Nick Chubb, one of the NFL’s top running backs, who recorded another 100-yard game on his resume tonight.
The defense missed TJ Watt and historically didn’t win without him. They are now 0-6 with Watt on the sidelines.
Why the Browns won
The Browns suffered a loss that left all three stages of the game struggling and bounced back with a game that saw everyone have a helping hand in the win.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett appeared confident and composed, able to use his rushing skills in close-range situations when needed.
Speaking of the running game, let’s talk about running back Nick Chubb. Chubb shattered the Steelers defense with 23 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown. Since 2018, he has lapped 24 100-yard games, the most in the league in that span.
I was also impressed by Amari Cooper, who found a rhythm with Brissett and finished the game with 7 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
What sealed the deal for the Browns was the defense, which kept the Steelers off the field and forced back-to-back three-and-outs late in the game. The Steelers never recovered from those two stops, which brings us straight to our turning point of the game.
(And the defensive touchdown in trash time didn’t hurt.)
Late in the third quarter, a 35-yard pass from Mitch Trubisky to Jaylen Warren was called back for a penalty against Chukwuma Okorafor. That drive resulted in a Steelers punt not long after, and the Browns responded by scoring a field goal on their next drive.
With the ball back, the Steelers couldn’t do anything with it again and went three-and-out.
The Browns responded again, this time with 6:35 to go 11 plays for 80 yards and for a touchdown to make it 23-14. Several players impressed on the scoring drive and the Browns looked like they were in complete control of the game and quarterback Jacoby Brissett looked like he was in complete control of his offense.
Nick Chubb, who spent over 100 years on the ground on that ride, had his fair share of rushes, including one for 16 yards. Amari Cooper aired big with a 32-yard pass to put them in Steelers territory. Chubb was the one who pocketed it for a yard on fourth-and-one.
To make matters worse for the Steelers, they responded with another three-and-out, making it two in a row.
game of the game
The Steelers didn’t win, but they did the next best thing, a feature in our Play of the Game segment.
Wide receiver George Pickens proved with a single catch why he was the talk of Steelers training camp. In the first quarter, Pickens pulled off an incredible one-handed catch that seemed to defy gravity.
Pickens’ catch came from a second and third game, with quarterback Mitch Trubisky throwing one to the right touchline. The 36-yard catch put the Steelers in the red zone and set up a Najee Harris touchdown.
The Browns will travel to Atlanta next week to take on the Falcons, who are 2-0 at the start of Week 3. The Falcons’ two losses were both close, losing 27-26 to the Saints and 31-27 to defending Super Bowl Champion Aries.
The Steelers will host the Jets in Week 4. The Jets’ offense so far has been led by quarterback Joe Flacco, with Zach Wilson still on the touchline with a bruised bone and torn meniscus. Wilson was expected to miss 2-4 weeks and not return in Week 3. At two weeks, Flacco is third in passing yards with 616, behind Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa (739) and Commanders’ Carson Wentz (650).