The Browns came out and dominated the first quarter against the Steelers. The rest of the game, they were out-matched in every facet, losing 33-18 and dropping to 2-5-1. If Jimmy Haslam doesn’t pull the trigger and just fire Hue Jackson after this game, then what the heck is he waiting for?
Cleveland started off the game fairly well, scoring their first opening-drive points of the season. It was only a field goal (34 yards out from K Greg Joseph), but that’s better than nothing to give the Browns a 3-0 lead.
Penalties played a big factor in the first quarter. Pittsburgh went three-and-out, and on their next drive, QB Ben Roethlisberger was picked off by SS Derrick Kindred on third down off of a tipped pass, giving Cleveland the ball near midfield.
Back-to-back runs by RB Nick Chubb of 20 and 11 yards put them in field goal range. The drive stalled after that, but Joseph connected from 45 yards out to give Cleveland a 6-0 lead.
Cleveland got a good return from SS Jabrill Peppers and a tripping penalty on Pittsburgh just before the end of the first quarter, followed by a 21-yard catch by WR Jarvis Landry to close out the quarter. They couldn’t get much closer to start the second quarter, and this time, Joseph’s 41-yard field goal went wide right.
That mistake was all the momentum that Pittsburgh needed to get things rolling. They converted their first first down with a completion to WR Antonio Brown. Several players later, Roethlisberger pump faked and found Brown wide open down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown, giving Pittsburgh the 7-6 advantage.
Cleveland got into Pittsburgh territory again on their next drive, but this time, QB Baker Mayfield’s deep third down pass for WR Damion Ratley was intercepted by CB Joe Haden.
Roethlisberger moved the chains a couple of times with a quarterback sneak leading into the two-minute warning. A controversial spot gave Pittsburgh more incentive to go for it on a fourth down situation:
Very questionable spot in Pittsburgh after the 3rd and 2 run by James Conner. Runner's elbow is down at the 5 yard line and the ball is ultimately spotted at the 3.5. #CLEvsPIT pic.twitter.com/KEqWaqQd5n— Gene Steratore (@GeneSteratore) October 28, 2018
The Steelers converted, and one play later, FS Damarious Randall just missed intercepting a screen pass that Brown took in for a touchdown, putting them up 14-6.
Doing what he does best. pic.twitter.com/zHRrqnnBKU— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 28, 2018
Pittsburgh got the ball to begin the second half and continued having no problems moving the football. Inside of Cleveland territory, Roethlisberger floated a dumpoff pass up to RB Steven Ridley. After he made the catch, Kindred stripped the ball from behind, and CB Denzel Ward came up with the recovery.
The offense responded with a three-and-out, sending the defense right back onto the field. The defense, in turn, forced a three-and-out, but their punt backed Cleveland’s offense near their own end zone. On second down, Mayfield ran a playaction fake. LT Desmond Harrison was beat by his man and committed holding in the end zone, leading to a safety, making it a 16-6 game.
It looked like Pittsburgh would be in control, but then on the safety kick, Pittsburgh inexplicably let the ball go over their head and no one recovered it, leading to an onside kick recovery by Cleveland (when they weren’t even trying for one). Despite the short field, the Browns had the ugliest drive possible to put their first touchdown on the board with WR Antonio Callaway coming down with it.
That made it a 16-12 game, but then Joseph missed the extra point badly to keep it that score. On Pittsburgh’s next drive, RB James Conner started the drive with big runs of 30 and 16 yards to move into field goal range. He finished the drive later with a 12-yard sprint around the edge, giving the Steelers a 23-12 lead.
The Browns then went three-and-out, with the offensive line blocking no one, before punting back to Pittsburgh, who started near midfield. Early in the fourth, K Chris Boswell knocked it through from 42 yards out to go up 26-12. The Browns went three-and-out again, with another quick punt giving Pittsburgh the ball near midfield.
The rest of the game saw the rain start to fall. The Browns did nothing, while Pittsburgh ran the clock out for the remainder of the game — the last of which was a 22-yard sprint by Conner to go up 33-12.
A 24-yard touchdown pass to TE Seth DeValve with six seconds left made it 33-18, but the two-point try was no good.
- QB Baker Mayfield: 22-of-36 for 156 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT. 1 rush, 9 yards.
- RB Nick Chubb: 18 carries, 65 yards (3.61 YPC). 2 catches, 10 yards (3 targets).
- WR Jarvis Landry: 8 catches, 39 yards (12 targets).
- TE David Njoku: No stats registered.
- SS Derrick Kindred: 1 interception, 1 forced fumble.
- DE Myles Garrett: 1 sack.