It started as a great game for Cleveland, then became an ugly one, with Pittsburgh turning the ball over and losing players to injury without the Browns capitalizing. Ultimately, though, Pittsburgh’s shortage of talent was far too much, allowing Cleveland to put the game away with a 21-7 victory on Thursday Night Football. The Browns are now 2-0 in the AFC North and 4-6 overall, having won two games in five days. Let’s get to the game summary.
The Steelers received the ball to begin the game and went three-and-out. When it was the Browns’ turn, they went aggressive on offense, opting to throw the ball versus running it. After picking up a first down, that led to this 43-yard pass down the middle to WR Odell Beckham:
Ruled a touchdown on the field, replay put the ball at the 1-yard line. Unlike the goal line struggles the week before, QB Baker Mayfield kept it for a sneak — he was stopped, until the push from RB Nick Chubb from behind drove him into the end zone for the opening drive touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
On the Steelers’ next drive, CB Denzel Ward committed a downfield pass interference penalty that put Pittsburgh in field goal range. After a defensive stop, the snap on the field goal was botched, so K Chris Boswell’s field goal attempt from 44 yards out was hooked wide left.
In the second quarter, WR KhaDarel Hodge, getting an opportunity because of WR Antonio Callaway being cut earlier in the day, caught a 41-yard pass off of a great fake from Mayfield. Later in the drive, Hodge drew a pass interference penalty on CB Joe Haden, setting up another 1st-and-goal from the 1 yard line. Mayfield found WR Jarvis Landry wide open for the touchdown to go up 14-0.
With the Steelers’ players dropping like flies to injury, Pittsburgh tried to run a fleaflicker near the end of the first half, but CB Denzel Ward tipped the pass and SS Morgan Burnett came down with the interception and return into field goal range. Cleveland’s offense could only gain a few yards and then sent K Austin Seibert out for a 45-yard field goal, but he missed badly wide to the right for his first miss on a “field goal” of his career.
The Steelers were threatening inside of two minutes, but then the Browns blitzed heavy and got sacks from S Juston Burris and DE Chad Thomas to keep it a 14-0 game heading to the half. Cleveland got the ball to begin the third quarter. They moved the chains a few times before punting — it was a fantastic punt that would’ve been downed at the five yard line, but the Browns illegally touched the ball (player ran out of bounds and was the first to down the ball), making it a touchback. That was mitigated when LB Joe Schobert picked off Rudolph at midfield:
Cleveland could do nothing with it, and punted right back to Pittsburgh. After losing Burnett earlier in the game to an Achilles’ injury, FS Damarious Randall was ejected for a hit to the head of a receiver:
Damarious Randall was ejected for this hit on Diontae Johnson. pic.twitter.com/wnFJEyDBIG— Everything Cleveland (@EverythingCLE_) November 15, 2019
The Browns’ secondary kept getting flagged on the drive, with the big play coming via a pass interference penalty on Williams, who did not turn around to look for the ball. On 2nd-and-goal from the 3 yard line, Rudolph stumbled into finding RB Jaylen Samuels open in the flat for a 3-yard touchdown, Pittsburgh’s first points of the game, to make it a 14-7 game with 5:39 left in the third quarter.
The Browns converted some first downs on their next drive, but stalled with just one second left in the quarter. That one second was huge, because it meant that Seibert had to attempt a 50-yard field goal into the Dawg Pound end — the same end he missed badly from 45 yards in the first half. Sure enough, Seibert missed badly again, giving Pittsburgh great starting field position heading to the fourth quarter.
The Steelers’ offense continued to be just chucking it downfield and hoping for penalties. It looked like CB Greedy Williams was almost committing penalties each play, but the officials held the flag. On 4th-and-1 from the 33 yard line, the Steelers went for it, but Rudolph’s pass under pressure was almost picked off by Thomas for a turnover on downs with 13:29 left in the game.
Unfortunately, the Browns went three-and-out on offense, trying to run it all three times, and punted right back to Pittsburgh. The Browns, in turn, went three-and-out. And then the Steelers went three-and-out. It was beginning to feel like a game of both teams sucking, but you’re still on edge because you know someone is bound to screw up sooner or later.
Cleveland drained some clock on their next drive, but on 3rd-and-11 from midfield, Mayfield overthrew an open Beckham on an out cut. Cleveland punted with 6:43 left in the game, down to the 9 yard line. On the first play, Rudolph was picked off as he threw it right to Schobert over the middle. Schobert had a free lane to return it all the way to the 4 yard line.
On first down, the fade to Beckham was caught out of bounds. On second down, Chubb was hit for a loss of 4 yards. On 3rd-and-goal from the 8 yard line, TE Stephen Carlson made just an incredible catch on a risky bullet throw in the back of the end zone, giving the Browns a 21-7 lead with 5:25 left in the game.
Rudolph threw his fourth interception of the game on the next drive, this time to Burris. Cleveland ran the clock until there was less than two minutes to go. On 4th-and-7 from the 34 yard line and 1:47 to go, they took the delay of game and sent the punt unit onto the field. When Pittsburgh got the ball back, Rudolph just got beat up a few more times, taking a few sacks. Then the game turned extremely ugly on basically the last play, when Garrett got into it with Rudolph on the ground. Garrett inexplicably ripped the helmet off of Rudolph, then hammered Rudolph in the head with the helmet. I don’t know what to even say...Garrett might be gone for awhile, what the fuck?
- QB Baker Mayfield: 17-of-32 for 193 yards, 2 TD. 1 rush, 1 yard, 1 TD.
- RB Nick Chubb: 27 carries, 92 yards.
- RB Kareem Hunt: 6 carries, 12 yards. 6 catches, 46 yards (8 targets).
- WR Odell Beckham: 4 catches, 60 yards (10 targets).
- WR Jarvis Landry: 4 catches, 43 yards (7 targets). 1 TD.
- LB Joe Schobert: 9 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions.