What a first quarter! The Cleveland Browns became the first team in NFL history to score 28 points in the first quarter of a postseason game, jumping out to a 28-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s how it went down.
The Browns won the coin toss and deferred. And holy shit, on the first play of the game, C Maurkice Pouncey launched the ball over the head of QB Ben Roethlisberger and to the end zone, where a swarm of Cleveland defenders jumped on it for the touchdown! (S Karl Joseph officially got the score). K Cody Parkey made the extra point to put Cleveland on top 7-0.
On Pittsburgh’s second series, they got the ball close to midfield. On a 1st-and-10 play, QB Ben Roethlisberger dropped back and faced a bull rush from Cleveland’s defense. Roethlisberger tried to bail himself out by floating a dumpoff pass to RB Benny Snell, but it was too high and CB M.J. Stewart snagged it for an interception! The Browns would take over at the Pittsburgh 46 yard line for their first offensive series of the game.
How did the drive go? Incomplete pass, 6 yard pass to TE Austin Hooper, and then on 3rd-and-4, a 40-yard catch-and-run touchdown for WR Jarvis Landry! Incredibly, the Browns were up 14-0 five minutes into the game.
On the Steelers’ next drive, they faced a 3rd-and-1 right away. A handoff to FB Derek Watt succeeded on the previous series, but they tried it again and DT Larry Ogunjobi blew the play up by pushing Pouncey into the backfield, and S Ronnie Harrison finished Watt off for no gain to force a punt. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones returned the punt 8 yards, giving Cleveland possession at the 27 yard line.
Chubb began the next drive with back-to-back runs of 17 and 20 yards, finding big holes on both attempts. Two plays later, on 3rd-and-5, QB Baker Mayfield found a sliding WR Rashard Higgins for 12 yards and a first down to the 11 yard line. Mayfield handed off to RB Kareem Hunt, who found a seam, bulldozed through a defender, and then was pushed into the end zone for a touchdown! Parkey’s extra point gave Cleveland a stunning 21-0 lead with 4:40 remaining in the first quarter.
I can’t believe what I’m typing — on the Steelers’ next possession, after a holding call on Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger had a high pass go off a receiver’s hands and was picked off by FS Sheldrick Redwine! Redwine returned the interception 30 yards to the 15 yard line.
Three plays later, on 3rd-and-3, Hunt got the handoff, sprinted to the left edge, and then turned upfield to find an open seam to the end zone! The Browns led 28-0 with 1:56 to go in the first quarter.
Continue discussing the second quarter of action in the comments below.
Game: Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Date/Time: Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 8:15 PM ET
Television: NBC - Al Michaels (play-by-play) & Cris Collinsworth (analyst)
Local Radio: ESPN 850 WKNR, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 FM WNCX