Last Sunday afternoon was unforgettable for the Cleveland Browns.
For a franchise with a history of heartache and disappointment, giving up a 13-point lead in the final minutes against the New York Jets — and their backup quarterback — was shocking even for the Browns.
However, on Thursday Night Football, they managed to correct those mistakes by defeating bitter AFC North Division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, 29-17.
Cleveland quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns — one to Amari Cooper and one to David Njoku — while Nick Chubb continued his stellar season, rushing for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Despite a halftime streak, a combination of the Browns’ offense and defense putting the Steelers under pressure wrapped up an important victory for Cleveland, exorcising some of Sunday’s demons.
It was Brissett’s budding connection with Cooper — who was traded from the Dallas Cowboys in the offseason — that was a major driver of Thursday’s win.
After breaking out on his home debut last week with 101 yards, Cooper again finished with 101 yards against Pittsburgh, including an 11-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
After the game, Brissett expressed his gratitude for the acquisition of the four-time Pro Bowler.
“I’m glad they [management] did it,” Brissett told NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero.
“I mean he’s been amazing. He’s one of the smartest, hardest working players I’ve ever worked with, he comes here every week, every day, he works hard, he works hard and it’s just a pleasure to play with him . I know he just wants to keep pushing things forward.
The Pittsburgh offense continued its early-season struggles to move the ball consistently with Mitch Trubisky behind center Thursday.
While there were glimpses of explosiveness – a stunning catch from rookie George Pickens and rambunctious Najee Harris – it was another limited display of Trubisky and the offense.
Trubisky, the former No. 2 overall pick who arrived in the offseason from the Buffalo Bills, was named the starter this season by head coach Mike Tomlin.
However, the Steelers drafted quarterback Kenny Pickett with the 20th pick in this year’s draft. Considering the offensive struggles the team has shown so far this year, the calls from fans have grown louder for the former Pittsburgh Panthers star to get his chance in the roster. During last week’s loss to the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh faithful could be heard chanting Pickett’s name.
After the loss to the Browns, when asked if he would consider giving Pickett a chance, Tomlin insisted on staying behind Trubisky.
“I’m not in that mindset,” Tomlin told media. “I’m interested in revisiting his tape and watching all of it and understanding how we are improving collectively.
“So the answer to that question is definitely no.”
The result means the Steelers slip to 1-2 on the year when they are expected to host the Jets in Week 4. The Browns move to 2-1 – and the top of the AFC North – and travel to face the Atlanta Falcons next week.
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