A wild AFC North game Monday night saw the Pittsburgh Steelers mount a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the Cleveland Browns, 26-22.
The game’s big turning point came in the fourth quarter when Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith, who already had a pick-six on the first play from scrimmage of that game, broke through the Browns offensive line and forced the ball to coming out of Deshaun Watson. hand.
With the ball on the ground, TJ Watt, who set the Steelers all-time sack record in the second quarter with 81.5, scooped up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone to restore the momentum in Pittsburgh. It was his first career touchdown, and it couldn’t have come at a better time as the score grew to 26-22 in the fourth quarter.
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The Browns were able to get a big stop later on 3rd and 1 to force a Steelers punt, giving Cleveland over two minutes to drive down the field in comeback mode. But Watson didn’t have the late-game magic to take Cleveland to its first 2-0 start since 1993.
Watson completed a few passes, but failed to find Donovan Peoples-Jones on fourth down near midfield, ending the game in favor of the Steelers.
It was Pittsburgh’s first win this season after losing to the San Francisco 49ers last week, while Cleveland fell to 1-1.
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This back-and-forth battle got off to a wacky start on the first play from scrimmage, when Watson threw a pass to tight end Harrison Bryant that bounced before Highsmith snatched it out of the air and knocked it back 30 meters for a pick-six. The Acrisure Stadium crowd erupted as the home side took a 7-0 lead.
But the Steelers’ first offensive drive didn’t go very well either. Sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett threw a pass intended for George Pickens straight into Grant Delpit’s hands.
However, the turnover celebration wasn’t over in the first quarter, as Watson fumbled and then Gunner Olszewski did the same on the first play of the ensuing drive.
Watson took advantage of this second chance to finally get into the end zone, but one of the Browns’ key players suffered a gruesome injury. Running back Nick Chubb, who was having a strong half, was hit in the left knee by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who also suffered a chest injury during the play.
Fitzpatrick’s impact on Chubb’s leg caused his knee to bend awkwardly and Chubb immediately felt pain. The injury was so serious that ESPN refused to air the replay, and as the play went viral on social media, there was a good reason why that was the case.
Chubb was carried off the field and his face said everything it needed to show how serious the injury could be for the veteran running back. He finished the game with 10 carries for 64 yards.
His replacement, Jerome Ford, scored his first career touchdown, rushing three yards for the score and a 9-7 lead.
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The Steelers managed to force a few Browns punts, and after a field goal made the score 11-10, Pickett was able to find Pickens on a slant route and the electric wide receiver used his speed to take it to the house for a 71-yard touchdown.
Pickens finished the game with a game-high 127 yards on just four catches, although Pickett targeted him 10 times.
While the Steelers got the win, the offense needs to be dealt with quickly as Pickett once again struggled. He was just 15 of 30 through the air with one touchdown and one interception. The running game also struggled with Najee Harris rushing for just 43 yards on 10 carries.
For the Browns, it’s unclear how much of a loss Chubb would be, but Ford had a good shot on offense. He totaled 106 rushing yards on 16 attempts to lead the team. Amari Cooper also finished with a team-high 90 receiving yards.
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The Browns return home next week to host the Tennessee Titans, who are looking for their first win of the year. The Steelers finally hit the road to face the Las Vegas Raiders in Sin City next Sunday night.