CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler suffered a concussion in a 24-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday, and with the first-year signal-caller out with his second head injury in a month, veteran Josh McCown finished off the game.
McCown completed 14 of his 27 throws for 118 yards and one touchdown without an interception, but committed a fumble that was lost at the goal line and recovered in the end zone for a Steelers touchdown.
“Obviously, it’s not ideal, but it’s part of the job,” McCown said. “You just go in and try to do the best you can to go in and execute as if you had taken all of the reps all week. I feel like the first drive went well. We did some good things the rest of the game, just didn’t maintain the momentum of the first drive.
“You know when you go against Pittsburgh that it is going to be a physical battle. You have to prepare on how they’re going to pressure you and the different kind of pressures that they have. You have to be prepared for them.
“Once you are ready to go and prepared, you have to execute. Watching the game, and seeing Cody play from the shotgun, I kind of had an idea of what they were going to do there and that you have your hands full, but you have to go in there and try to lead the team.”
The veteran-laden Steelers showed their physical superiority over the much younger Browns and registered eight sacks in the lopsided win. Both Kessler and McCown absorbed the punishment of four sacks each.
“They did a good job with their packages,” McCown said. “In the first drive, we did a good job of picking them up. As the game went on, they did a good job of mixing things up and getting to us. We’ll learn a lot as we see the tape. Credit to them the way that they prepared and executed.”
Six players collected sacks against the Browns, led by the 2.5 from Stephon Tuitt, and Pittsburgh’s top two tacklers, Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons, registered one each. Shazier added a forced fumble that was recovered by nose tackle Javon Hargrave in the end zone for a touchdown.
Prior to the win over the Browns, the Steelers had just 13 sacks on the entire season.
“They’re good players, no doubt,” McCown said of Shazier and Timmons. “When you have guys that can run like that, it changes the lanes underneath throwing the balls and our receivers outside of the pocket and stuff like that.
“I thought I had some more space to get a good throwaway, but Shazier made the play, they got the sack and the fumble. Those guys have done a good job. What we see over there in Pittsburgh with their personnel, it’s those two guys on their defense that kind of make it go.”