RECAP: Cleveland Browns fall to Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-18, in regular-season opener

4:00 p.m.-BROWNS FALL TO STEELERS IN SEASON OPENER

CLEVELAND -- On the strength of big plays from wide receiver Antonio Brown, clutch passes from Ben Roethlisberger and consistent scoring over the first three quarters, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns, 21-18, in the 2017 regular-season opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.

After a sluggish start from the offense, Roethlisberger completed 24 of his 36 attempts for 263 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

Eleven of Roethlisberger’s 24 completions found Brown, and he turned those catches into a game-best 182 yards, including a gain of 50 yards on a tipped pass off the hand of Browns linebacker Joe Schobert and a 38-yarder in a crowd of Cleveland defenders that extended the final drive of the game.

Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer completed 20 of his 30 throws for 222 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a rushing score to his credit. Additionally, Kizer finished with one rushing touchdown and 17 yards, which were second only to 33 yards from running back Isaiah Crowell.

Kizer was sacked seven times in his NFL regular-season debut.

3:45 p.m.-KIZER THROWS FIRST CAREER TD PASS 

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns cut the Pittsburgh Steelers’ lead down to three points, 21-18, on rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer’s first career touchdown pass and a two-point conversion run from Isaiah Crowell with 3:36 to play in the fourth quarter of the 2017 regular-season opener.

On fourth-and-two from the Steelers’ three-yard line, Kizer took a shotgun snap after a shift overloaded the right side of the defense with four receivers, and then, fired a slant pass to wide receiver Corey Coleman on the left side of the formation for the touchdown.

Coleman held onto the touchdown pass despite taking a crushing illegal helmet-to-helmet hit from Pittsburgh defensive back J.J. Wilcox at the goal line.

2:58 p.m.-STEELERS INCREASE LEAD ON ROETHLISBERGER TD PASS

CLEVELAND -- The Pittsburgh Steelers took a two-score lead over the Cleveland Browns when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger slipped a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jesse James over the middle of the field with 5:37 to play in the third quarter of the 2017 regular-season opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The second Roethlisberger-to-James touchdown combination of the day gave the Steelers a 21-10 lead over the Browns.

Of the 75 yards the Steelers gained on their six plays from scrimmage on the drive, 41 came on a pass interference penalty against Browns cornerback Jamar Taylor on a throw intended for wide receiver Antonio Brown.

2:45 p.m.-BROWNS CUT INTO STEELERS’ LEAD

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns could not reach the end zone on their first drive of the second half, but a 24-yard field goal from rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez trimmed the Pittsburgh Steelers’ lead down to four points, 14-10, with 9:27 to play in the third quarter of the 2017 regular-season opener from FirstEnergy Stadium.

After forcing a Steelers punt to start the second half, the Browns mounted a seven-play, 53-yard drive that took 4:29 off of the third-quarter clock. When the drive stalled at the Pittsburgh six-yard line, Gonzalez converted the first field goal attempt of his career.

2:20 p.m.-ROETHISBERGER THROWS LATE FIRST-HALF TD

CLEVELAND -- After spending much of the 2017 regular-season opener struggling to convert first downs, the Pittsburgh Steelers got rolling late in the second quarter and mounted a go-ahead touchdown drive with 45 seconds to play in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.

On third-and-goal from the Browns’ four-yard line, veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threaded the needle through a host of Cleveland defenders to tight end Jesse James along the back line of the end zone, and the extra-point try gave the Steelers a 14-7 lead.

Early in the seven-play, 91-yard drive, Roethlisberger threw a pass over the middle of the middle of the field to wide receiver Antonio Brown. Although Browns linebacker Joe Schobert tipped the pass, Brown stayed focused, caught the ball, turned upfield and gained 50 yards.

Brown finished the first half with 102 yards on six receptions.

1:32 p.m.-BROWNS DRAW EVEN WITH STEELERS ON KIZER TD RUN

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns’ offense struggled to move the ball on their first two drives of the game, but on the third, everything clicked, and they drew even with the Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-7, when rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer rushed for a touchdown with 22 seconds to play in the first quarter of the 2017 regular-season opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.

On second and goal from the Pittsburgh one-yard line, Kizer took the snap, ran around left tackle and muscled his way into the end zone for his first career touchdown. Fellow rookie Zane Gonzalez added the extra point to knot the score.

Despite taking two sacks that spoiled the Browns’ second drive of the game, Kizer completed six of his seven attempts for 45 yards in the first quarter.

1:05 p.m.-STEELERS RECOVER BLOCKED PUNT FOR TD

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns were backed up in their own end zone on a punt attempt after the first drive of the game, and the Pittsburgh Steelers more than took advantage of the situation in the shadows of Cleveland’s end zone at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Facing a fourth-and-19 situation from their own 16-yard line after a quarterback scramble from rookie DeShone Kizer, negative nine-yard rush from Isaiah Crowell and a false start penalty on 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, the Browns called on Britton Colquitt to punt the ball, but the attempt was blocked by linebacker Tyler Matakevich and recovered by fellow linebacker Anthony Chickillo in the end zone for a touchdown.

Following the extra point, the Steelers held a 7-0 lead over the Browns with 12:44 left in the first quarter and without their offense having taken a snap. 

11:00 a.m.-GAME INFORMATION

CLEVELAND -- From starting more than two dozen quarterbacks to multiple first-round busts in the draft, the Cleveland Browns have had plenty of struggles since returning to the National Football League ahead of the 1999 season.

But nowhere have those struggles been more pronounced than when the Browns line up against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have beaten Cleveland in all but six of their 37 meetings since the 1999 season.

Additionally, the Browns are 0-12 in regular-season openers since 2004, when they defeated the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium, and those are trends the team is anxious to change.

However, the Browns have a chance to right a lot of wrongs and get the 2017 season started off right with a win over the Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.

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© 2017 WKYC-TV


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