PITTSBURGH — 4:11 p.m./ET-Browns give up 20 straight points, fall to Steelers in Pittsburgh
Another year, another long bus ride back to Cleveland after a disappointing finish to a game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
The Cleveland Browns looked poised to complete their first regular-season sweep of the Pittsburgh Steelers since doing so three straight times from 1986-1988, but as has been the case often since their return to the National Football League in 1999, they will have to wait until next year to break the streak.
Despite jumping out to a 10-point lead in the second quarter and playing against Pittsburgh’s third-string quarterback with a limited body of work as a professional, the Browns allowed 20 unanswered points and never recovered on the way to a 20-13 loss to the Steelers in an AFC North Division showdown at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Sunday.
The Browns knew Pittsburgh’s defense was far better at generating pressure and forcing turnovers in front of their home fans, and that is exactly what plagued them as the Steelers made their comeback.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield was sacked five times for 23 lost yards and lost a fumble that turned into a Steelers field goal, which made it a two-score game early in the fourth quarter.
Although under duress for much of the game, Mayfield completed 18 of his 32 attempts for 196 yards and one touchdown, a 15-yard pass to running back Kareem Hunt in the second quarter, against a late interception and the one lost fumble.
Also, Mayfield played through a right hand injury, as he smacked his hand into the facemask of Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree on a follow-through on an incompletion late in the second quarter, missed the final two snaps of the half and returned after halftime to play the final 30 minutes of the game.
Former Browns defensive back Joe Haden came up with the game-clinching interception.
3:38 p.m./ET-Austin Seibert converts from 34 yards out
The Cleveland Browns were able to drive inside the Pittsburgh 20-yard line on their second possession of the fourth quarter, but like many other times this season, they could not push the ball across the goal line, and instead, settled for a mid-range field goal attempt from rookie kicker Austin Seibert.
When the offense stalled, Seibert converted a 34-yard field goal attempt, which cut the Pittsburgh Steelers’ lead to seven points, 20-13, with 7:30 remaining in the fourth quarter at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
3:19 p.m./ET-Pittsburgh tacks onto lead with Boswell field goal
The Pittsburgh Steelers forced and recovered a fumble from quarterback Baker Mayfield, and after a 10-play drive, were able to extend their lead over the Cleveland Browns to 10 points, 20-10, with 13:48 to play in the fourth quarter at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Veteran kicker Chris Boswell capped off a 10-play, 35-yard drive that took six minutes off of the second-half clock with a 29-yard field goal into the open end of the stadium, a notoriously difficult place to make kicks, even for those in black and yellow.
2:53 p.m./ET-Steelers take first lead over Browns
The Pittsburgh Steelers played much of the first half trailing the Cleveland Browns in front of the home fans at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, but thanks to 17 unanswered points, the crowd is reaching fever pitch early in the third quarter.
After a pass interference penalty charged to Browns cornerback Denzel Ward in the end zone, the Steelers called on running back Benny Snell Jr. and he delivered with a one-yard touchdown run to put Pittsburgh in front of Cleveland for the first time in the game.
With Chris Boswell’s successful extra point try, the Steelers took a 17-10 lead over the Browns with 10:36 to play in the third quarter.
2:30 p.m./ET-Baker Mayfield exits game with injury
After surrendering a 10-point lead, the Cleveland Browns tried to move the ball in the final minute of the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, but that may have proven to be a costly decision pending the results of medical examinations on starting quarterback Baker Mayfield.
On a deep pass attempt down the right side of the field, Mayfield hit the facemask of Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree on the follow-through and immediately began clutching at his right hand/wrist area while walking to the sideline.
After hustling to the Cleveland bench, Mayfield made the long walk to the visiting locker room at Heinz Field with medical personnel in tow and backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert replaced him for the final two snaps of the half.
The Browns and Steelers entered halftime tied at 10-10.
2:19 p.m./ET-Steelers draw even with Browns
The Pittsburgh Steelers trusted rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges to make down-the-field throws, and the Samford University product delivered in a big way late in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
On first-and-10 from the Browns’ 30-yard line, Hodges took the shotgun snap and lofted a pass down the right side of the field for wide receiver James Washington, who despite being interfered with on the play, made the catch in the end zone for the touchdown.
The ensuing extra point drew the Browns even with the Steelers, 10-10, with one minute left in the first half.
The play before the touchdown, Hodges completed a 28-yard pass that moved the ball from the Pittsburgh 42-yard line to the Cleveland 30.
2:07 p.m./ET-Boswell gets Steelers on the board
The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to move the ball down the field against the Cleveland Browns late in the second quarter, but failed to convert a third-and-long and settled for a field goal attempt from veteran kicker Chris Boswell into the open end of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Boswell converted the 39-yard attempt and cut down the Browns’ lead over the Steelers to a single score, 10-3, with 2:56 remaining in the first half of the AFC North Division battle.
1:52 p.m./ET-Hunt receiving TD adds onto Browns’ lead over Steelers
The Cleveland Browns knew the kind of impact running back Kareem Hunt could have when he returned from suspension, and for the second straight game, he extended a second-quarter lead, this time with a receiving touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Hunt caught a short slant on the right side of the formation, turned his shoulders square to the goal line and powered his way into the end zone for the touchdown, and with Austin Seibert’s point after, gave the Browns a 10-0 lead over the Steelers with 7:40 to play in the first half at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Facing a third-and-five from the Pittsburgh 15-yard line, the Browns lined up Hunt on the right side of quarterback Baker Mayfield in the shotgun formation, and after the snap, he ran out of the backfield and hustled to an open space over the middle, where he caught the ball at the 13-yard line.
Hunt ran through three arm tackle attempts on his way into the end zone.
1:34 p.m./ET-Browns lead Steelers after first quarter
An Austin Seibert 31-yard field goal gave the Cleveland Browns a 3-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers at the midway point of the first quarter at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, and that is where the score remained after the first period.
The Browns held a commanding edge in time of possession, 11:41 to 3:19, and outgained the Steelers, 77 to 2, in total yards over the first 15 minutes of the AFC North Division battle in Pittsburgh.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield completed six of his first eight attempts for 60 yards, while wide receiver Jarvis Landry accounted for 34 yards and two first downs on his two receptions.
1:17 p.m./ET-Austin Seibert puts Browns into early lead
The Cleveland Browns got the ball to start the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, and after the offense stalled inside the red zone, rookie kicker Austin Seibert put his team in front of their archrivals in the AFC North Division.
Seibert capped off a 13-play, 62-yard drive with a 31-yard field goal into the open end of Heinz Field, which gave the Browns a 3-0 lead over the Steelers with 7:31 to play in the first quarter.
Earlier in the drive, the Browns faced a third-and-14 from the Pittsburgh 26-yard line when quarterback Baker Mayfield rolled out to his right and fired a pass down the sideline for wide receiver Jarvis Landry that was originally ruled incomplete.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens elected to challenge the incompletion, and upon further review, Landry secured the catch, got both feet down in bounds and maintained possession of the ball throughout the entirety of the play for a 15-yard gain despite being run into by teammate Odell Beckham Jr.
It was the second Mayfield-to-Landry connection on the opening drive, as on third-and-seven from the Cleveland 28-yard line, the quarterback found his trusted wide receiver for a 19-yard gain.
11:40 a.m./ET-Browns expected to start Justin McCray in place of Greg Robinson
The Cleveland Browns are looking to complete a regular-season sweep of the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first time since 1988 with today’s game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, but they will go for the victory without the services of three starters.
Left tackle Greg Robinson (NFL Concussion Protocol) and safeties Eric Murray (knee) and Damarious Randall (coach’s decision) were among the Browns’ seven inactives for the game against the Steelers.
Additionally, the Browns deactivated wide receiver Taywan Taylor, defensive end Chris Smith, guard Drew Forbes and tight end Pharaoh Brown.
In place of Robinson, the Browns are expected to start versatile lineman Justin McCray at left tackle to protect quarterback Baker Mayfield’s blindside, while rookie Sheldrick Redwine is expected to start in place of Randall in an already depleted defensive backfield.
Running back Nick Chubb, long snapper Charley Hughlett, linebackers Christian Kirksey and Adarius Taylor, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and Mayfield will serve as Browns captains for the game.
11:15 a.m./ET-Browns looking to rewrite history in Pittsburgh
The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers did not have much time to process how the first meeting of the season went between the teams, as just 17 days after meeting in a game that was memorable for all of the wrong reasons.
Less than three weeks after a fight between the teams cost Browns defensive end Myles Garrett at least the balance of the season and nearly three dozen players some kind of fine, the Browns and Steelers will renew their rivalry, this time at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh today.
“It’s either you or the team. Make a decision. That’s it,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said prior to Wednesday’s practice.
“We want to be tough and we want to play smart because that’s what usually wins football games. That entails a lot of different things, and that’s just one aspect of it. You have to put it all together to be successful, and sometimes, when you have younger guys, it takes them a little time to put it together, and I think we’re starting to see some of those examples that they can focus and just concentrate on the task at hand.”
Recent history has not been good to the Browns when it comes to their AFC North Division rivalry against the Steelers.
The Browns have beaten the Steelers just seven times since returning to the National Football League in 1999 after a three-year hiatus, and that is a trend Cleveland’s players are very much looking forward to reversing by sweeping the season series for the first time since 1988.
“I always knew there was a rivalry, and Pittsburgh, I’m sure, always felt they were the big brother of the relationship,” wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. “I think it’s saying ‘Enough is enough.’ We’re over here to be a part of something that’s different than what’s in the past and to be the more physical team and to be the one that comes out on top.”
Running back Nick Chubb added, “In order to make it a rivalry, we’ve got to win more games, like you said, they’ve won more in the past, so it’s probably a rivalry to us, but not to them, and we’ve got to continue to win games so we can get up there with them.”