Expectations are very high for the Pittsburgh Steelers coming into the 2017 NFL season. The journey for a seventh Super Bowl title would begin on the road against the division rival Cleveland Browns. Most would have expected Pittsburgh to win this game easily, but teams are usually still finding themselves early in the year and anything can happen when AFC North teams play each other.
The Steelers would force a quick three and out and then jump on the scoreboard when Anthony Chickillo recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. Cleveland would tie the game with :22 left in the first quarter on a DeShone Kizer 1yd TD run. The game would remain tied until :45 remaining in the half. That is when Ben Roethlisberger would throw his first of two touchdown passes to Jesse James.
Zane Gonzalez would make it 14-10 after connecting on a 24yd FG early in the third quarter. The second Roethlisberger to James connection came with 5:37 left in the third and gave Pittsburgh a 21-10 lead. The Browns would fight back with a Kizer touchdown pass to Corey Coleman from three yards out. The two-point conversion attempt was good and now Cleveland trailed by just three. The Steelers were able to move the ball on the following drive to eat the clock and hold on for a 21-18 victory.
It was not a great showing from Pittsburgh, but it is only week one and this was the first time that all the starters have played together since last season. I feel like the offense will open up more and find continuity as the season progresses. Roethlisberger moves into 9th place on the all-time passing yards list with 263 today. Le’Veon Bell only had 32yds rushing, but with the holdout it may take some time for him to ramp up his touches per game. Antonio Brown lead all receivers with 182yds on eleven catches.
The defense collected seven sacks today, with T.J. Watt and Anthony Chickillo leading the way with two apiece. Pressuring the defense will be key for this team, especially with plenty of unknowns in regards to the secondary. Stephon Tuitt left the game in the first quarter with an arm injury. Hopefully it is nothing serious, since he is a major part of the defensive line.
Overall Record: 1-0
Next Game: Sunday September 17 vs. Minnesota Vikings 1:00pm FOX