The Cleveland Browns had not swept the season series against the Pittsburgh Steelers since 1988. Pittsburgh wanted to make sure that statistic grew for another year. Two weeks ago, a huge brawl was the story between these two teams. After a bevy of fines, the three main factors in the fight were either suspended or benched. This game didn’t have any post whistle drama, but did have the feel of an old school back and forth football game.
Cleveland dominated the first quarter of this game, but was only able to get on the board once. That would occur when Austin Seibert kicked a 31-yard field goal with 7:31 left in the quarter. The Browns looked to run away with this contest mid-way through the second quarter when Baker Mayfield threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kareem Hunt to put their team up 10-0.
Pittsburgh finally began to show some signs of life on the offensive side of the board before halftime. Chris Boswell continued to be his reliable self when he booted a 39-yard field goal with 2:56 remaining in the half. Under two minutes later Devlin Hodges would find James Washington for a stellar touchdown pass. This would tie the game at ten heading into halftime.
The Steelers began to pull away with this game once the second half started. Benny Snell Jr. rushed for a 1-yard touchdown to put Pittsburgh ahead 17-10 with 10:36 left to go in the third. The Steelers defense kept Cleveland in check for much of the second half.
It was a pair of field goals, one by each team, that would account for all the fourth quarter scoring. Boswell would extend the Pittsburgh lead to ten after hitting a 29-yard attempt with 13:48 to go in the game. The Browns would counter with 7:30 left on a 34-yard kick from Seibert, to get Cleveland back within a touchdown. A late interception by Joe Haden would allow the Steelers offense to line up in victory formation to cap a 20-13 victory.
The Pittsburgh offense looked like a different machine with Hodges at quarterback. They would take shots downfield, which seemed to open up space for the running game to go to work. Hodges would finish the day 14-21 for 212 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Washington led all receivers with four catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Snell had 63 yards rushing on 16 carries with a touchdown.
The defense for the Steelers continued to guide this team today. They were able to keep Mayfield in check with five sacks and a fumble recovery. Haden had the big interception to finish the game. Maurkice Pouncey will return from his two-game suspension next week, Hodges will get another week of practice under his belt, and hopefully guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner will return from the injured list to help guide this team on the road against the Arizona Cardinals.