We want more.
The Browns is the Browns. And guess what, they are moving on. For the first time since 1994, they have a playoff win under their belt, but the job is not finished and the Browns are not satisfied. They head to Arrowhead Stadium to face the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Browns traveled to Pittsburgh last Sunday night and shocked the Steelers. With HC Kevin Stefanski, pro-bowl G Joel Bitonio, CB Denzel Ward and other players and coaches out due to testing positive for COVID, no one believed in the Browns to come out victorious, except for the Browns and Browns fans. Heading into the week, there was a “nothing to lose” attitude, and when Pittsburgh WR Juju Smith-Schuster called Cleveland “nameless gray faces” and saying the infamous words “The Browns is the Browns”, there was fuel added to the fire.
On the very first play, C Mike Pouncey hiked the ball high and out of reach of QB Ben Roethlisberger and RB James Conner. The ball rolled to the end zone and was recovered by S Karl Joseph alongside a swarm of Browns defensive players. That play shocked the Steelers and the bad luck continued for them.
On the next drive, Big Ben overthrew a screen pass and it was intercepted by CB M.J. Stewart, which led to a TD Pass from QB Baker Mayfield to WR Jarvis Landry. It didn’t stop there. The Browns defense stopped the Steelers, got the ball back and drove down the field which was capped by a powerful TD run by RB Kareem Hunt. Still didn’t stop there. After a bad tipped pass, the ball was intercepted by Browns S Sheldrick Redwine and led to another Hunt TD. By the end of the quarter, the Browns were up 28-0, which was a NFL postseason record for points scored in the first quarter. At the end of the first half, the Browns were up 35–10 after a Steelers TD from Conner and field goal. The Browns added a TD to TE Austin Hooper. The second half got too close for comfort for Browns fans. The Steelers scored 13 points and were down 35-23 in the 3rd quarter. Just as the momentum shifted Pittsburgh’s way, a huge TD screen pass from Baker to RB Nick Chubb at the start of the 4th brought life back to the Browns. The Steelers answered with a TD of their own, yet failed to convert the two-point conversion. The Browns responded with a lengthy drive that was sealed with a chip-shot field goal by K Cody Parkey, putting the Browns up 45-28. The Steelers tried to answer again to make it closer, but Big Ben threw another pick, this time to LB Sione Takitaki, which spelled doom for Pittsburgh. The Browns ended up with a FG. The Steelers had a garbage time TD, two-point conversion and failed onside kick attempt.
The Browns won their first playoff game since 1994, 48-37, and their first win in Pittsburgh since 2003.
The Browns have to face the defending Super Bowl champion, Kansas City Chiefs and yet again Cleveland is labeled with the underdog role, understandably. However, they will have Stefanski, Bitonio and Ward back. Also, the Chiefs are the 19th ranked run defense in the NFL, allowing 122.1 yards a game and also are dead last in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing a TD 76% of the time while in the red zone. The Browns are 3rd best in the league in rushing YPG (yards per game) with 147 yards and also have the 4th best red-zone offense, scoring a TD on 72% of red-zone trips. Not to mention, having Bitonio back is huge, as the Browns O-Line is ranked 1st in the pass and run blocking, which is the first time that has happened in PFF (Pro Football Focus) recorded history. Furthermore, in the nine games that Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes has lost in his entire NFL career, the opposing team has averaged 35 rushing attempts and 156 rushing yards. The blueprint to beat the Chiefs is out there and it’s to run for your lives.
The Browns defense has been up and down all season and going against the high-powered Chiefs offense will undoubtedly be a challenge. The Browns defense is 30th in the league against defending tight ends and 25th overall against the pass. They’ll be going against the best TE in the league in Travis Kelce and speedy deep-threat WR Tyreek Hill is something the Browns will need to focus on. Of course, Mahomes is a top-tier QB in the league who leads the explosive Chiefs team, but the past few weeks have not been the best for Kansas City. Since Week 9, the Chiefs have gone 7-1, respectfully, yet they have been close, which is uncharacteristic for Kansas City. They jumped from a 19.0 opponent PPG and 12.6 PPG differential in weeks 1-8, down to a 26.3 opponent PPG and +1.3 PPG differential. The seams could be breaking on the Chiefs team and the Browns need to break it.
The Browns are still alive in the playoffs and the city of Cleveland and Browns fans everywhere are overfilled with excitement. The Browns are determined and ready to head to Kansas City, shock the world and come out on top. They are looking to head to Chiefs Kingdom and slay the dragon to head to the conference championship and take over the AFC throne. Tune in, this Sunday at 3:05 p.m., as your Cleveland Browns take on the Kansas City Chiefs!