It was a Monday night showdown between two rivals. The Browns were playing for pride, while Pittsburgh had plenty on the line. It was possibly Big Ben’s final home game, and they are also fighting for a playoff spot. Before this game, Ben Roethlisberger’s record versus the Browns, including the playoffs, was twenty-five wins, three losses, and one tie. Both offenses struggled in the first quarter to push the ball down the field. It was a head-scratcher when Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski opted to keep his offensive out on the field, on fourth and seven, and were practically at mid-field. Unsurprisingly, Cleveland failed to convert on that play. Fortunately, Pittsburgh was unable to capitalize on Cleveland’s mishap.
Cleveland’s defense faltered in the second quarter as Jadeveon Clowney tackled receiver Chase Claypool, then all of a sudden, I thought I saw a flag on the play. It turns out that Clowney pulled off Claypool’s cleat, which then prompted the referee to throw a flag. Ben Roethlisberger threw a quick pass to receiver Diontae Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown pass. The Steelers took an early 7-0 lead. Pittsburgh’s defense was relentless, as it seemed Baker was running for his life all night long. Baker threw an interception on Cleveland’s first possession after the Steelers scored. The Steelers had to settle for a 22- yard field goal, which expanded the lead to 10-0 Pittsburgh and would remain the score into halftime.
Pittsburgh would tally three more points to widen their lead to 13-0 over the Browns. Cleveland responded, as Baker made a nice adjustment and got the ball out quicker. The drive resulted in a 3- yard touchdown pass to tight end David Njoku. At that point, the Steelers were up 13-7. Steelers kicker Chris Boswell connected a 50-yard field goal to push their lead to 16-7. Another Boswell field goal would give the Steelers a 12 point lead. Baker Mayfield showed no quit, as he guided the Browns down the field and ended the drive by throwing a 1- yard touchdown pass to tight end Harrison Bryant to cut the lead to 19-14 Steelers. Less than a minute remaining, Najee Harris shuffled to the right, brushed off two defenders, and found his way into the end-zone for a touchdown to put the game out of reach. The final score at Heinz Field was Browns 14 Steelers 26.
Let’s be honest the Browns defense has been disappointing as they have a surplus of talent. It sure won’t come as a surprise if the Browns decide to fire defensive coordinator Joe Woods after this season. It is in the Browns’ best interest to not bring back Jadeveon Clowney, as he is injury-prone and has highly underperformed as he makes 8 million dollars. This team does not quit as Myles Garrett played in last night’s game hampered by a groin injury, and Baker Mayfield playing through a torn labrum. This team has the resources to win a championship, all they need is to put the pieces together.