PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers used defensive touchdowns within the first and fourth quarters to defeat the Cleveland Browns 26-22 on Monday night time at Acrisure Stadium, leaving the Browns winless in Pittsburgh within the common season since 2003.
However the rating wasn’t probably the most painful loss for the Browns (1-1), as operating again Nick Chubb suffered a big left knee harm within the second quarter and was carted off the sector. The Steelers moved to 1-1 with the win.
The Steelers’ offense could not rating, however that did not cease their protection from discovering the top zone to beat the Browns.
Outdoors linebacker Alex Highsmith scored 9 seconds into the sport, returning an interception 30 yards for a rating when Minkah Fitzpatrick deflected Deshaun Watson’s first cross of the sport. Then, because the Steelers trailed by three within the fourth quarter, Highsmith made one other massive play by forcing a Watson fumble, which outdoors linebacker T.J. Watt recovered and returned for the profitable 17-yard landing. The touchdowns marked the primary time since 2010 the Steelers had two defensive touchdowns in a recreation, and the primary time the Steelers recorded a fumble return landing and an interception returned for a landing in the identical recreation since 2009. They racked up six sacks, 9 tackles for loss, three pressured fumbles and 11 quarterback hits within the victory.
Quarterback breakdown: Kenny Pickett was erratic in his second begin of the season, however the struggles have been partially the playcalling and partially Pickett’s personal decision-making and mechanics. Pickett, who accomplished 15 of 30 passes for 222 yards with one landing and one interception, threw the decide on the primary drive of the sport and had a sequence of different first-half throws that missed the goal. However he settled down halfway via the second quarter when he hit Jaylen Warren in area for a 30-yard acquire after which linked with George Pickens in stride for the 71-yard rating. Although there have been extra encouraging moments from Pickett, he nonetheless lacked the consistency the Steelers want from their second-year quarterback. Like final season, Pickett and the offense struggled to maintain drives.
Troubling development: The Steelers spent the offseason proclaiming that the run recreation could be extra concerned than it was a 12 months in the past. But, they recorded one speeding yard within the first half in opposition to the Browns, the Steelers’ fewest speeding yards within the opening half of a recreation for the final 45 seasons, in accordance with Elias Sports activities Bureau. Halfway via the third quarter, Najee Harris had gained simply 4 yards on six makes an attempt earlier than breaking off back-to-back first down runs of 21 and 17 yards. The runs have been a big increase for Harris, who was booed earlier within the recreation when he tried leaping the road and fumbled wanting the aim line on a 2-point conversion. The Steelers completed with 55 yards speeding, with Harris gaining 43 yards on 10 carries whereas Jaylen Warren added one other 20 yards on six carries.
Eye-popping Subsequent-Gen Stat: Steelers large receiver George Pickens gained 56.8 yards after catch on his 71-yard landing within the second quarter, per Subsequent Gen Stats. Pickens was solely anticipated to realize 21.4 yards after catch. The rating — the longest landing play by any Steeler since an 84-yard Chase Claypool landing in Week 2 of 2020 — was Pickens’ longest of his profession, greater than doubling his second longest of 31 yards, which additionally got here in opposition to the Browns in Week 18 final season. Throughout coaching camp, Pickens stated he needed to emphasise his velocity and show that he was able to greater than highlight-reel catches, and he greater than did that along with his landing. — Brooke Pryor
Subsequent recreation: at Raiders (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)
The Browns misplaced to the Steelers. They misplaced certainly one of their most vital gamers, as properly.
All-Professional operating again Chubb needed to be carted off the sector within the second quarter after Fitzpatrick collided into Chubb’s knee.
The Browns offense struggled for a lot the remainder of the sport. And Watson’s last-ditch drive got here up properly quick. A season that when seemed so promising now not feels that manner.
Describe the sport in two phrases: Intestine punch. Cleveland has suffered poor luck in Pittsburgh over time, however Chubb’s harm has to rank up there among the many worst moments in current Browns historical past.
Troubling development: Watson continues to be a shell of the QB that led the NFL in passing in 2020. He dedicated two pricey facemask penalties, turned the ball over twice, which resulted in Pittsburgh touchdowns, and didn’t make any key performs within the fourth quarter. With Chubb’s harm, Cleveland’s season hinges on Watson carrying the offense, and there’s no signal he’s able to that proper now.
Purchase on a breakout efficiency: Jerome Ford gained extra yards (69) on a second-half run that arrange a go-ahead TD than he had his complete profession mixed (54 yards) coming into the sport. Chubb is irreplaceable, however Ford confirmed the Browns can nonetheless run the ball going ahead, as he completed with 106 yards on 16 carries. — Jake Trotter
Subsequent recreation: vs. Titans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)