Steelers vs. Browns Score, Takeaways: Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper Drive Cleveland Past Pittsburgh

Four days after their heartbreaking loss, the Browns recovered by beating their old rivals at home on ‘Thursday Night Football’. Aided by Nick Chubb and a strong second half from their defense, the Browns recorded a 29-17 win to advance to 2-1 on the season. Pittsburgh, fresh from its own disappointing Week 2 loss, fell to 1-2.

Trailing 14-13 at halftime, the Browns took control of the game by scoring their first two drives of the second half. The offense was fueled by Chubb, who finished the night with 113 yards on 23 carries. Cleveland also got a big night out from Amari Cooper, whose 32-yard catch on a third-and-1 play set up Chubb’s 1-yard touchdown that extended the Browns’ lead to 23-14 with 9:29 to go. The Browns put an exclamation point on the win with Denzel Ward’s defensive score on the final play of the game.

After a slow start on both sides of the ball, the Browns — led by a 37-yard run by Chubb — struck first on Jacoby Brissett’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Cooper, who finished the night with 101 yards on seven catches. The Steelers responded with Najee Harris’ 5-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter. a ballet, catch with one hand by rookie George Pickens setting up Harris’ touchdown.

Cleveland countered with David Njoku’s touchdown from Brissett with 8:58 to go until halftime. The Steelers then took their first lead when Mitch Trubisky scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. The Pittsburgh offense started the second half with another promising drive that eventually spiraled out of control shortly after passing through midfield. Pittsburgh, after doing little for most of the second half, was able to mount a late scoring drive, turning it into a six-point game with 1:46 left. However, a penalty on their subsequent onside kick allowed the Browns to milk the game clock to nine seconds.

Heavy winds affected both kickers during the first half. Boswell missed a 53-yard attempt on Pittsburgh’s second drive. Brown’s rookie kicker Cade York missed a PAT but made up for it by making his 34-yard field goal attempt late in the third quarter to put Cleveland in the lead for good.

Why did the Steelers lose?

Before starting tonight, Trubisky didn’t play a single game with more than 200 yards of passes, but he just made it tonight, with a 20-for-32 stat for 211 yards and no touchdowns.

Trubisky has not shown enough this season and some have asked if he should be benched for rookie QB Kenny Pickett.

On offense, Diontae Johnson was the Steelers’ player of the night, with six receptions for 63 yards and a fumble at recovery, but had some significant drops. The Steelers attack clearly has a lot it needs to work on.

The defense was unable to keep up with Chubb, one of the best running backs in the NFL, who had another 100-yard game on his resume.

The defense missed TJ Watt and historically doesn’t win without him. They are now 0-6 if Watt is on the sidelines.

Why did the Browns win?

The Browns came out of a loss where all three phases of the game struggled and bounced back with a game where everyone had a helping hand in the win.

Brissett looked confident and composed and could use his hasty skills in close quarters situations when needed.

Speaking of running, let’s talk Chubb. Chubb absolutely destroyed the Steelers defense, setting up 23 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown. Since 2018, he has played 24 games of 100 meters, the most in the competition during that period.

I was also impressed with Cooper, who had a rhythm with Brissett, finishing the game with seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.

What sealed the deal for the Browns was that the defense kept the Steelers off the field and forced back-to-back three-and-outs by the end of the game. The Steelers were never able to recover from those two stops, which brings us right to our turning point of the game.

(And the garbage time defensive touchdown didn’t hurt.)

Turning point

Late in the third quarter, a 35-yard pass from Trubisky to Jaylen Warren was recalled due to a penalty on Chukwuma Okorafor. That drive led to a Steelers punt not long after, and the Browns responded by scoring a field goal on their next drive.

With the ball back, the Steelers were again able to do something with it and went three-and-out.

The Browns reacted again, this time using 6:35 to 11 plays for 80 yards and scoring a touchdown to make it 23-14. During the scoring drive several players impressed and the Browns looked as if they had complete control of the game and Brissett appeared to be in complete control of his attack.

Chubb, who passed over 100 meters on the ground on this ride, had quite a few rushes, including one for 16 meters. Cooper came high in the air with a 32-foot pass to put them on Steelers territory. Chubb was the one to hit it at fourth-and-1 for a yard.

To make matters worse for the Steelers, they responded with another three-and-out, making it two in a row.

Playing the game

The Steelers didn’t win, but they did get second best, a feature in our “Play of the Game” segment.

Wide receiver George Pickens proved with a single catch why he was the talk of the Steelers training camp. In the first quarter, Pickens made an incredible catch with one hand that seemed to defy gravity.

Pickens’ catch came from a second-and-3 play, with Trubisky tossing one to the right sideline. The 36-yard catch put the Steelers in the red zone and gave Najee Harris a touchdown.

What’s next

The Browns head to Atlanta next week to face the Falcons, who are 0-2 as we head into Week 3. The Falcons’ two losses were both close, losing 27-26 to the Saints and 31-27 to defending Super Bowl champ Ram.

The Steelers will host the Jets in Week 4. The Jets offense so far has been led by quarterback Joe Flacco, with Zach Wilson still on the sidelines with a bone bruise and meniscus tear. Wilson was expected to miss two to four weeks and will not return for week 3. For two weeks, Flacco is third in passing yards with 616, behind Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa (739) and Commanders’ Carson Wentz (650).

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