Steelers score vs. Browns takeaway: Nick Chubb and Amari Cooper propel Cleveland past Pittsburgh

Steelers score vs. Browns takeaway: Nick Chubb and Amari Cooper propel Cleveland past Pittsburgh

Four days after their heartbreaking loss, the Browns rebounded by beating their longtime rivals at home on ‘Thursday Night Football’. Helped by Nick Chubb and a solid second half by their defense, the Browns posted a 29-17 victory to improve to 2-1 on the season. Pittsburgh, fresh from their own disappointing Week 2 loss, fell to 1-2.

Trailing 14-13 at intermission, 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 received a big night 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 play. The Browns put an exclamation mark on the win with Denzel Ward’s defensive score on the last play of the game.

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

Cleveland responded with Brissett’s David Njoku touchdown with 8:58 left until halftime. The Steelers took their first lead moments later when Mitch Trubisky scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. Pittsburgh’s offense started the second half with another promising drive that ultimately fell through shortly after running through midfield. Pittsburgh, after doing little for most of the second half, managed to mount a late score that made it a six-point game with 1:46 left. A penalty on their ensuing inbound kick, however, allowed the Browns to reduce the game clock to nine seconds.

High winds affected both kickers during the first half. Boswell missed a 53-yard attempt on Pittsburgh’s second drive. Browns rookie kicker Cade York missed a PAT but caught it on his 34-yard field goal attempt late in the third quarter to give Cleveland the lead for good.

Why the Steelers lost

Heading into tonight, Trubisky didn’t have a game with more than 200 passing yards, but just did tonight, with a 20-for-32 stat line for 211 yards and no touchdowns.

Trubisky hasn’t shown enough this season, with some asking 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 recovery, but had a few key falls. The Steelers offense clearly still has a lot to do.

The defense couldn’t keep up with Chubb, one of the NFL’s top running backs, who recorded another 100-yard game to his resume.

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

Why the Browns won

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

Brissett looked confident and calm, and when needed was able to use his dashing abilities in close-range situations.

Speaking of racing games, let’s talk about Chubb. Chubb completely demolished the Steelers defense, making 23 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown. Since 2018, he has played in 24 100-yard games, the most in the league in that span.

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

What sealed the deal for the Browns was the defense that kept the Steelers off the field and forced them to make consecutive three-and-outs late in the game. The Steelers could never recover from those two saves, which brings us directly to our turning point in the game.

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

Turning

Late in the third quarter, a 35-yard pass from Trubisky to Jaylen Warren was called off due to a penalty kick on Chukwuma Okorafor. That drive led to a Steelers punt soon after and the Browns responded by scoring a field goal on their next drive.

With the ball back, the Steelers again couldn’t do anything with it, making a three and one out.

The Browns responded again, this time using 6:35 to make 11 plays for 80 yards and scoring a touchdown to make it 23-14. During the scoring campaign, several players made an impact and the Browns seemed to have full control of the game and Brissett seemed to have full control of his offense.

Chubb, who rushed for more than 100 yards on that drive, had his fair share of carries, including a 16-yard one. Cooper came out big in the air with a 32-yard pass to put them in Steelers territory. Chubb was the only one to hit for a yard on fourth-and-first.

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

Game of the game

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

Wide receiver George Pickens proved why he was the talk of Steelers training camp with just one take. In the first trimester, Pickens made an incredible one-handed grab that seemed to defy gravity.

Pickens’ catch came out of a second-and-third play, Trubisky throwing one down the right sideline. The 36-yard catch put the Steelers in the red zone and set up a Najee Harris touchdown.

And after

The Browns travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons next week, who are 0-2 as we enter Week 3. The Falcons’ two losses were both close, losing 27-26 to the Saints and 31-27 against the Super Bowl in defense. Rams champions.

The Steelers will host the Jets in Week 4. The Jets’ offense has been led by quarterback Joe Flacco so far, with Zach Wilson still on the sidelines with a bone bruise and torn meniscus. 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 the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa (739) and the Commanders’ Carson Wentz (650).


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