The Pittsburgh Steelers Keep Winning Streak Against Cleveland Browns
The Pittsburgh Steelers continued their domination over the Cleveland Browns with a thrilling victory in Week 2 at Acurisure Stadium. Despite having negative yardage in the fourth quarter, the Steelers managed to erase a fourth-quarter deficit and come out on top with a score of 26-22.
Steelers Defense Shines
The Steelers’ defense played a crucial role in the victory, recording four takeaways, six sacks, and scoring two touchdowns. Their outstanding performance was a major factor in the team’s success, as they shut down the Browns’ offense and made critical plays throughout the game.
Penalties Hurt the Browns
Penalties proved costly for the Cleveland Browns, as they committed eight fouls for a total of 81 yards. The Browns had 50 more penalty yards than the Steelers, which significantly impacted the outcome of the game. Two of the most significant penalties were committed by Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who grabbed the face masks of Steelers defenders while attempting to stiff-arm them during two separate plays in the second half.
Watson Accepts Blame
Watson took full responsibility for the penalties, acknowledging his mistakes and apologizing to his team. However, he also offered an unusual explanation for why the penalties occurred. According to Watson, when he stiff-armed the defenders, they grabbed his arm and continued pushing, leaving him with no choice but to swing across and inadvertently grab their face masks. He expressed the need to improve his technique to avoid such penalties in the future.
Face Mask Penalties Stall Browns’ Drives
The face mask penalties committed by Watson proved costly for the Browns, as they stalled two promising drives in the second half. On the first possession of the second half, after scoring a 70-yard touchdown, the Browns were approaching midfield when Watson committed an unnecessary roughness penalty by grabbing a Steelers defender’s face mask. The penalty resulted in a third-and-25 situation, leading to a Cleveland punt.
On the following possession, during a scramble, Watson once again grabbed a defender’s face mask to free himself. This penalty pushed the Browns out of field-goal range and into a third-and-26 situation. Although they managed to gain some yards on the next play, they failed to convert the first down, and the Steelers recovered a fumble.
Both penalties proved costly for the Browns, as they potentially cost the team valuable points and momentum in a close game. A field goal at that stage could have changed the course of the fourth quarter.
Steelers Defense Saves the Day
Despite a lackluster offensive performance, the Steelers’ defense stepped up and made critical plays when it mattered most. The defense scored two touchdowns, one on an interception returned for a touchdown by edge rusher Alex Highsmith on the first play from scrimmage, and the other on a strip sack by Highsmith, which T.J. Watt picked up and returned for the game-winning touchdown.
The Steelers’ offense struggled to gain yards and first downs throughout the game, only managing 255 offensive yards and nine first downs. Quarterback Kenny Pickett had an inconsistent performance, completing 15 of 30 passes for 222 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. However, a 71-yard touchdown reception by George Pickens provided the team’s only offensive score.
The Steelers will look to carry the momentum into their Week 3 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.
About the Author: Dave Holcomb is a sports reporter covering the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions for Heavy.com. Originally from Pittsburgh, Holcomb has covered college and professional sports for various outlets, including Fansided, Rotowire, and Yardbarker.