The Browns faced the Steelers on September 18 in Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season. Here are takeaways and highlights from the game.
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Final Score: Steelers 26, Browns 22
The Browns and the Steelers faced off in this Week 2 divisional matchup, looking to gain an early advantage in a jam-packed AFC North. Cleveland was looking to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 1993 when a young Bill Belichick was their head coach. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh was eager to rebound from an ugly Week 1 loss to the 49ers.
Commentator Joe Buck expressed a sigh of relief at the end of a crazy first quarter, where there were four total turnovers (two for each team). The first turnover occurred on the first play from scrimmage, where a Deshaun Watson pass was tipped, intercepted by Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith, and returned for a touchdown. Both teams continued to struggle to secure the football, highlighted by a wild Steelers’ fumble recovered by Browns safety Grant Delpit. During Delpit’s return, Steelers’ tight end Pat Freiermuth punched the ball out, which bounced off another Steelers player’s helmet and sailed out of bounds.
The Browns started to settle in during the second quarter, led by Nick Chubb who had 6.4 YPC on the evening. As Cleveland was threatening to score with just over four minutes left in the first half, Chubb ran up the middle for a short gain and Minkah Fitzpatrick hit him low, pinning his leg as Chubb proceeded forward. ESPN deemed the injury too painful to show on replay, while those in attendance at Acrisure Stadium collectively groaned at the sight of Chubb’s leg being pinned in such gruesome fashion. According to multiple reports, Nick Chubb’s season is over.
Cleveland still had a football game to play, and they fought on despite their teammate’s unfortunate injury. Deshaun Watson threw a three-yard touchdown pass to running back Jerome Ford on the very next play. Following a successful two-point conversion, the Browns took the lead, 11-7.
The Steelers fought back, however, with two scoring drives capped off by Chris Boswell field goals down the stretch. Pittsburgh’s most impressive offensive play of the night came when Kenny Pickett threw a pass over the middle to George Pickens, who had more than 50 yards after the catch en route to a 71-yard touchdown.
The game which began with so many turnovers ended with a critical Deshaun Watson fumble. The fumble forced by Highsmith was scooped up by T.J. Watt and returned for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 26-22 lead with 6:58 left in the game.
The Steelers defense managed to hold the Browns scoreless for the remainder of the game and captured their first victory of the season at home.
monday night madness 😳
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 19, 2023
That KP ➡️ GP connection 🙌
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 19, 2023
TJ WATT FUMBLE RECOVERY TOUCHDOWN
ALEX HIGHSMITH WITH THE FORCED FUMBLE
STEELERS LEAD BROWNS LATE
— SportsTalk (@TheSportsTalk0) September 19, 2023
Unfortunately, a major injury is the biggest story from a Monday Night game for the second week in a row. After the Jets lost Aaron Rodgers for the season to a torn Achilles, the Browns have now lost Chubb for the season following a gruesome knee injury. Cleveland heavily relies on their running game, and Chubb has been a huge contributor since he joined the Browns in 2018. Although many expected Deshaun Watson to return to form this season, the Browns offense will have a tough road ahead establishing a balanced attack without Chubb.
Next week, the Browns will return home to face the Titans, who just enjoyed a thrilling overtime 27-24 victory over the Chargers.
The Steelers bounced back after the 49ers embarrassed them 30-7 last week. Kenny Pickett continues to show development, and his favorite target – George Pickens – is an emerging star for Pittsburgh. The Steelers will remain competitive in every game as long as the turnover-creating machine that is the Steelers’ defense continues to operate. However, they will need to improve the run game when the ball does not fall their way.
The Steelers will travel to Las Vegas in Week 3 to take on the Raiders, who looked impressive in their opening win against the Broncos but fell to the Bills in Week 2 with a final score of 38-10.
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