Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ron Schwane/AP/Shutterstock (13412923ae) Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) carries the ball during the second half of the team’s NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cleveland Steelers Browns Football, Cleveland, United States – 22 Sep 2022
Browns 29, Steelers 17
The Cleveland Browns have taken countless beatings at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers in recent years, as the two organizations have represented two entirely different kinds of consistency over the past several decades. Despite a tumultuous offseason, the 2022 Browns are desperate to take a step in the right direction for the organization. Beating the Steelers means everything to Cleveland’s fans, a feat they’ve accomplished only four times in their last 32 meetings. With both squads entering the game at 1-1, an opportunity to seize an early AFC North lead was available for the taking at FirstEnergy Stadium Thursday night.
Both offenses looked spry in the first half, each scoring two touchdowns – but the kicking game proved troublesome almost immediately on a chilly, windy night in Cleveland. Pittsburgh led 14-13 at the half thanks to a missed extra point by Browns kicker Cade York, but the Steelers squandered an opportunity for a bigger lead due to a Chris Boswell missed field goal in the first quarter.
After a quiet third quarter saw only a short Browns field goal by Cade York, Cleveland would enter the fourth quarter with a 16-14 advantage. After forcing another quick three-and-out series, Cleveland would deliver a crushing blow with an 11-minute, 80-yard drive to extend the lead to 23-14. In a battle waged between two run-heavy offenses, Cleveland’s control of the football wore the Steelers down as the evening went along. The Browns ran 25 plays between their two scoring drives to open the half. They dominated the time of possession for the game as a whole, 36:09 to 23:51. Nick Chubb led the way with 113 yards on the ground, while Jacoby Brissett played turnover-free football while going 21 of 31 for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. It was a blueprint win for the Browns and a shining example of what their game plan looks like when it works the way it is supposed to.
Any win over the Steelers feels like a bit of an exorcism of demons to Cleveland fans, but this one had to feel especially sweet. Just four days prior, Browns fans were dejected following an all too familiar late-game collapse against the Jets. Tonight, they’d finish the story the right way by avoiding mistakes and protecting a late lead en route to a 29-17 win. For now, Cleveland sits atop the AFC North on much less familiar ground – but with only three weeks under their belt, it remains to be seen how deep into 2022 they can stay there.
Next Week: Pittsburgh: vs. NY Jets, Cleveland: at Atlanta