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Steelers find a way, beat the Browns 26-22 in Week 2

Week 2 meant a lot to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their rabid fan base. Not only was it Monday Night Football game vs. their division rival Cleveland Browns, but it meant a shot at redemption after laying a leg at home in Week 1 vs. the San Francisco 49ers.

Would the Steelers be able to get that awful taste out of their mouths? Or will the Browns keep their winning ways going after dismantling the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1? This prime time AFC North grudge match certainly had plenty of storylines.

When the Steelers had the choice this week, they chose to defer their possession to the start of the second half. After a touchback, the first play from scrimmage was a Deshaun Watson pass intended for Harrison Bryant which was tipped by Minkah Fitzpatrick. After the tip, Alex Highsmith caught the ball and raced into the end-zone for the pick-six.

Just like that, it was 7-0 Steelers, with the Acrisure Stadium crowd in a frenzy,

The Browns were right back on the field, and this time Watson took care of business and moved the ball down the field. A combination of short passes and Nick Chubb runs moved the Browns offense into field goal range. A failed 3rd down conversion set up the first field goal attempt of the game, and the good kick made the score 7-3 with 8:46 left in the first quarter.

The Steelers offense took the field for the first time, and the series was short-lived. Facing a 3rd and 2, Kenny Pickett’s pass intended for Calvin Austin III was intercepted, giving the Browns phenomenal field position. However, a Larry Ogunjobi sack on first down derailed the Browns’ drive and ended in a missed field goal, bailing out the Steelers second year quarterback.

Pittsburgh’s offensive woes continued, and resulted in a Pressley Harvin punt after a three-and-out. The Browns then put together another offensive drive which took the game into the 2nd quarter and into Pittsburgh territory. Facing a 4th and 1, Watson tried a quarterback sneak, and fumbled the football. The recovery by Ogunjobi set up the Steelers with good field position. What happened next was predictable. A pass to Gunner Olszewski was fumbled and recovered by the Browns, setting them up in the red-zone.

It took just a handful of plays before Watson converted a red-zone pass to Jerome Ford for the Browns touchdown. The score came at a cost when Nick Chubb left the game with a knee injury which was gruesome. When the Steelers jumped offsides on the extra point, the Browns elected to go for the two-point conversion. The conversion was good, making the score 11-7 with 14:02 remaining in the half.

Both teams exchanged possessions before the Steelers defense forced a 3-and-out after being pinned deep in their own end. The good field position resulted in a Chris Boswell field goal, making the score 11-10 with 9:11 in the second quarter.

Needing a jolt, the Steelers delivered when Pickett his George Pickens for a 73-yard catch and run for the first offensive touchdown of the game.

Following the touchdown, the Browns jumped offsides, which the Steelers elected to move the ball to the two-yard line for the two-point conversion. Najee Harris tried to go over the top, and was stopped short, keeping the score 16-11 with just over 6 minutes left in the quarter.

Another Steelers punt, plus Pittsburgh penalties, gave the Browns good field position on their next offensive drive. Nearing the end of the half, Watson and company were stopped and forced to try a 55-yard field goal attempt. The play where Watson was stopped was a sack by T.J. Watt, the sack giving him the all-time Steelers sack record.

The field goal was good, and made the score 16-14, a score which would hold heading into halftime.

The Steelers received the football to start the second half, and the Steelers offense was able to put points on the board with their first drive of the second half. It wasn’t the touchdown many had hoped for, but a mix of run and pass got into Chris Boswell’s field goal range. The 50-yard kick was good, making the score 19-14.

Looking as if the tide might be shifting in the Steelers’ direction, the defense couldn’t hold up. A 69-yard run by Jerome Ford got the ball to the one yard line before plunging into the end zone. The Browns went for the two point conversion, and were successful, making the score 22-19 with 10:01 left in the third quarter.

Both teams were unable to add to their point total for the remainder of the 3rd quarter and into the final frame. Pinned in their own zone after another great Pressley Harvin punt, the Browns started to look like they were mounting the game-clinching drive. That is until Alex Highsmith strip sacked Watson and the ball was recovered and returned by T.J. Watt for the Steelers touchdown.

The extra point was good, making the score 26-22 with 6:58 remaining in regulation.

Following a Cleveland punt, the Steelers offense took over with 4:37 left in the final quarter and a chance to ice away the win. The drive lasted just three plays before punting it back to Cleveland with 2:55 remaining.

The Browns drove to midfield against the Steelers prevent defense, but on 4th down it was Joey Porter Jr. who came up with the pass defense to end the game.

The Steelers win moves their record to 1-1 on the season, and gives them their first win of the season as they prepare for the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football in Vegas in Week 3. Stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they look to stack wins for the first time in 2023.

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