Steelers Browns
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) leaps out of a tackle attempt by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (25) during the first half of an NFL football game in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Steelers Pull Past Browns With Defensive Outpour

Week 2’s slate for Monday Night Football offered audiences a double-header to occupy their viewing for the night.

While both contests came down to the wire, the results materialized in different ways. The Pittsburgh Steelers took the defensive approach against the Cleveland Browns, winning 26-22 with the help of two defensive touchdowns. The win marked Pittsburgh’s 20th consecutive regular-season home win against Cleveland.

The Steelers’ pair of defensive scores split between the first and fourth quarter brought along the win, but despite Cleveland’s best efforts, the loss Monday night may not be the worst loss the team experienced.

How It Happened

The Steelers’ defense got going right away with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by Alex Highsmith. The linebacker brought home the pick-six just nine seconds into the game and set the tone early. The Browns responded quickly with a field goal to make it 7-3 Steelers after the first quarter.

Scoring picked up in the second quarter on both sides. The Browns pulled ahead thanks to a three-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion. The Steelers kicked a field goal to tie it once more. Quarterback Kenny Pickett connected with George Pickens on a 71-yard touchdown. After a missed two-point conversion, the Steelers led 16-11.

Both teams faced brutal injuries in the second quarter as Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and Browns running back Nick Chubb went down during the same possession. Fitzpatrick went to the hospital while Chubb is now ruled out for the season.

In the third quarter, Pittsburgh tacked on an extra field goal. The Browns responded with another eight-point swing to take a 22-19 lead headed into the fourth quarter. The lead held firm before a T.J. Watt scoop-and-score settled the game for good at 26-22. Cleveland missed its final chance at victory after a contested pass in the final minutes was ruled to not be pass interference.

What It Means

For the Steelers, there’s mostly positives to take away from the win. A win is a win, of course, and to pull off a clutch performance on the backs of your defense is reassuring. However, Pittsburgh will look for more out of its offensive attack. Kenny Pickett will rarely be able to skate by with one offensive score in later (and more competitive) games.

The Browns are facing an ultimate gut punch following Monday night. There’s not much that hasn’t already been said about losing to a rival in late-game fashion. The real blow here is Chubb. He was buy-and-large the reason for Cleveland’s successes this year, and the team will be in a frenzy to recover his production in other areas.

The win and the injuries make it clear that the AFC North is open for the taking this season.

About Jackson Castellano

Jackson Castellano is a third-year Sports Media Journalism student at the University of Florida.

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