Despite losing kicker Chris Boswell to a concussion, the Steelers upset the Browns 15-10 in Cleveland this afternoon. The Steelers climbed to 4-3 with their third straight win. The Browns now have a 4-4 record. With 6:04 left in the fourth quarter, inside linebacker Joe Schobert’s forced fumble and outside linebacker T.J. Watt’s recovery at the Steelers’ 20-yard line after quarterback Baker Mayfield’s connection to wide receiver Jarvis Landry helped preserve a five-point Steelers lead.
With 4:22 left in regulation, the Steelers punted the ball back to the Browns, who took over at their 39. The Browns got to the Steelers’ 24-yard line this time, but after rushing back, they went backward. Nick Chubb was penalized one yard for a false start, while wide receiver Rashard Higgins was penalized five yards. On fourth-and-12 from the Steelers’ 26, just before the two-minute warning, Mayfield couldn’t connect with Landry, who was being defended by free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The Steelers were able to run out the clock thanks to a 50-yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Roethlisberger found tight end Pat Freiermuth for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the Browns’ 2 with 11:04 left in the fourth quarter, giving the Steelers their first lead. With Boswell out, the Steelers went for two, but Roethlisberger’s pass to Johnson fell incomplete, keeping the Steelers’ lead at 15-10.
On their opening drive of the third quarter, the Browns broke a 3-3 deadlock with big plays. Chubb’s 21-yard gain and Mayfield’s 21-yard pass to tight end Harrison Bryant headlined an eight-play, 86-yard march in 4:19 that was capped off by D’Ernest Johnson’s 10-yard touchdown scamper. With 9:36 left in the quarter, kicker Chase McLaughlin’s extra point gave Cleveland a 10-3 lead. The Steelers responded with a 12-play, 78-yard drive that took 5:57 and got them within a point.
On second-and-6 from the Browns’ 8, running back Najee Harris found the end zone, but the Steelers chose to go for two instead of having punter Pressley Harvin III attempt the extra point. Roethlisberger crossed the goal line on an empty-set keeper, but a holding call on center Kendrick Green negated the convert. When Roethlisberger was struck while releasing the ball by defensive end Myles Garrett on the re-try from the Browns’ 12, he threw incomplete.
Throughout the first half, the Steelers defense was a force to be reckoned with. The Browns moved 63 yards in 13 plays after receiving the opening kickoff, but after reaching first-and-goal at the Steelers’ 8, McLaughlin settled for a 30-yard field goal. On Cleveland’s second possession, Chubb was dropped for a loss of one yard on fourth-and-1 from the Steelers 39-yard line. With 9:18 left in the second quarter, the Steelers responded with a 10-play, 47-yard drive that took 5:36 and concluded with a 31-yard field goal from Boswell, tying the game at 3-3. The Browns went three-and-out on their next two possessions.
With less than two minutes left in the half, the Steelers had an opportunity to take the lead but instead chose to fake a field goal on fourth-and-9 from the Browns’ 10. Boswell was injured after his end-zone pass for tight end Zack Gentry dropped incomplete, and he was pummeled by defensive tackle Jordan Elliott after throwing the ball.
With 21 seconds left before halftime, the Steelers took a knee after taking over following a punt and 19-yard return by wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud to the Steelers’ 35. At halftime, the Steelers had a modest advantage in total net yards (137-132) and had gained 75 yards on the ground to the Browns’ 40.
The Browns came into the game with the most running yards per game (170.4), yards per carrying (5.36), rushing first downs (70), and rushing touchdowns in the NFL (13, tied). In the first 30 minutes, the Steelers also had four sacks (outside linebacker T.J. Watt had 1.5, defensive linemen Isaiah Loudermilk and Chris Wormley had one and defensive tackle Cam Heyward had a half of a sack).