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Cleveland Browns bounce back from embarrassing loss to beat rival Pittsburgh Steelers


CLEVELAND — Nick Chubb rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown as the Cleveland Browns took control in the second half to beat the rival Pittsburgh Steelers 29-17 Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Cleveland Browns bounce back from embarrassing loss to beat rival Pittsburgh Steelers

Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper gave up the onside kick that gave the New York Jets a stunning comeback on Sunday. Thursday night against the Steelers, Cooper more than atoned for that mistake.

He finished with seven receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown, propelling the Browns to victory.

“We’ve got to own it, learn from it and dump it,” Cooper said this week of the slump against the Jets. Cooper spearheaded Cleveland’s rebounding performance as the Browns (2-1) claimed the No. 1 spot in the AFC North standings.

Pivot play: On the third and first to start the fourth quarter, quarterback Jacoby Brissett faked a transfer to Chubb. Cooper, meanwhile, pulled away from Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton before firing a 32-yard reception at Pittsburgh’s 39-yard line. Cleveland hit the ball in the end zone eight plays later to go up two scores. With the key play-action reception, Cooper became the first Browns player in nine years to finish with more than 100 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown in consecutive games.

QB Breakdown: Brissett delivered another solid performance in his third start for the Browns. He threw two touchdowns in the first half, the first to Cooper in the oblique, the other to tight end David Njoku in the back of the end zone. Brissett finished the game 21 of 31 passing for 220 yards as he continued to stabilize the Browns’ offense.

Disturbing trend: The Browns lost both starting linebackers to injury, including Anthony Walker, who was ejected from the field with a left knee injury. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah also left the game with a quad injury. Cleveland was already missing defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who suffered an ankle injury last weekend. — Jacques Trotter

Underestimated statistics namely: Cooper now has a receiving TD in consecutive games. No Browns receiver caught a receiving touchdown in consecutive team games last season.

Next game: at the Falcons (1 p.m. ET, Oct. 2)


Cleveland Browns bounce back from embarrassing loss to beat rival Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers preached an aggressive offensive approach after two weeks of disappointing performances. For a half, they delivered.

But a disappointing second half of an offense that couldn’t sustain drives coupled with a defense that couldn’t generate a pass or run defense buried the Steelers (1-2) in loss to the Browns.

Disturbing trend: For the second week in a row, the Steelers struggled to get an effective pass in the absence of TJ Watt. Larry Ogunjobi and Alex Highsmith combined for an early sack, but it was the only one until late in the fourth quarter. As the passing rush wanes, Brissett was only pressured on three of his 23 first-half losses. And out back, the Steelers secondary suffered a series of breakdowns and misunderstandings that led to big plays and touchdowns. Terrell Edmunds was in the wrong position on the Browns’ first score, an 11-yard pass from Brissett to Cooper, giving the receiver too much room. Cooper feasted on the secondary, racking up 101 yards on seven catches. The ineffective pass rush also contributed to the Browns’ ability to run the ball freely, and Chubb (23 carries, 113 yards) and Kareem Hunt (12 carries, 47 yards) cut through the Steelers defense.

The biggest hole in the game plan: Despite all the offensive adjustments made – at least in the first half – the Steelers still haven’t targeted the midfield. Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth wasn’t targeted until midway through the fourth quarter. This pass sailed high and Mitch Trubisky threw it into triple coverage. His first catch came with 2:56 left in the fourth quarter, an impressive catch for 26 yards. He followed it up with another on the next play in the middle for 15 yards. But trailing by two scores, it was too late for those completions to have a big impact on the game.

QB Breakdown: Trubisky did what he said he had to do in the days leading up to the meeting with the Browns: He was more aggressive and he targeted George Pickens — at least in the first half. Trubisky spread the ball more often in the first half, connecting to Pickens for a 36-yard completion — thanks to the wide receiver’s impressive one-handed hitch — for the Steelers’ longest passing game of the season. Trubisky also showed his mobility as he escaped pressure, completing 7 of 8 passes from outside the pocket for 108 yards in the first half – the most for the Steelers quarterback outside of the pocket since 2015. But Trubisky and the offense have returned. to an anemic mark of football in the second half. After completing 9 of 13 passes for 109 yards in the first half, Trubisky completed 6 of 12 passes for 41 yards until the final drive of the fourth quarter, when he targeted midfield and moved the ball to carried for a field goal. . — Brooke Prior

Underestimated statistics namely: Three different Steelers have now had a one-handed catch this season (Pickens, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool). No other team has had multiple one-handed catches yet.

Next game: vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, Oct. 2)


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