Four days after one embarrassing meltdown, the Browns avoided another. Jacoby Brissett threw two touchdown passes, Nick Chubb had a touchdown run and Cleveland rallied to beat the bitter rival Pittsburgh Steelers 29-17 on Thursday. “We had the right guys in there to recover from that,” Brissett said. “And I think we responded. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the boys responded.”
Cleveland (2-1) built a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter on Chubb’s 1-yard run and narrowly held on. The Steelers (1-2) pulled within 23-17 on Chris Boswell’s 34-yard field goal with 1:48 left before Pittsburgh attempted an onside kick.
But unlike on Sunday, when the New York Jets rallied from a 13-point deficit to win 31-30 in the final 1:55, this time the Browns managed to deflect the kick and send the ball out of bounds. land. For a split second, it seemed like history would repeat itself. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was asked what he thought when the ball bounced near the Pittsburgh sideline.
“A lot”, he replied after thinking about it. Finally, Cleveland fans breathed a sigh of relief when cornerback Denzel Ward dove on a Steelers fumble in the end zone and on the final play for a game-ending touchdown.
Brissett completed touchdown passes with Amari Cooper and David Njoku. He finished 21 of 31 for 220 yards. The 29-year-old quarterback had his second solid game as the backup for Deshaun Watson, who is serving an 11-game suspension. Mitch Trubisky and Pittsburgh’s stagnant attack showed signs of life in the first half but faltered again after halftime. They punted on their first three possessions of the second half and gained just 54 yards.