COIN TOSS: Steelers call tails. It’s heads. Browns win the toss and elect to defer. Steelers get the football first.
8:25 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Browns decided to put the Steelers offense on the field first, and it turned out to be a wise decision. Starting at the 22-yard line, the Steelers promptly went three-and-out, with consecutive James Conner runs netting zero yards and then Mason Rudolph threw the ball away while under pressure from Morgan Burnett. After a Jordan Berry punt that netted 43 yards, the Browns took possession at their 35-yard line.
8:31 p.m. – What Went Wrong: Things went from bad to worse for the Steelers because after their offense went three-and-out, the Browns covered 65 yards in five plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard sneak by Baker Mayfield that followed a 42-yard completion to Odell Beckham. There was 11:07 left in the first period.
8:44 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Steelers offense responded to the Browns touchdown by mounting something of a drive, only to have it end on a missed 44-yard field goal when holder Jordan Berry bobbled the snap from Kam Canaday. The possession began with a 16-yard completion to JuJu Smith-Schuster, with a third-and-13 situation converted on a 33-yard pass interference penalty on Denzel Ward, who was covering James Washington.
8:58 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Steelers lack of confidence in their running game bit them on a possession that began at their 20-yard line following a Browns punt that went for a touchback. After netting one first down on a couple of short passes, a couple more short passes had the Steelers facing a third-and-1 from their 43-yard line. Mason Rudolph’s pass intended for JuJu Smith-Schuster was low and beyond his reach. Jordan Berry came on to punt.
9:09 p.m. – What Went Wrong: A second holding call on Al Villanueva put the Steelers in a second-and-17 situation from which they couldn’t overcome. On third-and-12 from 20-yard line, Mason Rudolph’s attempted a pass deep down the middle but Johnny Holton couldn’t come down with the ball. Jordan Berry came on to drill a 57-yard punt that went out of bounds.
9:20 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Browns doubled their lead to 14-0 when Baker Mayfield capped a seven-play, 77-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry. Mayfield also completed a 41-yard pass to KhaDarel Hodge, and a 25-yard pass to Landry. On a third-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Joe Haden was flagged for pass interference in the end zone on a pass intended for Hodge, and Landry’s touchdown came one play later. It was 14-0 with 9:55 remaining in the first half.
9:27 p.m. – What Went Wrong: One the same play, DE Chad Thomas was flagged for roughing Mason Rudolph, and Greedy Williams delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on JuJu Smith-Schuster that sent him to the locker room. There was a penalty called on Thomas but nothing was called on Williams.
9:32 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Browns handling of the Steelers offensive line continued, and it served to turn the ball over on downs to the Cleveland offense at the 46-yard line. Facing a third-and-2 at the Browns 46-yard line, the Steelers first tried to run for it and Trey Edmunds was stopped for no gain. On fourth down, the Steelers went for it, but the attempted pass was sabotaged when Larry Ogunjobi beat Ramon Foster and got in Rudolph’s face.
9:42 – What Went Right: It started bad but ended good. A Mason Rudolph pass deep down the right sideline was tipped by Denzel Ward and intercepted by Morgan Burnett, who returned it 43 yards to the Pittsburgh 30-yard line. The Steelers defense allowed a total of 5 yards on three plays, and then Austin Seibert missed a 45-yard field goal to the right. The score remained, 14-0.
9:52 – What Went Wrong: After the missed field goal, the Steelers’ attempt to cut into the Browns lead was ruined by two sacks. The first was a 14-yard sack on a blitz by safety Juston Burris, and the second was a 10-yard sack by Chad Thomas, his second of the game.
HALFTIME: Browns 14, Steelers 0
10:11 p.m. – What Went Right: The Browns received the second half kickoff, but after Nick Chubb gained 12 yards on two carries, the Steelers defense stiffened and allowed 1 yards on the next three plays to force a punt. The Steelers then began their first possession of the second half at the 20-yard line.
10:18 p.m. – What Went Wrong: An 11-yard run by Jaylen Samuels on second-and-10 netted one first down, but then the next two plays were disastrous. A pass over the middle was dropped by James Washington, and then Mason Rudolph threw behind Tevin Jones on an intermediate crossing route and linebacker Joe Schobert intercepted at the Steelers 49-yard line with 9:44 left in the third quarter.
10:35 p.m. – What Went Right: It was costly, but the Steelers scored a touchdown on a 3-yard pass to Jaylen Samuels to cut their deficit to 14-7 with 5:39 remaining in the third period. The drive covered 87 yards in five plays, with 58 yards of that coming on defensive penalties. The first was an unnecessary roughness call on Damarious Randall for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Diontae Johnson, who was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Randall then was ejected. Another big penalty on Cleveland came when Greedy Williams interfered with Johnny Holton, and that 38-yard penalty gave the Steelers the ball at the 3-yard line. Two plays later, Rudolph hit Samuels for the touchdown.
10:50 p.m. – What Went Right: The third quarter ended with the Steelers trailing, 14-7, after Austin Seibert missed his second field goal of the game, this one coming from 50 yards. On the drive, Baker Mayfield completed 1-for-3 for 11 yards, and Nick Chubb carried four times for 11 yards.
10:59 p.m. – What Went Wrong: Once again the Steelers attempted to convert a fourth-and-short, and once again they failed. On the first play after the missed field goal, Mason Rudolph completed a pass to James Washington for 19 yards, and two plays later Trey Edmunds ran for 8 yards. But two incomplete passes turned the ball over on downs to Cleveland.
11:15 p.m. – What Went Wrong: It was another interception thrown by Mason Rudolph, and it led to the touchdown that seemed to ice the outcome, even though there still was 5:25 to play when it was scored. Rudolph was trying to get the ball to James Washington over the middle, but the ball was intercepted by linebacker Joe Schobert, and his 20-yard return gave the Browns a first-and-goal at the 4-yard line. On third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, Baker Mayfield threw the ball toward the back of the end zone, and tight end Stephen Carlson went up over Mark Barron to make the catch for the touchdown.
FINAL SCORE: Browns 21, Steelers 7