Cleveland holds on to defeat Pittsburgh 48-37

USA Today Sports

The Browns hadn’t won in Pittsburgh since the 2003 season.

The Browns hadn’t appeared in the playoffs since the 2002 season.

The Browns hadn’t won a playoff game since the 1994 season.

You could say Sunday’s victory was a long time coming.

While there were tense moments, Cleveland led from cover to cover, defeating the Steelers 48-37 to advance to the divisional round.

After taking a 35-10 lead into halftime on the heels of four Pittsburgh turnovers, the Browns’ advantage was cut to 35-23 late in the third quarter. But with fourth-and-1 on the Pittsburgh 46 to start the fourth period, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin elected to send the punt team on the field to try to draw Cleveland’s return team offside.

The strategy didn’t work, Pittsburgh took a delay of game, and then decided to punt.

It was a curious decision, as Cleveland’s defense hand’t stopped the Steelers from scoring since early in the second quarter.

The Browns had punted three times to that point in the second half, with two of those possessions going three-and-out. But Cleveland’s offense finally got going. Jarvis Landry made a 17-yard receptions on third-and-2 to keep the drive alive. And a few plays later, Nick Chubb took a screen 40 yards to the end zone to put Cleveland back up 42-23.

Pittsburgh got back onto board quickly with Chase Claypool’s 29-yard touchdown. But following a Cleveland field goal, Roethlisberger threw a final interception that effectively took the Steelers out of the game.

Claypool caught a second touchdown with 1:09 left, but Pittsburgh’s onside kick failed.

Roethlisberger set an NFL record for a regular-season or postseason game with 47 completions and his 501 yards are second-most in postseason history. But he also threw a career postseason high four interceptions in the contest.

Baker Mayfield finished his first playoff game 21-of-34 passing for 263 yards with three touchdowns. Chubb had 145 yards from scrimmage and a TD. Landry was Cleveland’s leading receiver with five receptions for 92 yards.

Cleveland’s win was made more impressive given that the club was without several coaches — including head coach Kevin Stefanski — and several players, including star cornerback Denzel Ward and Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio. Plus, Cleveland hadn’t won a road playoff game since 1969.

The Browns will travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in the divisional round at 3:05 p.m. ET next Sunday.

For the Steelers, it’s a disappointing end to their season — especially considering the opponent and the location. Pittsburgh hasn’t won a playoff game since 2016.

30 responses to “Cleveland holds on to defeat Pittsburgh 48-37

  1. Well, it was time for the browns. From literally the very first snap, they dominated the game and set the tone. I am happy for them, they deserves it. The wheels fully came off for the Steelers, the browns might have just sent ben into retirement. However, if they don’t tighten up that passing defense against the chiefs it might be a long night for them. Great job for the underdog.

  2. The way Big Ben was sitting on the bench after the game soaking it all in, he knows that was his last game.

  3. The Steelers players should have spent less time bashing their opponent during interviews and more time practicing. I’m glad they lost.

  4. Tomlin was outcoached by a team without a coach! This one was worse that losing to Tim Tebow and Blake Bortles at home. Awesome! Thanks pittsburgh for the laughs

  5. Steelers thought they could show up and beat “the same old Browns”…….Browns kicked them in the teeth……..guess you should have left the JV on the field from last week.

  6. Not watching, did Big Ben stop crying on the bench long enough to shake hands? I did notice he wasn’t alone on the bench, so much for good sportsmanship.

  7. From a Baltimore fan, congratulations to the Browns and the fans for the win. Well deserved

  8. Congrats to the Browns!!!

    Sadly… more poor sportsmanship tonight. Ben and JuJu can’t manage a congrats handshake.

    What’s up w that? Cmon man

  9. Well that collapse was almost unexpected.
    But with all the injuries at linebacker, that defence looked like a confused and disorganized bunch for the entire night. And while the offence tried to get out of the whole they dug themselves, it still was a night that showed they have major issues at quarterback and running back.

  10. Juju, I’d just stop if I were you with the trash talking & dancing… I believe you were 0 for 3 this year in those activities once you played the game.

  11. At first I thought the Browns would choke but they didn’t. Happy for them and Stephanski success.

  12. Ben has been predictably awful in the playoffs as of late. This was no exception he cost the Steelers the game if not for him Steelers have a chance to win. The Browns scored enough to basically not care for a quarter before putting it away. Browns toyed with the Steelers in every way.

  13. If like me you’re a neutral it was a great win for the Browns. After the play-off drought and the seasons with hardly a win, this was a welcome turnaround. Seems like Ben should retire after a great career.

  14. Cleveland started playing prevent in the middle of the second quarter and made this one a lot closer than it needed to be.

  15. Like both these teams. Sad to see Ben go out that way (time always wins out over youth) and was glad to see a young and upcoming team play well. Anyone who says otherwise is just a hater of the other team. Enjoy today, live it like it is your last, for someday it WILL be….

  16. As a long time Steeler fan I wonder what it is about Tomlin coached teams that always seem to lose the games they are suppose to win. Happens way too often to be a coincidence. I am a Tomlin fan, just asking for a friend!

  17. The Steelers at times looked old and slow. They have some good, young dynamic players. But they also have a core of older players who are showing their age. Ben is not a self-care prodigy like Brady, so I expect his body is starting to wear down. Five hundred yards passing is good, but 4 INTs is killer. I wonder if the Steelers will be joining teams looking for QB upgrades this off-season. They are not in a good position to find one right now.

  18. Steelers should’ve ran the JV back out there. They performed better last week than the 1st string did this week.

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