Jacoby Brissett threw two touchdown passes, Nick Chubb ran for a score and the Cleveland Browns bounced back from their epic slump four days earlier to beat rival Pittsburgh Steelers 29-17 Thursday night in Cleveland.
The Browns (2-1) built a nine-point lead early in the fourth on Chubb’s one-yard run, then held on for life.
Cleveland fans finally got a breather when cornerback Denzel Ward fell on a Steelers fumble in the end zone on the final play for a meaningless touchdown.
Brissett connected with Amari Cooper and David Njoku for touchdowns and went 21 of 31 for 220 yards. The 29-year-old had his second consecutive solid game as he fills in while Deshaun Watson is serving an 11-game suspension.
Chubb had 113 yards and pushed and twisted across the goal line at fourth base with 9:29 left to give the Browns a 23-14 lead.
Mitch Trubisky and the stagnant Steelers offense showed signs of life in the first half, but bogged down after halftime, kicking on their first three possessions while gaining just 54 yards.
Criticized for not throwing deep the first two weeks, Trubisky threw a few long balls but didn’t connect enough.
The victory smoothed over a few tough days for Cleveland.
Sunday’s debacle was followed by Myles Garrett criticizing fans for booing the Browns as they walked off the field, and a fan was arrested for throwing a plastic bottle in the direction of owner Jimmy Haslam on the sidelines.
Rookie Cade York’s 34-yard field goal gave the Browns a 16-14 lead in the third quarter, when Cleveland lost four players, including starting linebackers Anthony Walker Jr. and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, to injuries.
Brissett’s seven-yard pass to Njoku put the Browns up 13-7 with 8:58 left before halftime. But for the second week in a row, York missed an extra point.
Trubisky led the Steelers on a 75-yard run — 51 rushing yards — before the QB rolled right and scored a 1. Boswell’s PAT put Pittsburgh ahead 14-13.
Steelers rookie receiver George Pickens expressed frustration at not receiving the ball in a loss to New England last week, saying he was open “90% of the time”. He wasn’t kidding either.
Trubisky finally hit him with a long ball, but it took a spectacular one-handed hold from Pickens for a 36-yard gain.