Nick Chubb and Karim Hunt were a force from start to finish, and they were just as dangerous on the ground as they were in the air. Chubb darted 76 yards and added 69 yards through the air, the bulk of which was on the 40-yard screen landings early in the fourth quarter. Hunt scored twice while collecting 61 yards from attack.
Landry drove all five-grab Browns receivers to 92 yards and a drop. Austin Hopper added seven catches for 46 yards and landings.
Roethlisberger threw a whopping 501 yards and four touchdowns, but the Steelers never came close to 12 despite his dominance of possession time and Brown’s supremacy, 553-390.
“We took it to them. They would have had the best payback for us,” Jarrett said. “We were able to pounce on them early on and hold onto the lead.”
It started with the first game shot, and only improved from there in the historic first quarter, 28 points.
Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey airmailed the first shot of the game over Ben Roethlisberger’s head, and nobody caught it until the 2-yard line. The ball flew two more times before Browns S. Carl Joseph secured it for the spectacular defensive landing that opened the match.
“It was like a momentum swing for us from the jump itself, and we took it from there,” said Garrett.
MJ Stewart got the ball in the Steelers’ next possession when he grabbed Roethlisberger and formed Brown near the midfield. It took Cleveland only three plays to turn the takeaway into a touchdown, with Mayfield throwing a quick shot at Landry, who sprinted across the field and sprinted to the finish area 40 yards with 9:46 to play in the quarter.
Hunt scored his first touchdown of two to lock in a six-match run, at 65 yards, he made his way to the finish zone and pulled some Steelers with him all the way at 11 yards.
“It’s been a win or go home now,” Hunt said. “I will do everything in my power to help this team win. I will always leave everything there. I love the game of soccer. With every opportunity I have, I will try to achieve something with it.”
That came with 4:40 left in the quarter, but Brown didn’t finish.
Sheldrick Redwine intercepted Roethlisberger upon the ensuing possession, returning him to the Steelers’ 15-yard streak. The Hunt hit it from 8 yards, giving Browns a whopping 28 points in the first quarter with a 1:56 to spare.
“Everyone who was on the sidelines was like, ‘Let’s keep this lead. Let’s just keep going. Let’s go out and do our work,'” Mayfield said. “Obviously, going 28-0 in the first quarter is a great start. You just have to take advantage. At this point, it’s hard to play so you don’t lose or keep playing hard, and we did a good job. We kind of stopped for a while there, but … They took it back in the second half. “
The Steelers picked up the shutdown with 1:44 to play in the second quarter with James Conner relegated but Brown provided an immediate response. Brown needed only 1:10, drove 64 yards and regained 28 points on the 7-yard Mayfield lane to Hopper.
The Steelers got back in the third quarter with back-to-back landing engines to make Cleveland’s first-half lead more manageable, and Brown didn’t have the same kind of answers.
Roethlisberger and the Steelers moved at a brisk pace and snapped nearly all of their yards in the air. Eric Ebron captured the first touchdown, at 17 yards, while Joe Smith Shuster scored the second goal, 5 yards in fourth place and goal to make it 35-23 with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter.
Although it faltered a bit in the third quarter, the Cleveland attack woke up dramatically at the start of the fourth quarter to relieve some of the tension.
After kicking the Steelers from midfield, he found Mayfield Landry to convert Big to third with a 17-yard pass, and Brown was in the finish zone after several plays later when Chubb took a screen, plowed through two defenders and rushed to a 40-yard drop.
At that moment, Brown fans felt a mass exhalation, who watched their team end their playoff victory in a historic manner.
“It’s a hell of a feeling with the history in this building that Brown didn’t win, especially when Ben is here,” Garrett said. “We are just trying to change the culture, change the trajectory of our team and what people think of us.”
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