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Sports

The Browns lose to rival Steelers in a defensive battle

A photo of fans outside FirstEnergy Stadium
Amanda Rabinowitz
/
Fans enter FirstEnergy Stadium on Oct. 31, 2021

In a mainly defensive battle that was tied at three at halftime, the Browns were not able to pull it out against the Steelers this week, as they lost 15-10.

The last time these teams played each other, the Browns won their first playoff game since 1995 in historic fashion, as they beat the Steelers 48-37.

The Browns were fresh off of a ten-day break after their Thursday night win against the Denver Broncos.

Heading into this week, the biggest storyline was the status of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. After sitting out last week, Mayfield was elevated to healthy this week.

While Mayfield's shoulder injury seemed to not waver his abilities, it was drops from receivers around him that proved to bite the team this game.

First half
With a noticeably big brace on his left shoulder, Mayfield led the Browns offense on the field for their first possession of the game.

Driving down the field with a healthy mix of intermediate passes and Nick Chubb rushes, the Browns got close to scoring a touchdown but could not.

Instead, Chase McLaughlin hit a 30-yard field goal — giving the Browns a 3-0 lead.

The Steelers, led by 17-year vet Ben Roethlisberger, attempted to drive the field off the legs of rookie running back Najee Harris. However, the Browns defense proved too scary, forcing a punt back to the Browns.

As they ended the quarter driving the field, the Browns offense was held up to start the second. A failed fourth down conversion just beyond the 50 yard line gave the ball back to the Steelers.

They drove deep into Cleveland territory, but settled for a field by Chris Boswell to tie the game at 3-3.

The Steelers got the ball back almost instantly after a quick three-and-out — a drive they followed up with a punt themselves followed by another couple puns from each team to end the half.

Early in the game, the defense played a bigger role than some may have originally thought. However, this proved to be the true AFC North matchup everyone was hoping for - scrappy and hard hitting.

Second half
Another quick punt continued the trend out of halftime for the Steelers, allowing the Browns an attempt to score the game's first touchdown.

As Mayfield picked apart the defense without an incompletion, the drive was finished off with a 10-yard touchdown run from D'Ernest Johnson. An extra point set the Browns up seven, 10-3.

The Steelers were able to drive the field and score as well on their next drive off the legs of an eight-yard Harris rush. However, due to Boswell's second quarter injury, the Steelers were forced to go for two, and fail to score. Thanks to that, the Browns remained in the lead 10-9 to end the third quarter.

Quickly driving the field after another Browns punt, the Steelers were able to take the lead off a quick Roethlisberger strike to TE Pat Freiermuth. Another failed two-point conversion made it 15-10 Steelers -- giving them their first lead of the game.

The Browns drive lasted just over minutes until a Jarvis Landry fumble gave the ball back to the Steelers on their side of the field.

With six minutes left and a five-point lead, the Steelers fell just short of a first down — bailing Landry out for his previous mistake.

The Browns were able to make their way deep into Steelers territory, but faced a fourth-and-long with less than two minutes to keep their hopes of winning alive. Unfortunately, dropped passes ended the drive, and the game, for the Browns.

The Steelers (4-3) win the first of two matchups against the Browns this season, 15-10, and face off against the Chicago Bears on Monday, Nov. 8.

The Browns (4-4) have their second divisional game of the season Sunday, as they travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals (5-3).