There would be no last-minute collapse this time in Cleveland.
The Browns’ backup quarterback greatly outplayed Pittsburgh’s starter.
The running game dictated play, gashing the Steelers defense.
Coming off an epic collapse against the New York Jets on Sunday, Cleveland made it look easy in all facets of the game as Thursday night’s game wore on, defeating the Steelers, 29-17.
Here’s how Ohio media members viewed the win:
“They faced a longtime nemesis in the Steelers,” wrote Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. “They faced a two-score fourth-quarter lead. They even faced another onside kick. This time, unlike each of the past two games, they didn’t lose a two-score lead in the fourth quarter. They didn’t let an onside kick get recovered.”
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com summed up the importance of the win for the Browns.
“Not only did they wash away the stench of that 31-30 loss to the Jets — after blowing a 30-17 lead with 1:22 left and getting booed by the home crowd — they did it against their former big brother in the AFC North who’s been beating up on them for years.”
Now, the Browns sit atop the AFC North. The Steelers are 1-2.
“They can sit back on Sunday and watch the rest of the league beat up on each other, knowing they’ll still wake up on Monday in first place in the AFC North, albeit just three weeks in,” Easterling wrote. “By late Thursday evening, (running back) Nick Chubb had worn the Steelers into the ground. He ran for 113 yards on 23 carries.”
The Browns’ ground game proved too much for the Steelers and sealed the win, according to Zac Jackson of The Athletic.
“Running to win. It’s the Browns’ ideal blueprint, and it’s an offensive lineman’s dream. ‘Imposing our will,’” Browns left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. said after the game. “It’s a great feeling knowing you’re just kicking their (butt).”
Cleveland writers are also jumping on the Jacoby Brissett bandwagon. Brissett is the Browns’ starting quarterback for at least the first 11 weeks as the team waits for suspended quarterback Deshaun Watson to return.
“In the past two games against the Jets and Steelers, Brissett has shown what he can do when he’s surrounded by some of the top offensive linemen and running backs in the league,” wrote Marla Ridnour of the Beacon Journal. “His passer rating in those two games is 106.2, his completion percentage 74.1.
“Going into the season, the presumption was that the defense would have to carry the Browns until Watson returned. No one saw 28.3 points per game (seventh in the league) coming. No one outside Browns headquarters, that is.”
Where do the Steelers go from here? Things look bleak without linebacker TJ Watt.
“For the second week in a row, the Steelers struggled to get an effective pass rush going in TJ Watt’s absence,” wrote ESPN. “Larry Ogunjobi and Alex Highsmith combined for a sack early, but that was the only one until late in the fourth quarter. With the pass rush faltering, Brissett was pressured on only three of his 23 dropbacks in the first half. And on the back end, the Steelers’ secondary had a series of breakdowns and miscommunications that led to big plays and touchdowns.”
Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review deputy managing editor. You can contact Ben by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .