Bittersweet 16: Steelers rally for 20-13 win

Heinz Field remains house of horrors as 'Duck' gooses Browns

December 1, 2019
James Washington

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (92.3 The Fan) – Friday night Freddie Kitchens wore a fan favorite “Pittsburgh Started It” t-shirt.

Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, the Steelers finished it, again.

Third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges threw for 212 yards with a touchdown and interception and Benny Snell Jr. ran for 63 yards and a score on 16 carries to upset the Browns 20-13 at Heinz Field, the 16th straight defeat for the Browns in Pittsburgh.

The loss dropped the talent-rich but discipline-lacking and disappointing Browns to 5-7 and two full games behind the second place black and blue, running on fumes and yet they are 7-5 Steelers.

Former Brown Joe Haden intercepted Baker Mayfield with less than two minutes to play to seal the victory for Pittsburgh. Mayfield was 18 of 32 for 196 with a TD and that pick. He was sacked five times by Steelers defenders.

The Browns drew first blood on Austin Seibert’s 31-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead that capped the opening possession of the game.

Kitchens won a rare challenge on an incredible sideline grab by Landry, who kept both toes down as he fell out of bounds and Beckham’s hand on his back, for a first down. But the drive stalled when Chubb was dropped for a loss of one and Mayfield was sacked by T.J. Watt for a loss of 6.

Chad Thomas ended the Steelers opening possession with a 13-yard sack of Hodges on third down, his fourth sack of the season. Pittsburgh was outgained 77-2 in the first quarter by the Browns, who played keep away and held the ball for all but 3:19 in the first 15 minutes.

Mayfield hit Hunt, who did the rest on the final 13 yards, on a quick slant for a 15-yard score and a 10-0 advantage with 7:40 left in the half to convert on third-and-5. The TD came a play after Mayfield got drilled by Watt but managed to float an 8-yard completion to Landry forcing him to call a timeout to gather himself.

Chris Boswell cut Cleveland’s lead to 10-3 with a 39-yard field goal after cornerback T.J. Carrie forced Hodges to throw the ball away on a third-and-9. Hodges found receiver James Washington for a big gain on a free play because of an offsides penalty for the first big gain of the day for Pittsburgh.

The Steelers continued to shift momentum late in the half by forcing a quick three-and-out to get the ball back with two minutes remaining. After completing a 28-yard pass to receiver Tevin Jones, Hodges found Washington for a 30-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10 with a minute before intermission. Carrie was called for pass interference and safety Sheldrick Redwine, starting in place of Damarious Randall, tried to wrestle the ball away from Washington, but to no avail.

Washington caught four passes for 111 yards.  

Mayfield headed to the sideline and then locker room with 16 seconds left in the half after hitting his right hand on the helmet of Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree. Mayfield returned for the second half with a glove on his right hand.

The Steelers took their first lead on Snell’s one-yard touchdown run aided by a pass interference call on cornerback Denzel Ward that put the ball at the one.

Pittsburgh’s aggressive defense struck late in the third quarter. Dupree strip-sacked Mayfield and Cam Heyward recovered the loose ball at the Cleveland 46 with 4:49 left in the quarter. It was turned into Boswell’s second make of the afternoon – from 29 yards and a 20-10 advantage.

Seibert’s 34-yard field goal ended the Steelers onslaught. The kick came after tight end Demetrius Harris couldn’t hang on to a touchdown as he hit the ground and Mayfield was sacked on third down by Dupree and Heyward. Harris injured his shoulder on the play.

Hodges got greedy on the ensuing possession and threw an easy interception to Browns corner Terrance Mitchell, who returned it 28 yards to the Steelers 30.

The Browns got nothing for it. Javon Hargrave recorded Pittsburgh’s fifth sack of Mayfield on third-and-10 to push the Browns out of field goal range. Seibert lined up for a 56-yard try but punted the ball to the one.  

The Steelers reeled off three first downs and forced Kitchens to burn his timeouts before having to punt.

On their last gasp, Mayfield was the beneficiary of a roughing the passer penalty before Haden ended the game.