Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb was carted off in the second quarter with what is expected to be a season-ending knee injury after falling awkwardly under a tackle from Minkah Fitzpatrick; TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith both score defensive touchdowns to lift Steelers to 26-22 win.
T.J. Watt returned a fumble by Deshaun Watson for a 17-yard go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter as the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns 26-22 in a game overshadowed by a serious knee injury to star Browns running back Nick Chubb on Monday night.
The Steelers (1-1) beat the Browns (1-1) for the 20th straight time at home in the regular season when outside linebacker Alex Highsmith – who returned an interception for a touchdown on the game’s first snap – beat Cleveland left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. off the edge and chopped the ball out of Watson’s hands.
Watt picked it up and raced home as Pittsburgh extended their home winning streak on Monday night to 21 straight dating to 1991. Cleveland allowed an opponent to score two defensive touchdowns for the first time since Pittsburgh did it on October 16, 1983.
The Browns played most of the final three quarters without Chubb, who was carted off the field with what appeared to be his second major left knee injury. He suffered a dislocation and three torn ligaments while in college at Georgia. Chubb is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Chubb took a handoff from Watson early in the second quarter and reached the Pittsburgh three-yard line when Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick dove at Chubb’s legs, the four-time Pro Bowler’s left leg bending awkwardly underneath him as he rolled over Fitzpatrick.
Jerome Ford, Chubb’s replacement, ran for 106 yards and caught a three-yard touchdown pass for the Browns, but Cleveland’s miscues cost them a chance to win at Pittsburgh in the regular season for the first time since 2003. The Browns notably beat the host Steelers in the playoffs after the 2020 season.
- Passing: Deshaun Watson, 22/40, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Rushing: Jerome Ford, 16 carries, 106 yards
- Receiving: Amari Cooper, 7 catches, 90 yards
- Passing: Kenny Pickett, 15/30, 222 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Rushing: Najee Harris, 10 carries, 43 yards
- Receiving: George Pickens, 4 catches, 127 yards, 1 TD
Watson completed 22 of 40 for 235 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was also flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct for grabbing the facemask of a Steeler while running.
The Browns were penalised eight times for 81 yards and turned it over four times, two of which ended with one member of the best edge-rusher tandems in the NFL celebrating in the end zone.
The Steelers avoided their first 0-2 start since 2019 even though their offense continued to sputter.
Kenny Pickett connected on 15 of 30 passes for 222 yards, a third of them coming on a 71-yard catch-and-run touchdown by George Pickens in the second quarter that briefly brought the Acrisure Stadium crowd to life.
Cleveland still appeared to be in good position when Ford raced 69 yards to set up a one-yard dive by Pierre Strong that put the Browns ahead 22-19 midway through the third quarter.
Pittsburgh’s offense did next to nothing for most of the second half, with Highsmith’s bull rush off the edge and Watt’s scoop-and-score bailing the Steelers out.
|Browns 0-7 Steelers||Alex Highsmith 30-yard interception return (extra point)|
|Browns 3-7 Steelers||Dustin Hopkins 43-yard field goal|
|Browns 11-7 Steelers||Deshaun Watson three-yard TD pass to Jerome Ford (Ford run for two-point conversion)|
|Browns 11-10 Steelers||Chris Boswell 52-yard field goal|
|Browns 11-16 Steelers||Kenny Pickett 71-yard TD pass to George Pickens (failed two-point conversion)|
|Browns 14-16 Steelers||Dustin Hopkins 55-yard field goal|
|Browns 14-19 Steelers||Chris Boswell 50-yard field goal|
|Browns 22-19 Steelers||Pierre Strong one-yard rushing TD (Watson run for two-point conversion)|
|Browns 22-26 Steelers||TJ Watt 16-yard fumble return (extra point)|
What did they say?
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on Chubb’s injury: “Obviously, Nick’s got a very significant knee injury, which is, you feel for the person. He’s a great football player as we know, but he’s an even better person. So we will support him every step along the way.”
Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett on Chubb: “He’s a man of few words who just keeps his head down and he’s always working. And that’s the integrity he has for the game. That’s what we hope to have now, especially for him.”
The Browns host the Tennessee Titans (1-1) on Sunday after Mike Vrabel’s side beat the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime, while the Steelers face the Las Vegas Raiders (1-1) on the road.
Week Three begins on Thursday night when the New York Giants take on the San Francisco 49ers live on EuroJournal NFL from 1.15am in the early hours of Friday.