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The Steelers had to overcome the Browns to get their first win of the season after T.J. Watt scored a touchdown off a late fourth quarter fumble from Deshaun Watson in a dramatic game that was overshadowed by Nick Chubb’s serious knee injury.
T.J. — J.J. Watt’s little brother and the Steelers’ star linebacker — scooped up the loose ball and ran 17 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 6:58 left to go to extend the Steelers’ home winning streak on Monday night to 21 straight dating to 1991.
What’s more, is that Cleveland allowed a rival 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 took a handoff from Watson early in the second quarter and reached the Pittsburgh 3 when Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick dove at Chubb’s legs. The four-time Pro Bowler’s left leg bent awkwardly underneath him as he rolled over Fitzpatrick, with his knee being pushed one way while the rest of his body went another.
Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt celebrates after scoring the game’s decisive TD in the last quarter
The injury was so disturbing to watch that a replay was shown just once inside the stadium, and ESPN declined to show replays on its telecast. Players on both teams knelt in prayer while Chubb was tended to by medical personnel.
Chubb, respected by his teammates because, as former quarterback Jacoby Brissett put it, ‘he’s an All-Pro and acts like he’s on the practice squad,’ was taken off on a cart.
Jerome Ford, Chubb’s replacement, ran for 106 yards and caught a 3-yard touchdown pass for the Browns, but Cleveland’s miscues cost it a chance to win at Pittsburgh in the regular season for the first time since 2003. The Browns beat the host Steelers in the playoffs after the 2020 season.
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 penalties cut a pair of promising drives short.
The Browns were penalized 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 1-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, leading to chants from the crowd to fire coordinator Matt Canada.
Highsmith’s bull rush off the edge and Watt’s scoop-and-score bailed the Steelers out.
Up next: the Browns host Tennessee (1-1) next Sunday, while the Steelers travel to Las Vegas (1-1) next Sunday, when they will try to beat the Raiders on the road for the first time since 1995.