The Cleveland Browns earned a 20-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but after the game, middle linebacker and defensive captain D’Qwell Jackson talked about the importance of building on the win.
With the win over the Steelers, Browns (3-8) earned their second victory over an AFC North Division opponent this season. They will look to do build on that second divisional win as they prepare for next week’s game at the Oakland Raiders, who lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, 34-10, Sunday.
“We went into last week saying, ‘Words won’t be able to describe what this rivalry is all about. You actually have to play it and go through it and see how physical it is,’” Jackson said. “It’s physical across the board. When you walk away from this game, your body feels it, without a doubt. Hopefully, we take this intensity over to Oakland next week and get another win.”
Leading up to Sunday’s game, Jackson and the Browns talked of the importance of matching the intensity and physicality of the Steelers. Now, he wants to see that same effort throughout the remaining five games of the regular season.
“One game won’t tell it all for me,” Jackson said. “I thought, today, it was a focal point. If we can take that focus going into this week into the rest of the season, I think we can win the rest of our games, but it’s not going to be easy. You’ve got to come to work every day and you’ve got to grind every day because things, like the way this game started off, are going to happen.
“Adversity happens throughout the course of a game. You have to keep plugging away, and eventually, things will start to turn in your favor. It was finally a good feeling to get over that hump, but we’ve still got another game next week. We’ve still got a few more games here. I don’t have a doubt that we can’t win out.”
Browns safety T.J. Ward registered four total tackles, including three solo stops, and two forced fumbles against the Steelers. Ward’s final forced fumble came on the Steelers’ last play of the game when he separated the ball from wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Linebacker
“We’ll never give in; that’s the type of team we have,” Ward said. “We never give in. No matter what the outcome of the game is, you know we’re battling till the end, till the clock says, ‘zero,’ and that’s what we’re going to do all year, regardless of our record, regardless of the score. We started kind of slow with the interception, but we didn’t let that dictate the rest of the game. It was a complete team win.”
RESPONDING TO ADVERSITY
The Browns had the football for just three plays on their first possession of the game, which ended when quarterback
Only 1:11 into the game, the Browns trailed, 7-0. However, they held the Steelers to seven points over the remaining 58:49.
“We’ve always talked about how you want to have a good start,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “You’d like to get ahead of a team and then, stay ahead throughout. We have a good locker room of guys that just keep playing regardless of the situation and we were moving the football there. As we all know, tipped balls happen and that was an extremely bad play. I thought our guys went back on the field on offense, defense and special teams and just kept playing.”
DEFENDING THE RUN
The Browns allowed the Steelers to gain 242 yards of total offense, 49 of which were on the ground. Pittsburgh came into the game averaging 106.8 rushing yards per game, while the Browns allowed an average of 125.3 through their first 10 games of the season.
“I think we knew they were going to come in and run the football,” Shurmur said. “When you’re down to your third quarterback, whoever that may be, you are going to try to lean on the run and that’s something that Pittsburgh’s extremely good at. I thought our guys battled and did a good job of controlling so that the run game didn’t have a huge effect on the game.”
RUSHING FOR A SCORE
Down, 14-13, heading into their second possession of the third quarter, the Browns turned a forced turnover into a touchdown. One play after a false start penalty on tight end
Richardson followed behind the blocks of left tackle
“It was a counter play for us and