1. Penalties were a problem for the Browns on Sunday, and none was more costly than a controversial one committed by Myles Garrett early in the second quarter.
With the Steelers facing a third-and-7 from the Browns' 8-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger rolled to his left with limited options at his disposal. Finally, he targeted Justin Hunter in the end zone, and the pass fell well incomplete. The drive got an injection of new life, though, as Garrett, who knocked down Roethlisberger shortly after he got rid of the ball, was flagged for roughing the passer.
Running back James Conner scored on the very next play, gliding into the end zone untouched for a 4-yard touchdown that gave Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead.
2. Cleveland's offense couldn't get anything going through the air, so it stuck to the ground in a big way to tie up the score early in the third quarter.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Steelers cornerback Artie Burns seemed to inject some life into the Browns, who went 9, 12, 6, 5 and 17 yards on the ground on consecutive plays before they were stopped for no gain. On the very next play, Tyrod Taylor rolled to his left and kept on running, picking up 20 yards on his way to his first touchdown with the Browns.
Cleveland finished the game with 177 rushing yards on 38 carries.
3. The Steelers needed just one play to steal back all of the momentum the Browns accumulated on their scoring drive.
Roethlisberger dropped back and threw a quick slant to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who had nothing but green grass in front of him. Sixty-seven yards later, Smith-Schuster was brought to the ground by Browns safety Damarious Randall.
The Steelers had two touchdowns nullified by penalties before Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Rookie Denzel Ward, who had two first-half interceptions, played Brown tight in coverage, but Roethlisberger put it where only Brown could snag it.
The Cleveland Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium in Week 1.
4. Garrett took over the fourth quarter to help send the Browns to an improbable overtime period.
The second-year pass rusher gave the Browns an injection of life when he forced a Conner fumble deep inside Steelers territory midway through the fourth quarter. Jabrill Peppers picked it up and ran it to the 1-yard line, setting up a 1-yard Carlos Hyde touchdown run.
The Browns couldn't take advantage of a strip sack by Garrett on the ensuing possession but they got another chance after yet another defensive stand. The offense, mired in the muck all game, came to life with a rapid-fire, two-play drive that tied up the score. Taylor found Rashard Higgins for a 38-yard gain and followed with a pinpoint pass to Josh Gordon, who caught the 17-yard touchdown pass off a defender's helmet.
5. A back-and-forth overtime ended with neither team feeling good about the final result.
The Steelers had the first chance to end it, but veteran kicker Chris Boswell sailed his attempt wide left with less than 2 minutes to play.
Pittsburgh appeared to have one last shot when it took possession with 1:16 remaining in the overtime period, but the momentum quickly shifted in Cleveland's direction on a strip-sack by Genard Avery. The rookie linebacker caused the ball to pop into the arms of Joe Schobert, who ran it back to Pittsburgh's 14-yard line. A penalty on the return moved the ball back to the 24, setting up the Browns with one last field goal attempt to escape with a win.
Steelers defensive end T.J. Watt, who recorded four sacks during the game, burst through the line and deflected Zane Gonzalez's 43-yard attempt to seal the tie.