Skip to main content

Biggest Plays

Presented by

6 plays that changed the game in the Browns' loss to the Steelers

The Browns' four-game win streak has come to an end.

Cleveland was forced to play from behind early Sunday and couldn't discover the same production from its past month as it fell 38-7 to the Steelers at Heinz Field. The Browns struggled to cover the Steelers' top offensive weapons while the offense was slowed down by the Steelers' top-ranked defense.

Here were the biggest plays from the Browns' loss to their AFC North rival:

1. Minkah Fitzpatrick spoils first drive with pick-6

Baker Mayfield's first throw did not go as planned.

On a third-and-4 from the Browns' 28-yard line, Mayfield stepped back and was looking to hit Harrison Bryant for a first down. Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, however, read the play and stepped in front of Bryant as Mayfield made his pass.

Fitzpatrick made the catch, and then completed a 33-yard sprint to the end zone. That put the Steelers up 10-0 — they made a field goal on their opening drive — and gave the Browns an early hole to climb from.

2. Claypool's 36-yard reception sets up 2nd Steelers TD

The Steelers offense had yet to target rookie WR Chase Claypool, who caught four touchdowns in Week 5, on their first three possessions of the afternoon.

But on their fourth drive, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger unloaded a deep pass to Claypool, who made the 36-yard catch and was pushed out of bounds at the 3-yard line. The Browns defense was struggling to contain Roethlisberger, and his five passes on five attempts during the drive moved Pittsburgh deep into Cleveland territory.

RB James Connor pushed the ball into the end zone on the next play. Cleveland's defense had limited the Steelers offense before the drive, but Claypool's big play gave the Steelers an opportunity to push their lead to 17-0.

3. Roethlisberger hits Washington to stretch Steelers lead

The Steelers received great field position after CB Cameron Sutton intercepted Mayfield and gave the ball back to his offense at the 50-yard line.

The Browns, however, were looking to nullify the error with a defensive stop. They looked stout in the first quarter and forced two punts, but they struggled to contain the Steelers in the second quarter.

Cleveland gave up its second touchdown on the fourth play of the drive following the turnover, and it happened after Steelers WR James Washington broke through the secondary and caught a 28-yard pass from Roethlisberger just before jogging into the end zone. The Steelers were up 24-0, and the Browns needed to respond fast.

4. Mayfield hits Higgins for Browns' first score

The Browns kept things simple on their next drive after the Steelers' third touchdown.

After a couple of short runs from RB Kareem Hunt, Mayfield hit Austin Hooper, who appeared to have the whole left half of the field to himself when he caught the ball, for a 36-yard pickup to ignite the Browns offense. Cleveland continued to use short gains to move to the Steelers' 13-yard line, and on second-and-10, the Browns took their shot.

All Browns receivers sprinted to the end zone, and no defenders were there to cover WR Rashard Higgins. Mayfield threw an easy strike to Higgins, who calmly caught the ball as if it were a simple practice rep.

The Browns were on the board, but they still had plenty of work left as they headed into halftime down 24-7.

5. Hunt is stopped on fourth-and-1

The Browns got one of their biggest breaks of the afternoon following a challenge from coach Kevin Stefanski.

Stefanski threw the red flag after referees ruled that WR Jarvis Landry did not complete a catch near the first-down marker on the sidelines. Landry appeared to lose the ball as he lunged his arm past the stick, but a replay review forced the refs to overturn the call. He caught it.

Cleveland still had one problem: Landry's knee was down before he stretched the ball over the line.

That brought up a fourth-and-1, and a conversion would've been the Browns' first of the half. Hunt was given the handoff, but he was tackled short of the first-down marker.

The play was also the last of the afternoon for Mayfield. He battled through a chest injury suffered last week against the Colts, and he was relieved by Case Keenum for the remainder of the game.

6. Claypool rushes for touchdown

After Hunt was stopped short of a first down, the Steelers were given great field position to put the game away.

The Steelers started the drive on the Browns' 28-yard line and used eight plays — which included a Ben Roethlisberger QB sneak on fourth-and-1 from the 5-yard line — to find the end zone for the fourth time. Claypool was the scorer after he took a handoff and squeezed the ball inside the pylon, and that pushed Pittsburgh's lead to 31-7.

Related Content