Steelers Fall to Browns 21-7
[Cleveland, OH) Mayfield threw two touchdown passes and scored on a 1-yard plunge as Cleveland held on to defeat the banged-up Steelers for just the fourth time in 10 years and improved to 2-0 in the AFC North for the first time.
The Browns (4-6) have won two in a row after dropping four straight, a skid that put coach Freddie Kitchens’ job in jeopardy.
But Mayfield’s 8-yard TD pass to undrafted rookie tight end Stephen Carlson with 5:25 left helped clinch a rare win over the rival Steelers. And a softer upcoming schedule has eased the pressure on Kitchens and given the Browns some hope they can end the NFL’s longest playoff drought.
The loss was especially damaging to the Steelers (5-5).
Pittsburgh lost its top two playmakers as running back James Conner (shoulder) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) suffered injuries in the second quarter and didn’t return. Without them, Rudolph didn’t have enough help and threw four interceptions.
In the third quarter, Steelers rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson got concussed from a vicious hit by Browns safety Damarious Randall, who was ejected. Browns running back Nick Chubb had 92 yards and went over 1,000 this season.
Despite the injuries, the Steelers were within 14-7 entering the fourth quarter after Rudolph connected with Jaylen Samuels for a 3-yard touchdown pass.
The Browns have been wrapped up in drama all season, and that was the case again Thursday as the team released wide receiver Antonio Callaway just hours before kickoff.
Callaway, who served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy earlier this season, was benched by Kitchens for arriving late to Sunday’s game against Buffalo.
The Browns are one of 11 teams committed to attending former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Atlanta this weekend.
Owner Dee Haslam said didn’t know who from the team would be at the workout to evaluate Kaepernick, who hasn’t played since 2016 and became a polarizing figure when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustice.
“We are in support of anybody getting an opportunity to play football,” Haslam said. “We love that.”
Steelers: Along with the others, Pittsburgh lost LB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (concussion) and CB Artie Burns (knee).
Browns: Safety Morgan Burnett sustained an Achilles injury in the first half and didn’t return. WATT’S UP
Steelers LB T.J. Watt took down Mayfield in the third quarter, giving him eight sacks in five career contests against the Browns. Watt has at least one-half sack in seven straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Steelers: Visit winless Cincinnati on Nov. 24.
Browns: Host Miami on Nov. 24.