In a Bizarre Season Opener, Pittsburgh and Cleveland Ends in a Tie

Finally ladies and gents, we have Steelers football!

Pittsburgh couldn’t get anything going on their first drive and were forced to punt on their first offensive possession of the 2018 season.

Tyrod Taylor scrambles on 3rd and 13 for the 1st down, but the Browns would also be forced to punt as Mike Hilton made a nice play to break up a pass intended for Jarvis Landry.

Ben Roethlisberger looked to make things happen on offense, connecting with JuJu Smith-Schuster on a 27-yard pass, but then immediately giving the ball back to the Browns, as rookie cornerback Denzel Ward came away with the interception.

After some early work by James Conner, Roethlisberger finds Jesse James for a 37-yard connection to end the 1st quarter. We are scoreless after 1 quarter.

Myles Garrett applies the pressure on Big Ben on the next play, and takes him down for the sack. Roethlisberger showed off his the benefits of his new slimmed down physique, scrambling for a 1st down.

After a Myles Garrett penalty, James Conner got his first NFL touchdown and this one was sure to put a smile on every Steelers fans’ face.

On Pittsburgh’s next offensive drive, massive lack of communication between Big Ben and Antonio Brown, as Damarious Randall gets the easy inception and puts the ball back into Cleveland’s possession.

Jon Bostic gets a big-time sack on Tyrod Taylor to eventually force another Cleveland punt, this was Bostic’s first sack as a Steeler.

Heading into halftime, Big Ben and James Conner chipped away at Cleveland’s defense effectively. Unfortunately, Roethlisberger would get his 3rd interception of the game as he tosses a pass intended for Jesse James, but as the ball was tipped off James’ hands, Denzel Ward got his second pick of the day.

We have a score of 7 to 0 at the half, here’s to hoping Pittsburgh’s offense can gain some traction in the second half.

Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb got things rolling on the ground for the Brown’s offense to get them off to a hot start. Tyrod Taylor capped off the drive with a big run of 20 yards for a touchdown, the score is now tied at 7.

Roethlisberger comes out with a 67-yard pass to Smith-Schuster, immediately setting Pittsburgh up nicely in the red-zone. After a couple of penalties on Pittsburgh, Big Ben threw a great pass to Antonio Brown for a 22-yard touchdown to answer back at Cleveland. Chris Boswell makes the extra point to give Pittsburgh a 14 to 7 lead over the Browns.

On Cleveland’s next offensive drive, it was all TJ Watt. Watt had great back to back plays, stopping Hyde for a loss and then getting Tyrod Taylor for a huge sack on 3rd down. This was Watt’s 3rd sack of the day.

James Conner looked to build on his impressive performance, running the ball down Cleveland’s throat, then capping the drive off with a great 22-yard run. Conner is making the most out of his opportunity today.

Steelers offense looks entirely different after the second half, as they lead 21 to 7 after 3 quarters.

The Browns came up with a huge fumble recovery in the 4th quarter, when Myles Garrett knocked the ball out of James Conner’s possession and Jabrill Peppers comes up with a nice return to put the Browns in excellent field position. Carlos Hyde slammed the ball in for Cleveland to put them within one score again. Cleveland still trails, now 21 to 14.

Pittsburgh looked to answer back at the Browns as Roethlisberger connected with Juju Smith-Schuster on a 17-yard pass, but on the next play Myles Garrett made his overwhelming presence known once more, knocking the ball out of Big Ben’s hands, Joe Schobert would recover. This would result in another untimely turnover for Pittsburgh.

Cleveland has the ball back approaching the 2-minute warning, it didn’t take long for the Browns to put points on the board, it took Tyrod Taylor two plays to connect with Josh Gordon and tie the game at 21. Luckily, they scored too quickly and gave Pittsburgh a little less than two minutes to answer back.

Pittsburgh couldn’t get anything done with their offensive opportunity, and were forced to punt. This would then give Cleveland over a minute and a half to put points on the board.

The Browns looked to be rolling on this drive, and what looked to end with a game-winning field goal, actually ended with Cameron Sutton intercepting Tyrod Taylor and forcing the game into overtime.

Sean Davis came up with a great play to end Cleveland’s opening drive, batting a ball down intended for David Njoku on a would-be first down.

Pittsburgh moved the ball early on with James Conner, getting a 19-yard gain downfield. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh couldn’t take advantage of their opportunity, and were forced to punt.

After some more solid defense by Pittsburgh, Cleveland gave the ball back to the Steelers. After a terrible punt by the Browns, Big Ben found AB on a nice short pass for the first down, and then once more to Jesse James to get the Steelers closer to the end-zone. It was a rarity for Chris Boswell, as he missed from 42 yards out, to give Cleveland another chance in this game.

More solid defense lead to another Cleveland 3 and out. Joe Schobert intercepted Ben Roethlisberger to give Cleveland yet another shot at winning this game. As Zane Gonzalez lined up for a 43-yard field goal, Pittsburgh blocked the field goal and the game ends in a tie. Yes, a tie. After Pittsburgh blew their lead in the 4th quarter, nothing seemed to go their way. Boswell never misses a field goal of that length, and overall it just appeared to be an uncharacteristic day for the Steelers. With all of the opportunities given to Cleveland, it’s a fair assessment that clearly neither team deserved this win.

Pittsburgh starts off the 2018 season, 0-0-1. We can all come away after this one, scratching our heads and hoping next week against Kansas City is a much better performance.

Pittsburgh has had an amazing day not only on defense, but they looked great on special teams as well. Unfortunately, the offense looked rusty for most of the game and the weather didn’t do anyone any favors today.

Stat Leaders for the Day

Ben Roethlisberger 23/42 335 yards 1 touchdown 4 interceptions

James Conner 31 attempts 135 2 touchdowns

JuJu Smith-Schuster 5 receptions 119 yards

TJ Watt 11 solo tackles 4 sacks

Vince Williams 12 solo tackles

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