Steel­ers hold off Browns for sea­son-open­ing vic­tory

Cecil Whig - - NFL -

CLEVELAND (TNS) — The Steel­ers de­feated the Browns, 2118, in their sea­son opener Sun­day in Cleveland.

Jesse James caught two touch­down passes from Ben Roeth­lis­berger, and rookie T.J. Watt had two sacks and an in­ter­cep­tion to lead the way for the de­fense.

The Browns scored for the sec­ond time in the con­test on their first pos­ses­sion of the third quar­ter. Rookie Zane Gon­za­lez kicked a 24yard field goal and the Steel­ers lead slipped to 14-10. It might have been tied ex­cept on sec­ond down from the nine, rookie Watt sacked quar­ter­back DeShone Kizer, his first in the NFL, for an eight-yard loss.

But the Steel­ers re­sponded with a touch­down drive of 75 yards, more than half of that con­sumed on one penalty, a 41-yard pass in­ter­fer­ence by cor­ner­back Ja­mar Tay­lor on a deep pass to An­to­nio Brown. Roeth­lis­berger, on third down, threw his sec­ond touch­down pass to James for two yards and the Steel­ers led 21-10.

The Browns threatened again on their next se­ries, es­pe­cially af­ter Watt hit Kizer later af­ter An­thony Chickillo sacked him for the sec­ond time Sun­day. They had a first down at the Steel­ers’ 29 when, on the next play, Watt made amends with a leap­ing in­ter­cep­tion. He re­turned it 17 yards to the 34.

The Browns even­tu­ally got within three points, how­ever, when Corey Cole­man caught a 3-yard touch­down from Kizer and Isa­iah Crow­ell added a two-point con­ver­sion with 3:36 re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion.

The Steel­ers were able to run out the clock on the en­su­ing drive, how­ever, pick­ing up a cou­ple of first downs, in­clud­ing a one on a cir­cus catch by Brown out near mid­field.

A slug­gish Steel­ers of- fense came to life late in the first half for its only score to give them a 14-7 lead at half­time.

Roeth­lis­berger threw a 9-yard touch­down pass to tight end Jesse James on third down with 45 sec­onds left. It ended a 7-play, 91yard drive in which An­to­nio Brown caught three passes for 80 yards.

The Steel­ers’ best play on of­fense in the first half was nearly in­ter­cepted. From his 11, Roeth­lis­berger threw to­ward Brown over the mid­dle. Line­backer Joe Schobert got a hand on the ball, but it tipped right to Brown at the 28. He weaved through traf­fic for a 50-yard gain and a first down at Cleveland’s 39.

Their other touch­down came on a blocked punt.

It was 7-7 af­ter the first quar­ter.

The Browns started the game look­ing very much like the Browns we’ve all come to love. They went back­wards on their first se­ries as Stephon Tuitt chased the rookie quar­ter­back, Kizer, out of the pocket on first down for a one-yard gain then tack­led Isa­iah Crow­ell on a sweep for a 9-yard loss.

That ul­ti­mately brought the Browns to punt from the 16. Tyler Matake­vich broke through the pro­tec­tion, blocked Britton Colquitt’s punt into the end zone, where An­thony Chickillo re­cov­ered for a touch­down and a 7-0 Steel­ers lead.

It was their first blocked punt for a touch­down in 19 years.

When the Steel­ers of­fense fi­nally took the field af­ter two se­ries by Cleveland, the looked more like the Browns of­fense in their first try. Roeth­lis­berger threw all passes, five short ones around two hold­ing penal­ties by his re­ceivers and they punted on fourt­hand-16.

That Cleveland of­fense that looked poorly on the first two se­ries, drove 68 yards for a touch­down on its third. They needed 12 plays and con­verted three third downs, the fi­nal one a 21yard pass in­ter­fer­ence penalty on safety Sean Davis that put the ball at the three.

Kizer ran a sneak up the mid­dle for the one-yard touch­down to tie it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.