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Steelers vs. Browns Final Score: Steelers overcome penalties and miscues to beat Browns 21-18

The Pittsburgh Steelers started the season with a win over the Cleveland Browns, but it wasn’t pretty.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The weather in Cleveland is typically lousy for football. Cold, wind and precipitation usually dominate the forecast, but for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns Week 1 contest, the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

This Week 1 contest had several story lines coming into the game. How would rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer hold up in his first NFL regular season start? Le’Veon Bell’s return to the team after sitting out the entire preseason. The high-flying Pittsburgh offense as good as the hype? And of course the Steelers defense being able to improve to the point of near domination.

With the preseason in the rear view mirror, the players took the field to let their football do the talking. After the Steelers deferred their possession to the second half, it meant the Browns started the game with the opening possession; however, that possession would be short lived.

After a quick three-and-out, Tyler Matakevich knifed through the line of scrimmage to block the punt, which was recovered by Anthony Chickillo for the Pittsburgh touchdown. Just like that, the Steelers were up 7-0 and the Pittsburgh offense hadn’t even seen the field yet.

The Pittsburgh offense did very little on the penalty-plagued opening drive, and gave the ball right back to Cleveland. On their second possession DeShone Kizer was able to take time off the clock as he drove the Browns down the field and capped it off with a rushing touchdown to tie the game.

Throughout the early portions of the second quarter, the Browns were the team who truly dictated the play; however, neither team could string together any semblance of a scoring drive.

That was, until Antonio Brown decided to get going. As Pittsburgh started inside their own 10-yard line, it was Brown who not only got the offense out of their own red-zone, but also into Cleveland territory after a tremendous catch which was tipped by a Cleveland defender.

What followed was the first Pittsburgh Steelers offensive touchdown of the 2017 regular season. After Brown got the offense inside the 10-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger hit Jesse James with a bullet pass to give the Steelers a 14-7 lead heading into halftime.

Pittsburgh received the football to start the second half, but it was more of the same sloppy football on their opening possession. After a three-and-out, Jordan Berry punted the ball to Cleveland, and Kizer quickly moved the offense into field goal position. The Steelers defense held the Browns to a field goal, making the score 14-10 with 9:27 left in the third quarter.

Not to be shut out the entire quarter, Roethlisberger orchestrated a drive of his own, aided by a 40-yard defensive pass interference call, which ended in another touchdown pass to Jesse James. After the Chris Boswell point-after, the Steelers extended their lead 21-10.

Cleveland had a chance to answer, and despite two personal foul calls on Pittsburgh during the drive, DeShone Kizer made his first big mistake of the game as fellow rookie T.J. Watt dropped into coverage for the interception.

The Steelers offense moved the ball into Cleveland territory, but a tipped pass led to a Ben Roethlisberger interception, giving the Browns new life. But, although not on the ensuing drive, the Browns would strike again to narrow the lead 21-16. Hue Jackson’s crew went for the two-point conversion, and Isaiah Crowell walked into the end zone to make it 21-18 with under 3 minutes to go.

On a key drive, in a key moment of the game, the Steelers turned to the one offensive player who stood out Sunday — Antonio Brown.

That play, combined with a failed challenge left the Browns with no timeouts, and the Steelers a win.

The Steelers return to Heinz Field in Week 2 to play the Minnesota Vikings. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news on the black and gold.