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Steelers vs. Browns, Wild Card Playoff: Knee Jerk Reactions to the Steelers’ 48-37 loss to the Browns

Everything went wrong early and it was just too much for the Steelers to overcome.

Wild Card Round - Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Wild Card Weekend! The Steelers are back in the post season! Now all the Steelers have to do is avoid a loss to the Browns in back-to-back weeks. It feels like the Steelers will have about half the team they didn’t have last week in a close 22-24 loss (I know it wasn’t half, but it was a lot). Between resting players, players coming off the COVID list and a couple off of IR, the Browns have a lot more to contend with this week. The Browns on the other hand will be missing a couple key players and several coaches, including their head coach, due to COVID. I want to see the 2nd half versus the Colts type of Steeler team show up from the start and get this game out of hand early. Only one way to find out, so let’s get to the game.

A simple reminder, a knee jerk reaction is an immediate and unthinking, emotional reaction. It’s basically shooting first and apologizing later (forget that, I apologize for none of my emotion I may not actually be from Pittsburgh, but grew up close enough to be a Yinzer). I can safely say that’s a true definition of yours truly and a good lot of Steelers’ Nation. Here’s my real-time (and possibly a little bit of my son Kyle’s) reactions during the Steelers’ effort to secure their seventh Lombardi trophy.


Quarter 1

  • I hope I can survive having to listen to Chris Collinsworth for this entire game.
  • Cleveland won the toss and deferred to the second half. Steelers to receive the football.
  • You want to talk about a wild start. Pouncey snaps at 6 ft over Ben's head and the Browns recover for a touchdown. If the night's going to go like this, this article is ending early because I'm going to bed. Steelers 0, Browns 7, less than 15 seconds into the game.
  • Wow, James Conner with a run for nine yards.
  • On third down, the Steelers actually handed the ball to Derek Watt and he picks up the first down.
  • Ben now throws an interception. Kyle just said he was going to bed. He has seen enough already. Okay, he changed his mind. He instead just switched to his lucky socks.
  • Jarvis Landry scores a long touchdown on third and four. Can we go ahead and stick a fork in the Steelers? Steelers 0, Cleveland 14.
  • Two Steelers turnovers quickly turned into 14 Cleveland points. I'm at a loss for words right now.
  • So on 3rd and less than a yard Randyland got extra creative and ran exactly the same play we ran on the last third and one and it got stuffed.
  • Cleveland gets the ball back and the first thing the defense does is give up a 17-yard run to Nick Chubb.
  • Very next play Chubb runs for 20 yards.
  • Kareem Hunt scores a touchdown for the Browns. If I didn't have to write this article I would be going to bed. This is pathetic. Steelers 0, Browns 21. Kyle actually gave up and went to bed now.
  • How about a couple of high passes from Ben, the second of which is tipped and picked off. This is an embarrassment to the city of Pittsburgh.
  • The Steelers have had the ball four times. There was one three and out, and three turnovers.
  • Kareem Hunt runs it in again. You're probably not going to see me writing near as much until I see something that the Steelers do worth writing about. Steelers 0, Cleveland 28 and we're not even out of the first quarter yet.
  • End of the first quarter, Cleveland 28, the sucky Steelers 0.

Quarter 2

  • Steelers are able to pick up a couple first downs, but then between a drop and Ben looking awful they end up punting it back to the Browns.
  • I thought I saw the worst start to a playoff game when I saw the Steelers live in January of 2018. This is potentially worse than that one. Back-to-back playoff games with absolutely horrid starts.
  • Ben has the ball batted straight up in the air at the line of scrimmage and picked off by the Browns. How about four turnovers less than 20 minutes into the game. Bring on Mason. He couldn't do any worse.
  • Chub just runs for another 12 yards. The offense can't do anything and the defense can't stop anything.
  • The Steelers are constantly using three plays just to gain 10 yards. They can't get back in a game that way.
  • Instead of calling a timeout with 2 minutes and 10 seconds left in the second quarter, Ben hurries a play on 3rd and 1 that ends up incomplete Steelers now faced with a 4th and 1. They still have all three timeouts. I don't get it.
  • Second effort from Conner gets the Steelers the first down. Next play he goes untouched into the end zone. Steelers 7, Browns 28.
  • Cleveland goes right back down the field on the defense and scores on a touchdown pass to Austin Hooper. Ugly game continues to get it even uglier. Steeler 7, Browns 35.
  • Last week when the Browns were fighting for their playoff lives they could only score 24 against our second stringers. This week is 35 in the first half against our first team. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.
  • Boswell hits a 49-yard field goal on the last play of the first half. It was an ugly one. Steelers 10, Browns 35..

Quarter 3

  • Cleveland gets the ball to start the second half. They've made a couple of first downs and have already drained almost 4 minutes off the third quarter clock.
  • Steelers get the ball back and march it right down the field, scoring a touchdown on a pass from Ben to Ebron. Steelers choose to go for two and do not complete. Steelers 16, Browns 35.
  • The defense actually holds to a quick three and out. The offense will get to go back on the field.
  • The Steelers have hit a couple plays on this drive, but they've missed a couple as well that they could have had. They're now faced with a third and 10 on the Cleveland 20. Ben completes it to JuJu, down to the 5 yard line.
  • Steelers miss badly on their first three passes and are now faced with a fourth and goal on the five. Failure to complete here pretty much could wrap this game up. Luckily Ben was able to get one to JuJu. Steelers are inching their way back in slowly. Steelers 23, Browns 35.
  • The Steelers hold the Browns to another three and out. The offense is going to get it back again.
  • End of the third quarter. Steelers 23, Browns 35.

Quarter 4

  • Steelers come up short on 3rd down and are faced with 4th and 1. The Steelers chose not to go for it and are putting it away. I'm not sure if that was the right call there, if you go and complete it you really keep the momentum.
  • Defense gets them to a third and two, but the Browns complete a pass to Landry who gains a bunch of extra yards down the sideline. Choosing not to go for it on 4th and 1 might have been a huge mistake.
  • The defense gets burned on a screenplay to Nick Chubb and he takes it to the house. Not going for it on 4th and 1 is now shown to be a huge call blown by Mike Tomlin. Steelers 23, Browns 42. I think this one's now over. Back-to-back playoff games giving up 40 plus points.
  • Ben hits Claypool for a touchdown. Just think what this game would be if the defense wouldn't have given up that last touchdown.
  • Steelers going for two. Attempt fails. It really wasn't even that close. Steelers 29, Browns 42.
  • Nick Chubb rushes for nine yards on first down for the Browns. If the defense can't get it back quickly it's going to be tough.
  • The defense just can't stop them at all. They were just talking about not having mentioned Heyward, Alualu, or Tuitt all night. And they're right the d-line has been invisible.
  • The defense is just getting picked apart right now. It's pathetic.
  • Cleveland now has a first and goal. We're down to 6 minutes to play. I haven't had much hope most of the game anyway, because the team just can't give me anything to be all that hopeful for.
  • Browns hit a field goal to extend the lead. Pittsburgh 29, Browns 45.
  • 3-yard passes when you are down 16 points with less than 5 minutes to play is not going to get it done.
  • Hey but instead of changing it up they just do it again.
  • Ben throws his fourth interception of the game. It's over. I am almost to the point where I'm starting to wonder about Ben as well.
  • The Steelers go minus 5 in turnovers.
  • If you would have told me yesterday that the Steelers offense would score 29 points. I would have told you that they win the game easily.
  • Browns tackle on another field goal. Steelers 29, Browns 48. The Steelers have given up 48 points to the Browns, Don't forget we beat them 38 to 7 earlier in the year.
  • Steelers do go down the field, but ate up most of what was left of the clock. Ben hits Chase Claypool for the touchdown, but too little too late.
  • Steelers go for two. it wasn't pretty but Ben eventually gets it to Connor who gets it in for the conversion. Steelers 37, Browns 48.
  • Ben has completed 47 of 68 passes for 501 yards. With four touchdowns, but four ugly interceptions.
  • Steelers trying on sidekick recovered by the Browns who line up in victory formation.
  • Game over. Season over. And worst of all we lost this playoff game to the Cleveland Browns.
  • The Steelers have a lot of personnel decisions to make both on the field and on the sideline for next season. Stay tuned.

Once again, I just fired off what was going through my head at the time. All reactions were in real time. Basically, it is the equivalent of watching the game with me (and Kyle), you just don’t have to go to another room because I am screaming at the television (sometimes Kyle has to leave). Now time to process it, some quick analyzing for the Scho Bro Show, and then put it behind me. It was so ugly that I have to just put it behind me. I enjoyed writing these articles for you all season, and hopefully I will be invited back to do it again next season. Go Steelers. Make sure you get your voice heard in the comments below.