The Pittsburgh Steelers entered Week 17 with hardly anything to play for after locking up the AFC North championship in Week 16 by coming from behind to beat the Indianapolis Colts. Their opponents, the Cleveland Browns, had everything to play for, if they beat the Steelers they lock up their first playoff spot since 2002.
Pittsburgh lost the coin toss, and the Browns elected to defer their possession to the start of the second half, which meant it was Mason Rudolph, not Ben Roethlisberger who was given the game off, under center to start things off offensively. After a nice first down pass to Chase Claypool, the Steelers’ offense had to settle for a field-flipping opening drive.
The Browns’ first drive of the game was the Nick Chubb show. Chubb broke off a 10 yard run on first down, and it just started the 6 play, 80 yard drive which ended in a 47-yard Chubb run for a touchdown. The point-after gave the Browns an early 7-0 lead with 9:29 left in the quarter.
After a Steelers’ three-and-out, the Browns’ drive which looked promising ended in their first punt of the game. With 2:52 left in the quarter, Rudolph took over at their own 9-yard line and were in the process of putting together their best drive of the game at the end of the first quarter of play.