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Steelers vs. Browns, Week 17: Knee Jerk Reactions to the Steelers’ 24-22 loss to the Browns

The Steelers almost ruin the Browns playoff chances while resting players, but almost doesn’t count.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Week 17 of the NFL season and the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Cleveland to face the Browns. There were many people out there at the beginning of September that felt we would never see Week 17 of the NFL season. Not only have we made it to Week 17, but the Steelers have already punched their playoff tickets and have very little to play for in Week 17. The only main reason I still want to see a Steelers victory is that it would knock the Browns out of the playoffs and continue their playoff drought.

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 the AFC North title.


Quarter 1

  • Cleveland wins the toss in the first of the second half. Mason Rudolph will lead the offense onto the field for the first time this season.
  • Third down and four, Mason completes his first pass of the game to Chase Claypool for a first down.
  • Mason held the ball too long on 3rd and 5. He had two guys open early but held the ball and threw incomplete. Steelers to punt.
  • A drive by the Browns that started out kind of methodical suddenly explodes with a long Nick Chubb run for a touchdown. Steelers 0, Browns 7.
  • The Steelers respond by going three and out.
  • Cleveland methodically moving again.
  • Coach Tomlin is going to challenge that completion. It looks like he's actually going to win a challenge here. That was definitely only one foot down, followed by an arm out of bounds. When something is blatantly that obvious, my question is why did the officials get it wrong in the first place?
  • The defense holds on 3rd down and 11. Offense will get the ball back.
  • James Conner with a nice run-on first down. Goes almost for 10 yards.
  • Kyle: "Did our offensive line just push?"
  • On third down and eight Rudolph completes the pass for a first down to Claypool. First down Steelers.
  • First quarter ends with the score Steelers 0, Browns 7.

Quarter 2

  • Drive stalls for the Steelers. I did like the deep shot attempt to Claypool.
  • A nice run from Chubb and a long pass from Mayfield and the Browns are in business.
  • The Steelers defense holds thanks in part to a couple nice plays by Minkah Fitzpatrick. Hold the Browns to a field goal. Steelers 0, Browns 10.
  • After the Steelers pick up a first down, it gets to predictable Randy Fichtner offense. Incomplete on first down run for a loss on second down, deep shot on third down and 10. The only difference is Diontae Johnson caught this ball.
  • That play was followed up by a nice run by Joshua Dobbs. Steelers are in the red zone.
  • The offense stalls, Matthew Wright comes in and hits a 29-yard field goal. Steelers 3 Browns 10.
  • Chris Wormley continues the Pittsburgh Steelers sacks streak by getting to Baker Mayfield. Kyle: "for all the blokes out there that would be called a sackle."
  • The Browns weren't fooling anybody lining up to go for it on fourth down and four, deep in their own end.
  • Ray-Ray McCloud had success early in the season by catching punts and immediately going up the field. Any more all he does is catch it and dance around and get nothing. There was at least 10 yards that he could have gotten there.
  • On a 3rd and 9 there was a nice pitch and catch from Rudolph to JuJu.
  • Matthew Wright hits the field goal for the Steelers. Steelers 6, Browns 10.
  • Alex Highsmith gets in for a sack on Baker Mayfield.
  • The end of the first half. The Steelers 6, Browns 10.

Quarter 3

  • Cleveland got the ball to start the second half. Drive right now Cleveland on their own 42.
  • The defense holds in Cleveland punts.
  • Would love to see the offense of the Steelers we saw last week right about now.
  • On third down and eight Rudolph throws deep and hits Claypool. Pittsburgh down to the Cleveland 35.
  • Matthew Wright comes on and hits the 46-yard field goal. Steelers 9, Browns 10. I wonder if they're starting to be a bit of nervousness on the part of Brown's fans and players right now?
  • The defense gets pressure on Mayfield but he escapes and runs for 28 yards.
  • Browns score touchdown on the pass from Mayfield to Hooper. Would have liked to have seen the defense hold there. Folks in Cleveland are probably breathing a little easier now.
  • So the Browns decline an illegal downfield penalty to set up a second and 10. I turned to Kyle and say "Well that's because they know on second and 10 that Fichtner will call a run play." The Steelers then handed off the football.
  • Mason Rudolph then does the one thing he cannot afford to do and throws a dumb interception.
  • Cleveland move the ball inside the Steeler 10-yard line as the third quarter comes to an end. Steelers 9, Browns 17 and threatening.

Quarter 4

  • Jarvis Landry with a touchdown run for the Browns on the first play of the 4th quarter. Steelers held it close for a while but the Browns are starting to open up the gap. Steelers 9, Browns 24.
  • A few runs and a few nice passes and the Steelers have found themselves in scoring range.
  • Claypool with a touchdown catch on a 4th and 10 play. Steelers 16, Browns 24.
  • Just saw another play where it is 100% evident that the referees are not calling holding while the quarterback is in the pocket as Mondeaux was held for three or four seconds.
  • Tuitt sacks Mayfield on a third down play. Cleveland going for it on 4th and 7th. Pass falls in complete and the Steelers will take over.
  • First down past the JuJu Smith-Schuster on a 3rd and 10 play. Steelers keep the football.
  • Deep throw from Rudolph to Diontae Johnson. Steelers have the ball down near the 10-yard line. I must say that Mason Rudolph does throw a really nice deep ball.
  • 2-minute warning, Browns still lead by 8, but Pittsburgh has it second and goal on the 5-yard line.
  • JuJu with the touchdown catch from Mason Rudolph. Steelers will go for two to try to tie this game up. Two-point conversion passes too high for Chase Claypool. Steelers 22, Browns 24.
  • The Steelers go for an on-side kick, they had a chance but Cleveland ended up recovering.
  • The Browns managed to pick up a first down and will run out the clock. The Steelers gave themselves a great chance. The Browns are celebrating like they won the Super Bowl, I hope they get it out this week because they'll be in Pittsburgh and the Steelers will return the favor next week.

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 as we are prepare for a next weeks playoff game against...who knows, who cares, we are in the playoffs. Make sure you get your voice heard in the comments below.