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What was the game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Browns?

The Steelers fell off in the second half on Thursday night. What was the biggest moment that led to the defeat?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have dropped their second-straight game of the 2022 season. After holding a one-point at halftime, the Steelers offense couldn’t get rolling in the second half.

But what was the biggest moment that sent the Steelers down the path to the loss?

With each win for the Steelers this season being where we hand out a game ball and look at the top individual performance, each loss we will take a look at what we will call the “game-changing moment” of the game. What was the individual play or a set of plays that ended up being the biggest contribution to the loss? While it does not necessarily come down to just one thing that keeps a team from winning, it also doesn’t mean that all the moments share equal blame.

Last week, the biggest game-changing moment was determined to be the muffed punt which came in with 58% of the votes. Just after the missed interception, the Patriots were punting from their own 43-yard line. On a play that only had 10 players on the field for the Steelers as one of the gunners for the Patriots had a free run down the field, Gunner Olszewski called for a fair catch but allowed the ball to hit off his face mask and the Patriots were waiting patiently for the recovery. A penalty on the play also added half the distance to the goal and gave the Patriots the ball at the 10-yard line where they ultimately scored three plays later.

I will reiterate for everyone of the rules that it is individual plays or series that will be highlighted. Although it could be applicable, it will not be total performances as they are more in line for Jeff Hartman’s Winners and Losers article.

So here are the nominations in chronological order:

Nick Chubb’s 36-yard run

On the Browns first two offensive positions of the game, they only gained a total of 14 yards. After the wind pushed Chris Boswell’s 50-yard field goal attempt wide to the right, the Browns took over with good field position at their own 40-yard line. The Steelers held the Browns to have to go for a fourth down attempt at midfield which was converted. Up to that point, the Browns really hadn’t had any success on offense outside of one 13-yard run. But the next play, Nick Chubb busted a run for 36 yards down to the Steelers 12-yard line. It was two plays later when the Browns scored their first touchdown and from that point on their offense had much more success moving the football.

The only negative play on 1st down

Holding onto a one-point lead, the Pittsburgh Steelers got the ball to start the second half of the game. After achieving three first downs, the Steelers moved the ball into Cleveland territory. But on their next first-down attempt from the 46-yard line, a pass was thrown to Najee Harris well behind the line of scrimmage in traffic in the middle of the field and he was tackled for a 4-yard loss. It was the only negative play on first down the entire night by either team and put the Steelers well behind the sticks in a drive which looked like it was going to add to their lead.

The illegal man downfield penalty

On the very next play, the Steelers ran a beautiful pass to Jaylen Warren for 35 yards all the way down to the Browns 15-yard line. With the Steelers appearing to be in business in the red zone to add to their lead, the play was ultimately called back when Chuks Okorafor was called for being an illegal man downfield before the pass. Instead of being first and 10 at the Cleveland 15-yard line, the Steelers then faced a second 19 at their own 45.

Diontae Johnson’s dropped catch on 3rd down

After the Steelers defense spent more than seven minutes on the field for the Browns first drive of the second half, the Steelers offense barely gave them a rest as they did not achieve a first down. On a third and three from their own 32-yard line, Mitch Trubisky threw a deep pass to Diontae Johnson. While it wasn’t an egregious drop, it was a catchable ball which would have completely changed both the Steelers field position and their ability to give their defense some rest.

Three-straight drives being 3 & out

Last week it was the final two drives of the game where the Steelers went three and out and never got another possession. This time, the streak started much sooner as it was with just over 2:30 left in the third quarter when the Steelers had their first of three offensive possessions that did not yield a first down. The three-straight three and outs by the Steelers only gave them 3:31 of possession over a span of 20:21 of the gamecock throughout the third and fourth quarter.

So what do you think? What was the biggest moment that had the most effect on the Steelers loss this week? Make sure you vote in the poll as this is how the winner (which is ultimately the loser) will be determined. And of course, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.


What was the game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Patriots in Week 2?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Nick Chubb’s 36-yard run
    (23 votes)
  • 1%
    The only negative play on 1st down
    (10 votes)
  • 42%
    The illegal man downfield penalty
    (402 votes)
  • 11%
    Diontae Johnson’s dropped pass on 3rd down
    (110 votes)
  • 41%
    Three-straight drives being 3 & out
    (390 votes)
935 votes total Vote Now