CLEVELAND, OH – Thanks to a game-clinching scramble by QB Baker Mayfield, the Cleveland Browns ended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought in helping Cleveland rush into the postseason in a 24-22 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In front of a rowdy 12,000 fans down at First Energy Stadium, facing a Steelers teams resting notable starters on offense and defense in QB Ben Roethlisberger, C Maurkice Pouncey, LB TJ Watt, DT Cameron Hayward and DB Joe Haden, the Browns were on the precipice of punching the franchise’s first trip to the postseason since 2002 and finishing with 11 wins for the first time since 1994.
Thanks to a balanced mix of rushing and timely passing, the Browns did just that.
Third-year running back, Nick Chubb got the Browns off and running on a 47-yard gallop to give the Browns an early 7-0 lead. For the game, Chubb would finish with 108 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown.
After the teams would kick field goals, making the score 10-9, Browns at halftime, Cleveland extended the lead to 17-9 on a two-yard TD pass to TE Austin Hooper. The Browns would further pad their lead to 24-9 on a three-yard rush by WR Jarvis Landry.
Pittsburgh made it close in the final minutes thanks to two touchdown passes from QB Mason Rudolph to WR’s Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster to make the score 24-22, after a failed two-point conversion.
For the game, Rudolph finished 22-39 for 315 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
With 1:10 remaining in the game, Mayfield would ice the game on a three-yard keeper to wrap up Cleveland’s playoff berth. For the game, Mayfield went 17-27 for 196 yards, one touchdown and added another 44 yards on the ground—highlighted by a key 28-yard run in the third quarter—but the final three yards, proved to be the most valuable ones.
With Round 3 vs. a fully healthy Steelers squad down at Heinz Field, Cleveland has a chance to make amends for their infamous collapse from years past, and author a new and exciting chapter of their own.