Cleveland Browns Top Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football

The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-17 on Thursday Night Football of Week 3, establishing a new pecking order in the AFC North. The game was closely contested at the half, with the Steelers even holding a 14-13 lead into the third quarter, but the Browns pulled away with a pair of scoring drives in the fourth before recovering a fumbled lateral in the endzone as time expired to seal the win. At 2-1, the Browns are now, shockingly, first in the AFC North.

The Browns relied on the same formula that has served them well so far this year. Through two weeks, Cleveland led the league in rushing thanks to the dual-headed attack of running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. They combined for 160 of the Browns' 171 rushing yards Thursday Night, and the Steelers simply had no answer. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett pitched in with a largely mistake-free 205 net passing yards on 33 dropbacks, with 107 of those yards going to wide receiver Amari Cooper. Now with consecutive 100+ yard games, the former Dallas Cowboy is beginning to look like one of the best bargains of the offseason.
Photo Credit: © Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK
Meanwhile, the Steelers continued to show troubling signs that they simply aren't ready to compete in the AFC this year. The offense was middling yet again in defeat, combining for 308 yards and opening the second half with four straight three-and-outs. The Steelers now rank 28th in the league in yards per game. Maybe they could get by if their defense were playing better, but the unit hasn't provided much excitement since Week 1's surprising thrashing of the Cincinntai Bengals. The front seven showed little bite against the Browns without last season's Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, allowing 4.5 yards per rushing attempt and a 3/4 fourth down conversion rate while failing to record a turnover. Barring rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett replacing starter Mitchell Trubisky and quickly proving a massive upgrade, the Steelers don't look like they're going anywhere this year.

Looking ahead to Week 4, the Cleveland Browns will seek to improve their record to 3-1 when they visit the 0-2 Atlanta Falcons, and the Pittsburgh Steelers host the New York Jets.

Photo Credit: © Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK