The Cleveland Browns dished out a fresh slice of humble pie to the AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in a 48-37 win to cap Super Wild Card weekend.
BROWNS 48, STEELERS 37:
The Cleveland Browns took complete advantage of five Pittsburgh Steelers turnovers to beat their Pennsylvania foes for a second consecutive week. In the process, the Browns earned their first playoff victory since January 1995. The game opened with Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey snapping the ball over Ben Roethlisberger’s head. The Browns recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. It was all downhill from there for the Steelers.
Cleveland turned Pittsburgh’s early misfortune into a 28-0 first quarter lead. Despite 501 yards passing from Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh couldn’t overcome his four interceptions or Cleveland’s rough and tumble offense.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Nick Chubb finished with 145 yards of total offense and a receiving touchdown.
Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster said earlier in the week that “the Browns is the Browns.” After the game, Browns players including Kareem Hunt and Baker Mayfield were quick to let people know they had not forgotten.
The Browns won despite missing the services of their head coach Kevin Stefanski, who was out after testing positive for COVID-19. He is expected to return to the sidelines for next Sunday afternoon’s playoff game against Kansas City.
RAVENS 20, TITANS 13:
Lamar Jackson earned his first playoff win as a quarterback and the Ravens got a measure of revenge by stomping on the Titans logo in a seven-point playoff win.
Jackson rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown including a dazzling 46-yard run for a score. While he only threw for 179 yards, Jackson’s rushing ability killed the Titans in key moments.
Late in the game, Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters intercepted Ryan Tannehill to help seal the victory. Peters and his teammates ran to midfield after the interception to celebrate on the Titans logo in a nod to the latter doing the same thing in Baltimore during a regular season battle between the two teams.
Things took another turn when Jackson ran off the field right after the game ended and implored his teammates to do the same without shaking the hands of Titans players. It’s silly and unbecoming behavior by the Ravens. We’ll see if it lingers into the week as the Ravens prepare to take on the Bills next Saturday night.
SAINTS 21, BEARS 9:
With all due respect to a pair of touchdown passes by Drew Brees against the Bears, the most intriguing angle in this game was it airing on Nickelodeon along with CBS. There were numerous highlights from the telecast perspective but the most entertaining aspect was Saints head coach Sean Payton getting slimed to help promote the Nickelodeon angle.
The Saints will try not to get slimed next Sunday evening when they host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once again in the divisional playoffs.