Browns fans have become accustomed to doing most of their cheering during the offseason. In Week 1, the Browns finally gave them a Sunday with some excitement.
The Browns couldn’t bring home the win on Sunday, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18, but they they bring excitement to the home stadium. The game was not decided until the final minutes, and the Browns kept within shouting distance for most of the game. While last season had plenty of tight games, the full tear-down of an offseason and the constant pressure of avoiding an 0-16 season stripped those games of some of the positive stress. After an offseason of big free agent deals and a massive influx of high-ceiling draft picks, the Browns put together a promising performance that let fans believe in the next phase of the rebuild.
It was highlighted by the play of rookie quarterback Deshone Kizer. Kizer did not look spectacular, but led scoring drives and kept the Browns in it until the end. He made some big throws, and made some big mistakes. He created something out of nothing, and also held on to the ball and took some sacks that killed promising drives. He was a rookie, but a promising one. For a first game against a difficult opponent, he was a positive.
The defense also showed up to play. The Steelers were not able to get the ground game going and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looked out of sync for most of the game. New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams put together a plan that seemed to stifle what is normally a potent Pittsburgh attack, and the Browns got contributions from all over the defense.
Below is my quick reaction to the game. I talk about expectations, Kizer, the defense, and sneak in a hot take about the controversial pass interference call on Jamar Taylor that likely swung the game in Pittsburgh’s favor.
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