The Cleveland Browns kicked off their 2018 season with an overtime tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-21. The game was a wild, wet mess that saw the Browns offense sputter and the Steelers turning the ball over six times. In the end, the Browns and Steelers were unable to find a winner.
The first half of the game was a defensive fight with the Browns offense doing little to nothing. Cleveland only mustered 98 total yards in the first half. The team has a whole was undisciplined. The team had seven penalties in the first half. With how the offense played and the amount of penalties, the first half should have been a blowout. But, the Cleveland defense was able to force three turnovers, including two interceptions from rookie cornerback Denzel Ward. All in all, the game was still in reach for the Browns.
The second half was up and down. The Browns kicked off the half with a touchdown, but the Steelers answered with two touchdowns. It looked like the game was lost, but the Browns were able to put the ball in the endzone twice during the last eight minutes of the game. When the two teams headed to overtime, the weather seemed to get even worse. For overtime, both the Steelers and Browns had chances to win, but both teams had two missed kicks to cause this game to fall to a tie.
Five Big Things
Six Pittsburgh turnovers
The Browns defense was able to force six turnovers against the Steelers talented offense. Cleveland had four interceptions and two forced fumbles. The Browns, though, struggled to get points from these big plays, inching just seven points from the six turnovers. Nevertheless, the defense balled out. Here are just a couple of the turnovers:
Tyrod Taylor, not so good
Tyrod Taylor was not good in his Cleveland debut. He finished the game 15 of 40 for 197 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was never really comfortable in the pocket and his accuracy was off all game. He was the most effective on the ground as he rushed eight times for 77 yards and a touchdown. Take a look at the crushing interception he had late in the fourth quarter:
Penalties, so many penalties
The Browns were so undisciplined and that showed up the most in its penalties. The Browns were called for 11 penalties for 87 yards. Luckily, the Steelers were just as bad. Pittsburgh had 12 penalties for 116 yards. One of the biggest penalties was on Myles Garrett. This penalty negated a redzone stop and allowed the Steelers to eventually get their first touchdown of the game. It was a tough penalty to take, have a look:
Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward
Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward led the Browns defense. Garrett had a monster game, notching six tackles, three tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, two sacks and two forced fumbles. He was a menace on the edge and one of the big reasons the Browns were able to get back in the game late in the fourth. Here is the strip tackle that set the Browns up for their second touchdown of the game:
What a debut by the Browns No. 4 overall pick, Denzel Ward! Ward had six tackles, three passes defended and two interceptions. He showed the talent that earned the high pick billing. Take a look at the smart play by Ward in reading the eyes of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and picking the pass off:
The adventure that was, overtime
The overtime period was an adventure for both teams. Pittsburgh and Cleveland both had chances to win the game, but in the end the game ended in a tie. Both teams missed potential game winning field goals. Take a look at the field goal attempt by Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez that pretty much sealed the tie game: