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Week 13 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 13, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

What you need to know

Cleveland Browns

The Browns got off to a fast start, taking a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter. It looked like Cleveland would sweep the two-game series against the Steelers for the first time since 1988 for a while. Baker Mayfield was accurate early in the game and kept the offense moving. He then hit his throwing hand on Bud Dupree’s facemask on a follow-through with seven seconds left in the first half and went to the locker room to get X-rays. He was cleared and returned for the second half with a wrap and a glove on the bruised hand. The second half was not as productive for the offense, however. Mayfield struggled with his accuracy, perhaps due to the hand bruise. He lost a fumble and threw an interception on what could have been the game-tying drive.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Coming off a hard-fought win again the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers were taking on a Cleveland Browns team who has won three straight games. Even more, the Steelers were entering the game with a change at quarterback with Mason Rudolph getting benched for Devlin Hodges. With the Browns down their top three defensive lineman in the second quarter, the Steelers started driving down the field. The Steelers were able to get their first points in the second quarter. With under two minutes left before half time Devlin Hodges and James Washington hooked up for a crucial touchdown to tie up the game. This changed the momentum of the game and the Steelers began gaining rhythm offensively. The Browns then shot themselves in the foot when they drew a defensive pass interference play in the back of the end zone allowing the Steelers an opportunity to score the go-ahead touchdown. While up 10-17, the Steelers defense were able to force Baker Mayfield out of the pocket and forced a fumble. The Steelers have now forced a fumble in ten of their last eleven games. With the score 13-20 the Browns had the ball with under two minutes left in the game and no timeouts remaining. The first play was an easy deflected pass by Minkah Fitzpatrick and the third was an off pass by Baker Mayfield easily intercepted by former Cleveland Brown, Joe Hayden.

Cleveland Browns

QB Baker Mayfield, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 32 - 196 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0
Mayfield got off to a fast start in the game, completing 6-of-8 passes for 60 yards on his first two drives. His first pass of the game was dropped by Jarvis Landry. He bounced back to throw a great pass to Landry while rolling right on third-and-14. Landry stretched to haul in the 15-yard gain along the right sideline. Mayfield got the ball into the red zone but was unable to cash in the touchdown. He was sacked by T.J. Watt, who he didn’t see coming, and then threw way too high for Odell Beckham Jr. in the end zone. Mayfield’s lone touchdown came on the third drive of the game. He found Kareem Hunt in the middle of the field for a short completion. Hunt did most of the work as he broke two tackles for a 15-yard receiving touchdown. On the final drive of the first half, Mayfield took a couple deep shots to Beckham. The receiver didn’t have a chance at either ball. Mayfield hit his hand on Bud Dupree’s facemask on his follow-through on the second deep shot and went back to the locker room for X-rays. Garrett Gilbert came on to run two plays during the final seven seconds of the first half. Mayfield was diagnosed with a bruised hand, had it wrapped, and returned for the third quarter with a glove on his throwing hand. His first pass of the half was an excellent completion to Jarvis Landry for 16 yards but he ended that drive by losing a fumble on a strip sack while fighting to break away from the pass rush. In the fourth quarter he started looking to Demetrius Harris. He threw a strike down the seam to Harris for a 23-yard gain. He then targeted Harris twice in the end zone. The first was way too high for Harris to make the catch. The second target was in the tight end’s hands in the end zone on a leaping attempt but the ball jarred loose when Harris hit the ground. It came this close to being a touchdown. Mayfield was then sacked in the red zone to end that promising drive without a touchdown. On the final offensive possession of the game, Mayfield had a chance to lead the Browns on a game-tying drive but his accuracy betrayed him. He threw to an open Landry in the middle of the field but the pass was broken up. He then threw an interception to end his team’s chances at a comeback. He threw a bad pass way behind Landry that Joe Haden was able to dive and intercept.

RB Nick Chubb, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 58 - 0, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (2 targets)
Chubb was mostly bottled up by the Steelers in the game. On the first drive he took a handful of carries, gaining three yards on two separate touches and then getting stuffed on a third carry. He got a red zone carry at the end of that drive from the Pittsburgh six-yard line and lost a yard on the play. His best series came on the third drive of the game. Chubb ripped off gains of nine, 12, two, five, and seven to help get the team into the red zone, eventually leading to a Kareem Hunt receiving touchdown. Of Chubb’s 58 rushing yards in the game, 35 came on that drive alone. In the third quarter Chubb had gains of three and five. He was also targeted for the first time all game but the ball was too far out in front of him. In the fourth quarter, Chubb ripped off a 21-yard reception. He took a short pass to the left and had plenty of space ahead of him, rumbling for 21 yards before getting forced out of bounds.

RB Kareem Hunt, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 46 - 0, Rec: 5 - 19 - 1 (5 targets)
Hunt has established himself as the team’s de facto No. 3 receiver thanks to his slick pass catching. The Steelers, however, were ready for him this time, often waiting to meet him as soon as he pulled in the reception. Hunt did almost all of his damage in the first half of the game as he had just two touches in the second half. His first touch of the game was a seven-yard carry up the middle. He followed that up with a one-yard catch where he was hit immediately. On the second drive, he had carries go for two and four yards before losing two yards on a shovel pass. Hunt found the end zone on the third drive of the game. Hunt took a short pass, broke two tackles, and crossed the goal line for a 15-yard score. His tackle-breaking was impressive on the score as one Steeler defender simply bounced off of him. On the final drive of the half, Hunt had a nice run up the middle for a 16-yard gain and followed that up with another 16-yard gain, this time to the right. Hunt’s lone touches in the second half came in the fourth quarter. He had a reception for no gain on the fourth drive of the half and then a five-yard reception on the final drive of the game.

WR Jarvis Landry, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 76 - 0 (11 targets)
Landry led the team in receiving yet again. He was targeted on Baker Mayfield’s first pass of the game but dropped what looked to be a catchable ball. He made up for it with an exceptional 15-yard catch along the right sideline on third-and-14. Landry stuck his toes in the ground and extended his body over the sideline to pull in the ball on an impressive grab. The play was originally ruled an incompletion but the call was overturned to a catch after Cleveland challenged it. He caught two passes on Cleveland’s lone touchdown drive, an 11-yard gain down the middle and an eight-yard gain where Mayfield was hit as he threw. On the final drive of the second quarter he was targeted on a deep pass to the right but the throw was too high. Landry was busy in the second half. On the first drive, he pulled in two catches, a 16-yard gain and a seven-yard catch where he was closely covered. He had a third catch on that series, a four-yard gain, which was nullified by an offensive holding penalty. In the fourth quarter, Landry saw another deep target, this one near the Pittsburgh goal line on the left side. He couldn’t hold on to what looked to be a catchable ball. On the final drive of the game, Landry saw a deep target down the middle of the field. The pass was broken up by Minkah Fitzpatrick. Landry was also the intended target on the game-ending interception. The ball was thrown high and behind Landry, which allowed cornerback Joe Haden to make a diving interception, ending Cleveland’s comeback hopes.

WR Odell Beckham, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 29 - 0 (6 targets)
Beckham had another quiet game in orange and brown. He was strangely not a big part of the game plan, drawing just six targets in the loss. At times it was hard to remember that the star wideout was on the field. Cleveland’s porous offensive line continues to be an issue as Baker Mayfield often didn’t have time to sit back and give time for Beckham to get open. When Beckham was open, Mayfield often threw inaccurate passes in his direction. Beckham’s first target of the game was an end zone target at the end of the first drive. The pass was thrown way too high for Beckham to get a hand on it. On the following drive, he caught a six-yard pass on the left side of the field. His second catch came in the second quarter and went for a four-yard gain. He didn’t make another catch again until the third drive of the second half, where he made a diving, 19-yard grab. He jumped up and started yelling, presumably to motivate his team. That was the final time he was heard from in the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Devlin Hodges, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 21 - 212 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 2 - 0
“Don’t try to go out and do too much”, this is the mantra of Hodges. Things were shaky for Hodges to start the game as he drew his first sack by not stepping up into the pocket. Instead, Hodges tried escaping the pocket and made the sack easier on the Browns. In the second quarter things were finally loosening up for Hodges when on a free play, with a Cleveland Browns defender jumping offsides, Hodges finds James Washington deep along the sidelines for an over the shoulder catch. Hodges best throw of the day was on a touchdown pass to James Washington. The ball was a little underthrown, but overall the ball was in a place Washington could make the play and turn around for the ball. Hodges even contributed with his legs on a 9-yard rush play. Hodges saw a hole in the pocket on man to man coverage. With no one in zone coverage, the entire middle of the field was open. Things did get a little shaky for Hodges in the fourth quarter. After fumbling the ball out of bounds on the previous possession, Hodges threw an uncatchable high pass to Diontae Johnson. On the following drive, Johnson was running a curl route and Hodges was throwing a go route. The Browns defender kept running and made an easy interception. With under four minutes left on the clock and a third down, the Steelers put their trust in Hodges as they put the ball in his hands to make the right decision. Hodges was able to hit Diontae Johnson in stride across the middle of the field for a big first down. On the same drive and a similar situation, Hodges finds Vance McDonald for another crucial first down and forcing the Browns to start using their timeouts.

RB Benny Snell, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 63 - 1, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets)
Started entering the game in the third quarter after the game was tied. Steelers showed a lot of trust when, after a defensive pass interference call put the ball at the one-yard line, was given the goal line carry. Snell made a strong run up the middle and squirmed free for a touchdown. Snell’s best run came on a 14-yard carry. Snell ran through first contact, bounced off another defender, and lowered his head and kept driving his legs for additional yardage. Not to be outdone, Snell had a second tremendous run late in the fourth quarter with the Steelers backed up to their own one-yard line. Snell burst behind the left guard for a more than ten yards and a first down. More importantly, Snell was able to keep the clock rolling on the Steelers final drive of the game.

RB Jaylen Samuels, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 32 - 0, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (2 targets)
Samuels drew the start today for the Steelers and was more involved than Week 12 against the Bengals. Samuels was even used as a wildcat quarterback. On Samuels’ first run of the game was a strong run up the middle of the line. Between the tackle running is not something Samuels often shows. Samuels’ best reception of the day came on a floating pass out of the backfield. Samuels showed good explosion turning upfield quickly after the catch. 7-yard gain. Samuels’ game was almost much bigger. He was tackled by his shoelaces on a run to the left side of the offensive line. Samuels caught a screen pass out of the backfield on a 1-15. Left completely alone and delivered a nice hit to a Browns defender at the end of the run. Samuels running strong. Samuels next touch two plays later was another strong run. Samuels lowered his shoulder for the second time on the same Browns defender and was able to keep his balance and extend the play for more yardage.

WR James Washington, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 111 - 1 (4 targets)
Washington’s day was filled with highlight plays. Three of Washington’s four receptions were all highlight quality. On his first reception working outside against the Browns top cornerback, Washington was able to get both feet in bounds on a tough catch along the sideline. His second was an amazing catch for a touchdown, which would have been defensive pass interference at the one-yard line even if the ball was dropped. As a defender pulled Washington to the ground, he kept he turned around to make an adjustment on the ball, the ball then jarred loose, and then Washington still was able to make the catch. Tied the game 10-10 before halftime. Finally, Washington had another great concentration catch on tight coverage. The ball was dropped right over the shoulder perfectly.

WR Diontae Johnson, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 17 - 0, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (5 targets)
Johnson had an up and down game for the Steelers in Week 13. Johnson’s valleys were a false start, a drop with a lot of room in front of him to run, and was the second man in an altercation with a Browns player. Johnson drew a 15-yard unsportsman like penalty. Johnson had two big plays in the game. His first was an end around on a trick play using Johnson’s athleticism. Gain of 17-yards. His second impactful play was his only catch of the game. It came in the most crucial time of the game in the fourth quarter. Streaking across the field, Johnson caught the ball over the middle and converted the first down. Unfortunately, Johnson didn’t have the awareness to stay in bounds.