Many expected it to be close but no one could have foreseen an OT tie between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers after the Steelers had run away to a 14-point lead going into the fourth quarter. In fact, no one could have predicted both teams having a chance to win the game in OT and neither kicker failing to convert the game-winning field goal, ending the game in a tie.
James Conner pushes the Steelers ahead in the first half
The Cleveland Browns have a formidable defense and that defense came to the fore against the Steelers pass game. Denzel Ward picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice in his first National Football League game as the Browns looked to keep the Steelers quiet. Roethlisberger also fumbled the ball twice and lost those fumbles as the Browns were all over the quarterback for the entire game. It was up to James Conner and the rushing game to push the Steelers ahead and he did so with some aplomb.
Conner had the chance to show that Pittsburgh did not need the missing Le'Veon Bell and the second year runningback had no problem doing that in the first half. Conner finished his day with two touchdowns, 135 rushing yards and 60 receiving yards. In between his two touchdowns, Antonio Brown recorded his first touchdown of the season with 22-yard reception. The Browns may have limited the Steelers' passing game more than expected but Conner showed that even if Roethlisberger is not at his best, the running game is still alive and well in Pittsburgh.
The Browns defense comes up big in the second half
With their offense faltering (Tyrod Taylor was sacked seven times and intercepted once), the Cleveland Browns defense stepped up to an even higher gear than they had performed in the first half. With just over seven minutes left in the game and the offense having failed to convert on a fourth down, James Conner fumbled and lost the ball deep in the Pittsburgh half. The Browns were one yard away from the end zone after that fumble (where Myles Garrett stripped the Steelers' runningback) and Carlos Hyde took advantage of the turnover with his first touchdown of the season.
The Browns defense showed up again in a huge way on the following drive for the Steelers. As Roethlisberger ate up the clock and marched the Steelers down the field for what would have been a game-winning field goal, the quarterback could not find his target and was picked off by Damarious Randall, giving the Browns a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Cleveland duly obliged and Josh Gordon made an outrageous catch to get a 17-yard touchdown reception.
Both kickers fluff their lines in OT
After both teams failed to score a touchdown, each team knew that a field goal would win the game. The Steelers were first up to try and win the game as Chris Boswell was given the chance to kick a 42-yard field goal after the offense had managed to move down the field a little. Boswell, who is usually so reliable for Pittsburgh, could not overcome the weather and failed to convert, giving the Browns a chance to win their first game against the Steelers in a long, long time.
Unfortunately for the home crowd, it was not to be. Zane Gonzalez had to contend with the weather just as Boswell had to and try to win the game for his team with a 43-yard conversion. The Pittsburgh Steelers special teams came up big and blocked his effort, foiling the Browns potential celebrations and consigning both teams to a tie.