Winners, losers from Browns-Steelers on Thursday Night Football originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
That was AFC North football.
In a classic rivalry game, the Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-17 to improve to 2-1. The Steelers are now 1-2 after back-to-back losses.
After the short week, both teams now have a much-needed 10 days to get ready for Week 4.
Before we move on to the weekend, here are some winners and losers from Thursday’s game:
Winner: Jacoby Brissett
The Browns’ backup quarterback played nearly a perfect game against the Steelers. Brissett had two well-placed touchdowns, first to Amari Cooper and then to David Njoku.
Brissett completed 21 of 31 passes for 220 yards and, most importantly, no turnovers. That’s about all you can ask for from a backup, and it’s what Cleveland will need for the next eight games before Deshaun Watson returns from his sexual misconduct suspension.
Loser: Mitch Trubisky, who could be running out of time
OK, so Trubisky wasn’t that bad against the Browns. But he wasn’t that good, either, even though the final statline is respectable – 20 of 32, 207 yards, one rushing TD, no interceptions.
After a stunning Week 1 win over the defending AFC champion Bengals, Pittsburgh has posted consecutive losses to the Patriots and Browns. The Steelers’ offense has been pitiful in all three games, and the defense isn’t the same without T.J. Watt.
Bringing in first-round rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett won’t solve all of the Steelers’ problems. He won’t magically nurse Watt back to health. He won’t make the offensive line block better. But he could provide a spark, which their current starter will never do. Everyone knows what Trubisky is – it’s time to give the kid a shot, especially with a long week to prepare for the Jets at home.
Winner: Browns’ trade for Amari Cooper
When the Cowboys traded Amari Cooper to the Browns for a fifth-round pick in March, many people questioned it. After Thursday, we can comfortably say everyone is questioning it.
Cooper, a four-time Pro Bowler, had his best game of the season, posting seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
He has 19 receptions, 219 yards and two touchdowns through three games with his new team, looking the part of a sure-fire No. 1 receiver.
Loser: Defenders trying to tackle Nick Chubb and Najee Harris
Two of the best running backs in football were on display in prime time. Chubb stole the show, rushing for 113 yards and a touchdown in the Browns’ win. On the other side, Harris rushed for 56 yards and a score.
The most impressive part of their night, though, was how physical they were rushing through contact. On Harris’ touchdown run, he plowed through a defender after breaking two tackles to get into the end zone.
All night long, Chubb did what he does best: get more yards than expected. He was routinely caught dead to rights before battling for a few extra yards.
Good luck trying to stop these two.
Winner: George Pickens was right
Before Thursday’s game, the Steelers’ rookie receiver complained about his lack of targets in Week 2, claiming he was open “90% of the time” against the Patriots despite getting just two targets. Pickens went as far as to say that he’s open “99% of the time.”
“I'm always (going to) have a step and always feel like, 99% of the time, I'm open even though the ball gets there in the air and (the defender) gets time to catch back up. ... But I'm open as soon as I get off the line."
Well, Pickens proved that to be true with his highlight-reel, one-handed grab in the first quarter.
Pickens finished the game with three receptions for 39 yards, but no one will forget his catch on Thursday.