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Steelers Gameday

Steelers Backups Can’t Finish Comeback, Fall to Browns 24-22



CLEVELAND — The Steelers did not have a ton to play for on Sunday in their regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns.

At times, they played like it. At times, it looked like the Steelers’ backups were every bit the equal of the second-place team in the AFC North.

But critical mistakes on both sides of the ball let Cleveland pull ahead and the Steelers could not complete a late comeback, falling, 24-22.

Not traveling to Cleveland were Cam Heyward, Maurkice Pouncey, Ben Roethlisberger and T.J. Watt, in addition to two injured Steelers and three players on the COVID-19 reserve list. The replacement Steelers generally held serve with the Browns, but a pair of big plays went decisively in Cleveland’s fashion.

On the Browns’ opening drive, Cleveland running back Nick Chubb went through a number of Pittsburgh would-be tacklers, rumbling for 47 yards and a score to give the Browns a lead they never surrendered.

The teams traded field goals, with the Steelers getting three from fill-in Matthew Wright and the Browns adding one from Cody Parkey to hold a 10-9 lead. 

In the third quarter, Baker Mayfield connected with Austin Hooper for a 2-yard score to put Cleveland up eight and put the pressure on the Pittsburgh offense.

The Steelers couldn’t respond, as Mason Rudolph was pressured on a third down and threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by M.J. Stewart, setting up a short field that the Browns cashed in on with a 3-yard Jarvis Landry rush.

Rudolph led the Steelers back, connecting with Chase Claypool on a 28-yard touchdowns and then after a defensive stop, finding JuJu Smith-Schuster from 2 yards out, but Rudolph’s two-point conversion attempt to Claypool was high.

The Browns recovered Wright’s onside kick attempt, and Cleveland was able to gain the one first down they needed in the running game to secure victory.

The Steelers finished the season with a 12-4 record, their best since going 13-3 in 2017. The two teams will meet again in the Wild Card round next weekend in Pittsburgh.

Steelers Gameday

Alex Highsmith Needs MRI after Ankle Injury Suffered vs. Browns



PITTSBURGH — Steelers rookie linebacker Alex Highsmith suffered an ankle injury that will require an MRI in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Highsmith left the game in the first half and was seen limping on the Pittsburgh sideline. He made an attempt to return to the game, but was unable to continue playing and did not see the field at all in the second half.

In-game, the Steelers announced that Highsmith was doubtful to return with an ankle injury. After the fact, head coach Mike Tomlin said that Highsmith suffered a high ankle sprain. Highsmith’s father posted on Twitter early on Monday morning that Highsmith will require an MRI on his injured ankle.

Given that Highsmith was able to walk and even run in short bursts after the injury, it does not seem likely that it will impact his offseason training plans.

The team’s third-round draft pick out of Charlotte, Highsmith was thrust into a starting role after starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree suffered  an ACL injury that required surgery.

On the season, Highsmith played in 16 regular season game and made five starts. He finished with 48 tackles, five for a loss, six quarterback hits, one interception and one pass defended.

With Dupree set to become an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to return, Highsmith should be expected to retain his starting role in 2021.

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Mike Tomlin Doesn’t Regret Punt, Will Talk to Ben Roethlisberger About Future



Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answers questions from the media following his team’s shocking defeat at the hands of the Browns in the playoffs. Tomlin explained why he decided to punt on a 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter while trailing by multiple scores. He also touched on the timeline for when he will talk to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about his future with the team.

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Steelers Gameday

JuJu Smith-Schuster Says He Doesn’t Regret ‘Browns Is the Browns’ Comment



PITTSBURGH — It was repeated so often in the five days between when JuJu Smith-Schuster said the phrase on Wednesday to Sunday night’s game at Heinz Field, that it nearly became the No. 1 talking point coming into the game.

“The Browns is the Browns.”

Before the game, after the game and probably during the game, many of the Browns made it clear that they had taken exception to Smith-Schuster’s characterization of the team.

Smith-Schuster said after the game that he had no regrets about what he said.

“You know, I don’t regret what I said,” Smith-Schuster said. “I said, ‘The Browns is the Browns.’ They came out and they played a hell of a game. You know, there’s been games where we feel we lose them and today wasn’t our night and hopefully the same Browns will show up next week against the same opponent and go out and do the same thing they did tonight and have a hell of a game.”

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