Connect with us

Steelers Gameday

Taken Away: Steelers OLBs Watt, Highsmith Wrestle Victory from Browns




PITTSBURGH — One week after the Pittsburgh Steelers offense sputtered and died, and the team was gutted by injuries in a season-opening loss, with the Cleveland Browns coming to town for Monday Night Football, Mike Tomlin’s team needed someone to step up.

Enter the team’s all-everything outside linebacker duo of T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.

Highsmith started the game by snagging a tipped Deshaun Watson pass and returning it for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.

Watt and Highsmith teamed up to put the Steelers ahead for good, when Highsmith stripped Watson and Watt scooped up the fumble and returned it for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 26-22 victory over their arch rivals.

The Steelers defense forced four turnovers in total on the game, with Montravius Adams also forcing a fumble by Watson, and Cole Holcomb stripped David Njoku.

But the Pittsburgh offense again struggled to take advantage. On the two drives the Steelers defense got them the ball, one time the offense punted. On the other, Gunner Olszewski fumbled it right back.

The Steelers offense again operated in fits and starts. A 71-yard touchdown pass from Kenny Pickett to George Pickens late in the first half was the lone offensive touchdown.

Pickett finished 15 of 30 for 222 yards, the one touchdown and one interception. His 71.8 passer rating both represented a significant improvement (it was 68.4 in Week 1) and a sign of how far he has to go (all 33 qualifying quarterbacks last season had a better rating).

The Steelers did show some life in the running game, with Najee Harris getting 43 yards on 10 carries and Jaylen Warren 20 yards on six carries.

Browns star running back Nick Chubb was forced from the game in the first half, and the Steelers seemed to have the Cleveland offense bottled up, but backup Jerome Ford broke open a 69-yard run that also forced Minkah Fitzpatrick from the game. 

Cleveland took the lead two plays later, and it didn’t look like the Steelers offense was going to be able to put together a necessary long scoring drive until Highsmith and Watt came through.

The Browns got the ball for one last drive, but Elijah Riley raced up to sack Watson on a third down, setting up fourth and long with just over a minute to play. Joey Porter Jr. provded great coverage and the ball sailed out of bounds to give the Steelers the victory.

Pittsburgh has leveled its record at 1-1, tying the Browns for second place in the AFC North behind the 2-0 Baltimore Ravens.

The Steelers will spend the next two weeks on the road, traveling to Las Vegas for a Sunday Night Football matchup with the Raiders in Week 3 on WPXI.

Click to comment
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.

Subscribe Today!