Cleveland Browns Upset Pittsburgh Steelers, Win First Playoff Game Since 1994

2021 Browns Team Win Against Steelers With Browns Background

  • The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 on Sunday.
  • It was Cleveland’s first playoff win since 1994 and the Browns’ first win in Pittsburgh since 2003.
  • Cleveland scored 28 first quarter points, the most in the first quarter of a playoff game since the 1970 merger,to break the game wide open.

The Cleveland Browns have ended another drought at the expense of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After ending the league’s longest playoff drought last weekend by by beating Pittsburgh’s Team B, the Browns defeated the the “real” Steelers team on Sunday to win their first NFL playoff game since 1994. Cleveland also won in Pittsburgh for the first time since 2003 and they did it without their head coach and without any practice.

Baker Mayfield threw for 263 yards with three touchdowns and no interception while Kareem Hunt had two rushing touchdowns to lead the Browns. Ben Roethlisberger completed 47 of 68 passes for 501 passing yards with four touchdowns but he also had four interceptions. JuJu Schuster-Smith and Diontae Johnson each had 100-yard receiving games but the Browns banked on a quick start and a first quarter for the ages to score a 48-37 upset of their rival Steelers in the NFL’s Super Wild Card weekend main event.

Quick Start by the Browns

On the first play of the game at the 25, Pittsburgh Steelers’ center Maurkice Pouncey’s shotgun snap went over the head of QB Ben Roethlisberger. The ensuing scramble ended in Karl Joseph’s recovery in the end zone for a 7-0 lead, just 14 seconds into the game.

According to ESPN, the last time that the first play from scrimmage resulted in a defensive touchdowns was Week 1 of 2018 when Sam Darnold threw a pick-six in his first career pass with the NY Jets.

It didn’t take long before the Browns would score again. After M.J. Stewart intercepted a pass from Ben Roethlisberger, Baker Mayfield connected a 40-yard TD pass to Jarvis Landry:

That TD gave the Browns their first 14-point first quarter against the Steelers since 2000, a game which Cleveland ended up winning. It was also the first time that the Browns scored 14-points in the first quarter of a playoff games since the 1954 NFL Championship where they won 56-10 against the Detroit Lions. It was just the beginning.

First Quarter for the Ages

The first quarter of the first NFL playoff game involving the Cleveland Browns couldn’t have gone any better than it did on Sunday night. Given the adversity of playing without head coach Kevin Stefanski and a handful others plus the nervous energy of playing the team’s first postseason game in two decades, the Browns could do no wrong against the Steelers on Sunday and delivered a first quarter for the ages.

Cleveland’s 28 first quarter points are the most scored by an NFL team in the first quarter of a playoff game since the Raiders vs the Oilers in 1969. Cleveland is the first team since the 1970 merger to score 28 points in the first quarter of a playoff game. According to NBC Sports, Cleveland’s 28-point first quarter lead is tied for the biggest lead at the end of the first quarter of an NFL playoff game

The last time that the Browns scored 28 points against the Steelers was Week 6 of the 2014 NFL season but that was in four total quarters. They scored as many points in the first quarter on Sunday as they did in the 1st quarter of their previous 13 games in Pittsburgh, combined.

The Browns are also the first team to have a turnover differential of plus-3 after the first quarter of a playoff game. As for the Steelers, it was the first time in the Ben Roethlisberger era where they have committed three first quarter turnovers. Big Ben is also 0-16 in his career, including the playoffs when falling behind by at least 21 points. Although the Steelers managed to cut the lead to “just” 35-10 at the half, the writing was already in the wall as only three teams in the history of the NFL playoffs have ever erased a 25+ point halftime deficit to win the game.

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