Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb during the Browns' win Sunday. Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) celebrates with quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth quarter of an AFC Wild Card playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

This NFL season saw the Cleveland Browns not only make the playoffs for the first time since 2002-03, but also pick up their first playoff victory since January 1, 1995 (when the former Browns franchise, now the Baltimore Ravens, was coached by Bill Belichick, and beat the Bill Parcells-coached New England Patriots). That came with a 48-37 road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, the same team they beat 24-22 last Sunday to clinch a playoff berth. It was the Browns’ first win in Pittsburgh since 2003, and they did it without head coach Kevin Stefanski and several key players and assistant coaches, who were ruled out thanks to COVID-19 protocols.

A lot of this win was about the Browns’ hot start, and the Steelers’ slow start. The first play from scrimmage saw a bad snap from Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey sail over the head of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. It was touched at the 2, then rolled into the end zone, and Cleveland’s Karl Joseph recovered for a touchdown:

And, on the next drive, Roethlisberger was picked off by M.J. Stewart Jr.:

That led to Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield finding Jarvis Landry for a touchdown to make it 14-0. And the Browns would add two further touchdowns in the first quarter, making it 28-0 heading into the second. Pittsburgh did battle back a bit after that, and Roethlisberger completed 47 of 68 passes (69.1 percent) for 501 yards and four touchdowns, but that showing came with four interceptions. And Mayfield’s quieter night (21 completions on 34 attempts for 263 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions) was certainly preferable from a turnover point of view. Cleveland also got a solid showing from RB Nick Chubb (seen above with Mayfield), who rushed 18 times for 76 yards on the day.

The Browns are now moving on to face the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs next week. We’ll see how they do with that challenge. But even if they come up short there, the playoff win here still marks something that they hadn’t accomplished since 1995.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.