PITTSBURGH — The Cleveland Browns had their three-game winning streak snapped Sunday in a 20-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here are 10 thoughts on the game.
1. The Browns are now a long shot to make the playoffs.
Cleveland’s playoff odds drop to 6 percent with the loss to Pittsburgh, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
The Browns entered the day with a 20-percent chance to make the postseason.
Had the Browns won, their playoff odds would have gone up to 37 percent.
The Browns fall to 5-7 on the season. The team would likely have to win out for a chance to make the playoffs.
The Browns have the longest active playoff drought in the NFL. The team hasn’t made the postseason since the 2002 season.
The Browns fall to the Steelers and have now lost 16 straight games on the road at Pittsburgh.
Cleveland entered the day with a 20% chance to make the playoffs. That number is now down to 6%. pic.twitter.com/xhFoPARi0f
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 1, 2019
2. The Browns’ three-game winning streak is snapped.
Cleveland last won four consecutive games in 2009. The Browns have not swept the season series against the Steelers since 1988.
The Browns have now lost 16 consecutive games at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Sunday marked the first time the Browns were favored to win in Pittsburgh since the season opener in 1989. Some lines differed, but the Browns entered Sunday’s game as a one-point favorite.
3. Former Browns player Joe Haden intercepted Baker Mayfield to seal the win for the Steelers.
Haden spent his seven seasons with the Browns before signing with the Steelers in 2017.
The Steelers cornerback nabbed his second interception of the season on a Baker Mayfield overthrow with less than two minutes left in the game. The pass was intended for Jarvis Landry.
Devlin “Duck” Hodges took two knees to end the game to run out the clock.
4. Baker Mayfield hurt his hand on the facemask of Bud Dupree.
Mayfield did not play the final two plays of the first half and left the field to go to the locker room.
Garrett Gilbert came in to replace Mayfield.
However, Mayfield returned to the game in the second half. Head coach Freddie Kitchens called it a “contusion” or a “bruise” after the game.
Kitchens said Mayfield is “fine.”
Mayfield’s injury initially looked similar to the thumb injury Drew Brees had earlier this season. Brees opted to have surgery and missed five weeks.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. went to the locker room with two seconds left in the first half when the Browns had the ball. Beckham also returned in the second half.
Sunday marked Beckham’s sixth consecutive games without reaching 100 receiving yards. It’s the first time for him in his six-year career. He finished with three receptions for 29 yards.
5. Kitchens on wearing “Pittsburgh started it” T-shirt:
“My daughters wanted me to wear the shirt, and I’d wear it again. I put a jacket on. I covered it up. I took a picture with a fan. That was simple as that,” Kitchens said after the game. “You know, I mean a T-shirt didn’t cause us to give up 40-yard passes and we were ready to play. That’s the only thing for me to be concerned about. We were ready to play.”
#Browns Kitchens explains that the #Pittsburgh Started It” t-shirt he wore Friday night didn’t cost them the game: “We were ready to play” pic.twitter.com/RK3oYSBBEq
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) December 1, 2019
6. The Browns’ opening-drive touchdown streak got snapped.
The Browns’ three-game streak of scoring a touchdown on their opening drive ended on Sunday.
Coming into the game, Browns had scored 36 points on the first possession of the game, which is second-most in the NFL.
Cleveland did score three points on kicker Austin Seibert’s 31-yard field goal.
7. Devlin “Duck” Hodges wins second career start.
Sunday was a rematch of the Browns’ 21-7 win on Nov. 14. In that game, Myles Garrett hit Mason Rudolph over the head with the quarterback’s helmet. It led to an indefinite suspension for Garrett.
Hodges went 14-of-21 for 212 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Rudolph got benched in favor of Hodges ahead of Sunday’s game.
Mayfield completed 18-of-32 attempts for 196 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Steelers sacked Mayfield five times.
The Steelers had two takeaways while the Browns had one.
.@DevlinHodges10 is only the 3rd @Steelers quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win each of his first 2 career starts.
He joins Mike Kruczek in 1976 and Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.#CLEvsPIT | #HereWeGo
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 1, 2019
8. The Steelers won without wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner.
Smith-Schuster was out with a knee injury and Conner didn’t play because of a shoulder injury.
Smith-Schuster leads Pittsburgh with 524 receiving yards. He is tied with two other Steelers with three touchdown receptions.
James Washington had four receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown in Smith-Schuster’s place.
Steelers starting center Maurkice Pouncey also did not play because of his suspension for his role in the Nov. 14 brawl.
9. Safety Damarious Randall benched and kept home.
ESPN’s Jake Trotter reported Randall was left behind after deciding to skip practice this week. We’ll see if he returns against the Cincinnati Bengals.
10. Next up: The Browns host the Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
The Bengals won their first game of the season, beating the New York Jets on Sunday.
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