Cleveland Browns lose a close season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Cleveland Browns lost on Sunday to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the game was filled with positives for the team moving forward.
The Cleveland Browns opened the season with a 21-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, which honestly was the final result most expected. But just because the team lost doesn’t mean it was a miserable day.
The Browns played well. Not well enough to win, but well enough to have fans excited about this young team after the initial sadness from the loss wears off.
Things got off to a horrific start when the Steelers blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown after a Browns three-and-out to open the game, seemingly starting another year of misfortune.
But then DeShone Kizer was given time to work and tied the game up at 7-7 heading into the second quarter. He finished going 20-30 with 222 yards, recording a touchdown through the air along with one on the ground. He did throw an interception, which killed what was a promising drive in the third quarter.
Overall it was a solid debut for the rookie, and certainly one of the better debuts from a Browns rookie quarterback in quite some time. Fans should be relieved the team didn’t actually go with Brock Osweiler and make Kizer sit behind him on the bench.
The defense was also a bright spot on Sunday, as the group only allowed 14 points after that blocked punt disaster at the start of the game. The Steelers only managed 290 total yards, and the Browns held Le’Veon Bell to just 32 yards on 11 carries.
This was all done without Myles Garrett, which should give fans some hope that this defense can be great considering the Steelers are one of the better teams the Browns will face all season.
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But with a loss comes negatives as well. The blocked punt stands out as the worst play, but a key drop from Kenny Britt and some immaculate receptions made by Antonio Brown stand out as game-changing. It was a classic case of the Browns playing well enough to contend, but not doing enough to close out a victory.
They did make it close at the end after cutting it to 21-18 following a touchdown pass from Kizer to Corey Coleman, followed by a successful two-point conversion, but it was simply too late as the Steelers were able to run out the clock after a questionable reception from Brown that should have been knocked down by the defense anyway.
Losing sucks but as I have said, this game was a positive building block moving forward, as opposed to last year’s opener when the team looked hopeless from the start.
This team has a qualified individual at quarterback, who just needs more experience. Kizer held onto the ball too long and got himself sacked more than he should have been, but still managed to lead two great touchdown drives and put his team in a position to win.
Next: Final 2017 staff predictions
The Browns have the Baltimore Ravens next week on the road, which is no easy task. But after the way the team played today, Browns fans have to be much more optimistic than they have been in the past.