PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers Used defensive touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters to defeat the cleveland browns 26-22 Monday night at Acrisure Stadium, leaving the Browns without a win in Pittsburgh in the regular season since 2003.

But the score was not the most painful loss for the Browns (1-1), as running back Nick Chub suffered a significant injury to left knee in the second quarter and was taken off the field. The Steelers moved to 1-1 with the win.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers’ offense couldn’t score, but that didn’t stop their defense from finding the end zone to beat the Browns.

outside linebacker Alex Highsmith scored nine seconds into the game, returning an interception 30 yards for a score when Minkah Fitzpatrick deflected Deshaun WatsonFirst pass of the game. Then, with the Steelers trailing by three in the fourth quarter, Highsmith made another big play by forcing a Watson fumble, which the outside linebacker TJ Watts he recovered and returned for the winning 17-yard touchdown. The touchdowns marked the first time since 2010 that the Steelers had two defensive touchdowns in a game, and the first time the Steelers recorded a fumble return touchdown and an interception returned for a touchdown in the same game since 2009. They had 6 sacks. , 9 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles and 11 quarterback hits in the win.

Quarterback Breakdown: Kenny Pickett He was erratic in his second start of the season, but the problems were partly play-calling and partly Pickett’s own decision-making and mechanics. Pickett, who completed 15 of 30 passes for 222 yards with a touchdown and an interception, threw the interception on the first drive of the game and had a series of other throws in the first half that missed the mark. But he calmed down midway through the second quarter when he hit Jaylen Warren in space for a 30-yard gain and then connected with George Pickens calmly for a 71-yard score. While there were more encouraging moments from Pickett, he still lacked the consistency the Steelers need from their second-year quarterback. Just like last season, Pickett and the offense struggled to sustain drives.

Worrying trend: The Steelers spent the offseason proclaiming that the running game would be more complicated than it was a year ago. However, they recorded just one rushing yard in the first half against the Browns, the Steelers’ fewest rushing yards in the first half of a game over the past 45 seasons, according to Elias Sports Bureau. In the middle of the third quarter, Najee Harris he had gained just 4 yards on six attempts before breaking off consecutive first-down drives of 21 and 17 yards. The runs were a significant boost for Harris, who was booed early in the game when he attempted to jump the line and fumbled before reaching the goal line on a 2-point conversion. The Steelers finished with 55 rushing yards, with Harris gaining 43 yards on 10 carries while Jaylen Warren He added another 20 yards on six carries.

Impressive Next Generation Stat: Steelers wide receiver George Pickens gained 56.8 yards after the catch on his 71-yard touchdown in the second quarter, according to Next Gen Stats. Pickens was expected to gain just 21.4 yards after the catch. The score: Longest touchdown play by any Steeler from 84 yards. Chase Claypool touchdown in Week 2 of 2020, it was Pickens’ longest of his career, more than double his second-longest of 31 yards, which also came against the Browns in Week 18 last season. During training camp, Pickens said he wanted to emphasize his speed and show that he was capable of making more than highlight reel catches, and he more than did that with his touchdown. — Brooke Pryor

Next game: on Raiders (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)

cleveland browns

The Browns lost to the Steelers. They also lost one of their most important players.

All-Pro running back Chubb had to be carted off the field in the second quarter after Fitzpatrick collided with Chubb’s left knee.

The Browns offense struggled for much of the rest of the game. And Watson’s last attempt fell short. A season that once seemed so promising no longer seems so.

Describe the game in two words: Hit in the stomach. Cleveland has had some bad luck in Pittsburgh over the years, but Chubb’s injury has to rank among the worst moments in recent Browns history.

Worrying trend: Watson remains a shell of the quarterback who led the NFL in passing in 2020. He committed two costly facemask penalties, fumbled twice resulting in Pittsburgh touchdowns, and failed to make any key plays in the fourth quarter. . With Chubb’s injury, Cleveland’s season depends on Watson leading the offense, and there are no signs that he is capable of doing so at this point.

Buy with great performance: Jerome Ford He gained more yards (69) on a second-half run that set up a go-ahead touchdown than he had gained in his entire career combined (54 yards) before the game. Chubb is irreplaceable, but Ford showed that the Browns can still run the ball forward, as he finished with 106 yards on 16 carries. — Jake Trotter

Next game: vs. Titans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)