Nevertheless, led by superstars Baker Mayfield and Myles Garrett — and helped by common Steelers errors — the Browns raced right into a 28-Zero first quarter lead, ultimately profitable 48-37 within the first spherical of the NFL playoffs. Now it is the Browns’ flip to dish out the exhausting knocks.
“They’ve had a lot adversity by way of schedule modifications — I do know everyone has had adversity and I’m not making an attempt to say we had any extra adversity than anyone else — however on the finish of the day, this was a troublesome week and a playoff week, however they by no means batted a watch.”
‘The Browns is the Browns’
Browns followers and gamers alike had been understandably elated when the workforce secured their first playoff beginning since 2002 final Sunday.
Nevertheless, for a fanbase so accustomed to essentially the most heartbreaking eventualities — with painful losses and devasting accidents — it was maybe unsurprising when head coach Kevin Stefanski and All-Professional guard Joel Bitonio examined constructive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, that means they had been ineligible to take part in Sunday’s sport.
However the Browns emphatically put these demons to mattress and after scoring a landing on the primary snap of the sport after an errant snap sailed over Ben Roethlisberger’s head, they raced right into a 28-point lead, the largest first-quarter lead in NFL playoff historical past.
The Browns protection intercepted Roethlisberger 4 occasions, together with twice within the first quarter, because the Steelers’ battled a double-digit lead for everything of the night time. Actually, Roethlisberger grew to become the primary quarterback ever to throw 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in a playoff sport.
Mayfield completed with 263 yards and three touchdowns within the first playoff sport of his profession as, regardless of the Steelers mounting a second-half comeback, the 25-year-old quarterback managed to steer the Browns to their historic win.
As Browns gamers ran off the sphere in Pittsburgh, they mocked Juju Smith-Schuster’s pre-game feedback, with Mayfield yelling “The Browns going to be the Browns!” on his approach to the locker-room.
Whereas Stefanski could not be there to have fun in particular person, he — and different lacking gamers — had been concerned within the celebrations just about by way of Zoom.
“Like I stated final week, it’s simply the stepping stone to the place we ultimately wish to go. For lots of men, it was an enormous win — my first playoff win, for starters — however no one right here is happy but.”
The Browns will now journey to Kansas Metropolis to face the No. 1 seed and defending Tremendous Bowl champions Kansas Metropolis Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium within the AFC Divisional Spherical subsequent Sunday.