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Cleveland Browns: 4 takeaways from win in Week 3 vs. Steelers on TNF

Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacoby Brissett, Nick Chubb, David Njoku

The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 29-17 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Here are some key takeaways from the Browns’ Week 3 Thursday Night Football game.

Four days after their heartbreaking collapse to the New York Jets, the Browns bounced back by upsetting their longtime rival at home thanks to Nick Chubb and a strong second half by their defense. The Browns climbed to 2-1, while Pittsburgh dropped to 1-2.

Here are our four takeaways after the Browns’ inspiring Week 3 bounce-back win vs. the Steelers.

4. Redeemed Browns defense

The tension of Sunday’s late-game defeat to the Jets didn’t go away when the defense took the field against the Steelers. Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky led the Steelers into Browns territory on three of the first four possessions, scoring twice and missing a field goal.

Pittsburgh, in fact, led at the half, 14-13. The Browns’ defense, however, had things under control in the last two quarters.

The Steelers were restricted to 111 total yards and a field goal in the second half. Cleveland forced three consecutive three-and-outs from Pittsburgh and closed the game with a score on the final play when the Steelers fumbled their lateral sequence into the end zone from the 4-yard line.

The Browns had been hoping for that kind of closeout for the past two weeks. They really needed it to be tight on Thursday to secure the victory. Thankfully, the defense didn’t falter after a tough first half.

3. The Chief came to play!

David Njoku perhaps just had the greatest game of his six-year career in Cleveland.

The large number of catches backed it up. Of course, there were other times during the game when Njoku was wide open and tough to stop, especially when the ball was in his hands. At one point in the contest, he caught three consecutive receptions and moved the chains on five of his nine catches. His touchdown was a flawless execution of a play that the Browns have always hoped to execute with Njoku. It was a 7-yard catch in which he leaped over a defender and snatched a deliberately high throw from Jacoby Brissett.

Remember that Njoku had only seven and 32-yard receptions in the first two games. Sure, his services as a blocker were important for the offense. However, the passing game needed to utilize him more to really unleash his full potential. It was a good thing that the Browns used screen plays and threw blockers in his way in this game.

2. Jacoby Brissett is steady as a rock

The Cleveland Browns really could not have asked for more from Jacoby Brissett. He has performed admirably over the first three weeks of the season. One may even say he has really exceeded everyone’s expectations.

With Brissett under center, the offense looked seamless and in control for the second straight week. He protected the ball and found ways to get it to the best playmakers. In fact, he helped the Browns score in all four quarters. The team never looked sluggish during the game, thanks in large part to Brissett’s ease and confidence.

He completed 21-of-31 passing attempts for a total of 220 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Brissett looked like a quarterback who understood exactly where he wanted to throw each play. He was also helped by a solid offensive line and a good run game that produced 171 rushing yards to keep the Steelers’ defense off balance and guessing.

1. Nick Chubb is NFL’s RB1

Speaking of the Browns’ run game, there’s no way we can talk about it and leave out Nick Chubb.

Chubb needed this kind of performance. Keep in mind that their implosion against the Jets opened the door for criticism from all directions. Chubb was not immune to that, but this victory over the Steelers should shut those critics up.

Chubb was so dominant he had worn the Steelers down by late Thursday evening. On 23 carries, he gained 113 yards. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry and was the motor of Cleveland’s ground game.

Chubb scored a touchdown, too — his fourth of the season already.

Maybe he had some second thoughts about how the game ended against the Jets four days ago, but this time, he had no second thoughts about this big win over the Steelers.