Steelers fans chanted “Fire Canada” at offensive coordinator Matt Canada late in Monday night’s game. Despite only 255 yards of offense, though, the Steelers didn’t lose.
The defense bailed out the Steelers in a 26-22 victory over the Browns. Both teams now are 1-1.
The Steelers sacked Deshaun Watson six times and hit him 11. They forced four turnovers, two of which they returned for touchdowns.
They so frustrated Watson that he got an unnecessary roughness penalty when he grabbed Kwon Alexander by the facemask and tossed him out of bounds, and Watson somehow avoided an ejection when he pushed an official’s arm. A few plays later, Watson was penalized for a facemask penalty.
Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith started the game with a 30-yard pick-six of Watson on the first play. He gave the Steelers the lead for good with 6:58 remaining in the fourth quarter when he had a strip-sack of Watson that T.J. Watt returned 16 yards for his first career touchdown.
Highsmith finished with seven tackles, a sack, two quarterback hits, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and an interception for a touchdown, while Watt had four tackles, one sack, four quarterback hits, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
The game ended with controversy as Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. mauled Donovan Peoples-Jones before the ball arrived on a fourth-and-nine play at the Pittsburgh 49 with 1:05 left. Officials did not indicate the ball was uncatchable, though the pass was high.
It was a rough day for both offenses.
The Steelers gained only 255 yards and scored only 12 points on 12 possessions (not counting end of half and end of game possessions), and 71 of those yards came on one play. Kenny Pickett hit George Pickens for a 71-yard score with 6:05 to go in the second quarter.
Pickett finished 15-of-30 for 222 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, with Pickens catching four passes for 127 yards.
The Browns lost leading rusher Nick Chubb in the first half as he was carted off with a gruesome knee injury. Jerome Ford rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries in his absence.
Watson was 22-of-40 for 235 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and Amari Cooper caught seven passes for 90 yards.