Despite an up-and-down day from rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Dustin Hopkins’ 34-yard field goal in the final seconds gave Cleveland a huge victory.
CLEVELAND — It seems like Browns games are just meant to be roller coasters of emotions at this point, and Sunday was no different. Not with the hated Pittsburgh Steelers in town.
There were moments were it looked like Cleveland would cruise to victory, followed by moments of despair and utter confusion. But when the dust settled, the Browns came on top again, prevailing 13-10 on Dustin Hopkins’ 34-yard field goal with just two seconds remaining.
It was Hopkins’ second game-winning kick in as many weeks, as he also nailed a 40-yarder to help Cleveland beat the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. More importantly, it improved the Browns’ record to 7-3, putting them all alone in second place in the AFC North.
Just days after learning starting quarterback Deshaun Watson would be lost for the season with a shoulder injury, the Browns inserted rookie backup Dorian Thompson-Robinson in for his second career start. The fifth-rounder’s performance this time around was better than his first, but there were still noticeable growing pains, as he completed just 55.8% of his passes for 165 yards (3.8 yards per attempt) and an interception for a paltry passer rating of 54.9.
Still, it looked for quite a while like it wouldn’t matter, as Cleveland raced out to a 10-0 lead thanks to a Jerome Ford touchdown and 25-yard field goal by Hopkins. Jim Schwartz’s also stifled Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett, who himself was held to a mere 93 yards on 27 attempts.
But in the second half, the Steelers (6-4) relied on their run game, getting a 74-yard TD from Jaylen Warren on their first series out of the break. Warren finished the afternoon with 129 yards on nine carries, while the Browns rushing attack combined for only 96 yards on 29 touches.
Cleveland’s offense struggled mightily over the final 30 minutes, gaining only 58 yards over their initial six series with five punts and Thompson-Robinson’s pick. Pittsburgh wasn’t much better, but Mike Tomlin’s squad did get a 62-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter that ended with Chris Boswell’s game-tying 28-yard field goal.
Fortunately, the defense managed to keep the Steelers from scoring again, with Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garrett leading the way again with a pair of sacks. With 1:18 left in regulation, “DTR” and the offense got one last chance before overtime, and the young quarterback finally delivered with three strikes to Elijah Moore, Amari Cooper, and David Njoku. Cleveland found itself firmly in field-goal range, where the always reliable Hopkins nailed it with just two seconds left.
The Steelers did get an opportunity from their own 25, but Diontae Johnson was tackled after taking a lateral from George Pickens. The win improved Kevin Stefanski’s career record against Pittsburgh to 4-5, and while it may not seem like anything special, it’s the most wins for any Browns coach in the rivalry matchup since Bill Belichick, who went 4-9 from 1991-95.
However, the highlight of the day came after the final whistle, when Stefanski awarded the game ball to “Voice of the Browns” and 3News sports anchor Jim Donovan. Jimmy returned to his play-by-play duties Sunday following a 10-week leave of absence to undergo treatment for leukemia, and he will be back at WKYC Studios on Monday.
Meanwhile, Cleveland is also off to its best start since 2020, the last time the team made the playoffs. Up next is a two-game road trip, starting with a matchup with the Denver Broncos next Sunday.
https://www.wkyc.com/article/sports/nfl/browns/cleveland-browns-beat-pittsburgh-steelers-13-10-dustin-hopkins/95-281ff912-0b85-41da-a944-b24e8d6e67f2 Browns overcome offensive struggles to beat Steelers 13-10