After 17 years without a playoff berth, 25 years without a playoff win, and a whole bunch of losing in between, the Cleveland Browns finally broke their curse and won a playoff game in the sweetest of circumstances on Sunday night.
The Browns defeated their long-time rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, by a 48-37 final score on the road at Heinz Field to win a game in which they were a heavy underdog against the AFC North champions.
The Browns overcame all odds, including missing head coach Kevin Stefanski, all-pro guard Joel Bitonio, and top cornerback Denzel Ward due to positive COVID-19 tests, to claim a win that their fans will not soon forget.
Cleveland nearly put the game out of reach in the first quarter, taking a 28-0 lead that started on the first snap of the game when an errant snap led to the Browns recovering the ball in the Steelers’ endzone for an early touchdown.
They went into halftime leading 35-10 thanks in large part to their turnover luck, which saw them intercept Ben Roethlisberger four times. However, the Steelers made a game of it in the second half and trailed by only 12 points at the end of the third quarter.
Nonetheless, the Browns did enough to hang on to win after a Nick Chubb touchdown put the game nearly out of reach halfway through the fourth quarter.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield stole the show, completing 21 of 34 passes for 263 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt also got in on the fun, scoring 1 and 2 touchdowns, respectively.
The Browns will now look to topple the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in a game in which they will be a huge underdog once again next Sunday.