A highly anticipated rematch in the AFC North resulted in a Pittsburgh Steelers victory as they earned a 20-13 win over the Cleveland Browns.
When these teams played two weeks earlier, a Myles Garrett-led fight in the final seconds led to suspensions for three players and hefty fines for each side. This time, the drama was football-related as Devlin Hodges lifted the Steelers to victory along with another impressive defensive showing.
The rookie quarterback has now played a key role in three wins this year as Pittsburgh improved to 7-5 despite a variety of injuries to the offense.
Cleveland (5-7) couldn't build off its recent success and might need a miracle to get into the playoffs after lofty preseason expectations.
Notable Fantasy Stats
- Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns: 196 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Nick Chubb, RB, Browns: 58 rushing yards, 21 receiving yards
- Kareem Hunt, RB, Browns: 46 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, 1 TD
- Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns: 76 receiving yards
- Devlin Hodges, QB, Steelers: 212 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Benny Snell Jr., RB, Steelers: 63 rushing yards, 1 TD
- James Washington, WR, Steelers: 111 receiving yards, 1 TD
James Washington Helps Efficient Duck Hodges
Whether it's Mason Rudolph or Devlin Hodges under center, the Steelers need more help from their pass-catchers.
Enter James Washington, who made key plays for the second game in a row with JuJu Smith-Schuster unavailable.
After totaling 98 yards and a touchdown in last week's low-scoring win, the receiver came up big again Sunday with some huge catches down the field.
His best effort came on a first-half touchdown where he showed great concentration after being hit early:
The receiver came down with some more big plays for his first-career 100-yard effort:
This was enough to help Hodges, who made smart plays throughout the day for his efficient 95.7 quarterback rating.
Aside from a fourth-quarter interception, the quarterback did everything the Steelers needed from him to come away with another big win.
Along with a strong game from Snell, the Steelers offense was filled with players who were relative unknowns coming into the year. However, they all did exactly what was needed to secure a victory.
Browns Offensive Line Can't Protect Baker Mayfield
The biggest question mark for the Browns throughout the season was a problem once again for Cleveland.
Pittsburgh's pass-rushers were able to consistently get to Baker Mayfield, slowing down the offense in key situations.
Mayfield was sacked five times, including a key fumble in the third quarter:
Pittsburgh totaled seven quarterback hits in the game, preventing the Cleveland offense from getting much rhythm after the first three series.
This continues a trend for the Steelers, who have had a dominant defensive front this year:
The heavy pressure then forced a game-sealing interception by Joe Haden:
The lack of protection has been a problem for Cleveland for most of the year with Mayfield feeling the effects. He suffered a wrist injury at the end of the first half that might have been contributed to his struggles, but the bottom line is scoring just three points after halftime won't get it done.
Kareem Hunt had a big game and other skill players like Nick Chubb, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are immensely talented, but it doesn't matter if the quarterback doesn't have time to get them the ball.
The Browns will stay in the division for Week 14 with a home matchup against the struggling Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers will be on the other side of the country for a road game against the Arizona Cardinals.