It was another opening day loss for the Cleveland Browns but things felt different for the first time in awhile.
The Browns dropped the season opener to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18 in a game that honestly came down to the very end.
Antonio Brown was too much to handle for the Browns secondary as he had 11 catches for 182 yards. He caught every pass that was thrown his way.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 262 yards, two touchdowns (both to tight end Jesse James) and an interception as he improved his overall record against Cleveland to 22-2.
Rookie DeShone Kizer had a promising debut for the Browns and gave the fan base some hope for the future as the potential franchise quarterback. He went 20 of 30 for 222 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He also ran for 17 yards and a touchdown.
He did take seven sacks and a costly interception in the third quarter were some things he needs to work on but overall it was a solid debut for the second round pick.
His top target was Corey Coleman who was looking to rebound from a tough rookie season. Coleman finished with five catches for 53 yards and a touchdown which pulled the game within 5 points late in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Crowell punched it in for two to make it a one score game.
On the defensive side, Cleveland shut down Pittsburgh’s running attack for just 35 yards on the ground. Carl Nassib picked up the lone sack for the Browns and Derrick Kindred picked off Roethlisberger for his first career interception.
Cleveland’s front seven looked as good as advertised in the preseason but the secondary has some concerns going forward after failing to contain Brown.
The special teams had as bad of a start as you could possibly having. A miscue by rookie Matthew Dayes led to Britton Colquitt getting his punt blocked which led ultimately to the difference in the game as Pittsburgh scored a touchdown on the block.
Isaiah Crowell also had a troubling start to the 2017. only gaining 33 yards on just 17 carries. In a contract year, Crowell is going to have to step up or it’s going to be a long year for the Browns offense and Crowell won’t get paid by Cleveland or any team in the NFL.
Next week the Browns travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens who shut out the Bengals 20-0. Pittsburgh will host the Minnesota Vikings in their home opener.