(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA -- Without their head coach, left guard, and offensive line coach, the Cleveland Browns traveled to Heinz Field to do the unthinkable, win their first road playoff game since the year 1969. In the first play from scrimmage, a botched snap flew over the head of Roethlisberger and into the Pittsburgh end zone, as Karl Joseph fell on it to get the Browns on the board early. The Steelers snowballed downward quickly, going down 28-0 in the first quarter. Despite a second half push, the Browns fend off the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the game by the final score of 48-37.
Following the first drive of the game that ended in a quick Browns touchdown, Ben Roethlisberger throws an interception to MJ Stewart Jr who took the ball deep into Pittsburgh territory. The Browns made the Steelers pay with a 40 yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry to jump to a two score lead. Baker got the ball back after a Steelers punt and drove right back down the field. Alex Van Pelt dialed up a 10 yard touchdown run to Kareem Hunt to go up by 21 points. The red-hot Cleveland Browns offense found the end zone for the fourth time in the opening quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run by Kareem Hunt, his second touchdown of the game.
The Cleveland Browns had the next man up mentality as they went into Sunday without many key pieces of the team. An offensive line that did not have All Pro guard Joel Bitonio saw more injuries throughout the game on Sunday night, losing Jack Conklin and Michael Dunn. First year guard out of Northwestern University Blake Hance met quarterback Baker Mayfield for the first time in the locker room right before the game, and ended up playing left guard in the closing minutes of the wildcard matchup.
Despite giving up an eye-opening 501 passing yards, the Browns defense stepped up with four turnovers, all coming by way of interception from Roethlisberger. Browns middle linebacker Sione Takitaki sealed the game ona QB spy, intercepting a Roethlisberger pass down the middle of the field.
Baker Mayfield completed 21 of 34 passes for 263 yards, tossing 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Nick Chubb ran for 76 yards on 18 carries, and Kareem Hunt ran for 48 yards on 8 touches, including two touchdowns. Jarvis Landry led all Browns in receiving with 8 catches for 92 total yards and a touchdown. Austin Hooper roped in 7 catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.
The Browns secure their first Playoff win since 1994 and will prepare for the almighty Kansas City Chiefs. Cleveland and Kansas City will square off in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs on Sunday, kickoff set for 3:05 pm ET at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Check out highlights from the Browns Playoff Victory below!