As the heavens rained down upon FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday, the Browns’ troubles were washed away. For the first time in 624 days, the Browns completed a football game without being the losers. A franchise plagued by losing may now be entering a new chapter after not losing to the Steelers, 21-21.
Leading the way to triumph was quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who completed 37.5 percent of his passes for 197 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while showing the resiliency he took from the Buffalo Bills as he ensured the game would go to overtime.
Browns mount a comeback to tie the game, but Browns QB Tyrod Taylor throws an interception to Pittsburgh Steelers DB Cameron Sutton in the final moments of regulation. This game is going to OVERTIME! #OT #Browns #Steelers #PITvsCLE #NFL pic.twitter.com/ZB95uRrc4J— Swapty Sports (@SwaptySports) September 9, 2018
Defensively, the Browns were exceptional. Defensive end Myles Garrett had two sacks, rookie cornerback Denzel Ward had two picks, and the Browns forced six turnovers. It’s the 137th time since 1999 that any team has had a turnover margin of plus-5 or better, and the 133rd time such a team has gone on to not lose.
The Browns are +5 in takeaways today. Since the Browns returned to the NFL, teams with a turnover margin of +5 or better in a game are 132-4-1. The Browns are responsible for two of those losses and the tie.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 9, 2018
Players were jubilant about the result as they left the field.
#Browns DB Damarious Randall as he walked off the field, “Five turnovers for a tie? A tie?!”— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 9, 2018
The Browns stifled a division rival they came tantalizingly close to not losing against in Week 1 last season. In the process, they may have further fueled internal rifts in the famously volatile Pittsburgh organization.
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) September 9, 2018
The Browns were criticized for retaining head coach Hue Jackson in the offseason, but the team’s comeback in the fourth quarter and overtime proved the strength of his squad. Taylor threw the backbreaking interception at the end of the fourth quarter, their punt returner chose not to return a punt to set up field position in overtime, and a field goal to secure a win—the land beyond the losing mountains that the Cleveland ancestors speak of—was blocked with seconds left. Jackson’s unit overcame all of that adversity.
Jackson, now 1-31-1 in his Cleveland tenure, has been accused of not instilling the correct mentality in his team. On Sunday, the Browns proved everyone wrong by playing to not lose.