Don’t look now, but the Pittsburgh Steelers may have some life left in them, after all.
Buoyed by the return of T.J. Watt, the Steelers snapped a two-game losing streak and won for just the second time in eight games when they took down the New Orleans Saints, 20-10.
The win lifted Pittsburgh into a tie with the Cleveland Browns at the bottom of the AFC North division with identical 3-6 records. The Browns suffered a 39-17 humiliation at the hands of the Miami Dolphins.
Baltimore continues to lead the division with a record of 6-3, with Cincinnati a game back at 5-4. Both teams were off this week.
Pittsburgh outlast Saints
Watt’s return energized the entire Pittsburgh defense, with probably the biggest beneficiary being outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, who recorded both of the Steelers’ sacks. Watt finished with four tackles and a quarterback hit.
Pittsburgh’s offense came to life, as well, as a revived running game allowed the Steelers to hold the ball for nearly 39 minutes. Pittsburgh ran for 217 yards against the Saints (99 by Najee Harris and 51 by quarterback Kenny Pickett) and didn’t turn the ball over for the third time this season. The Steelers are 3-0 in those games.
New Orlean quarterback Andy Dalton connected on 17 of 27 for 174 yards with a touchdown, but it was his two late interceptions that cost the Saints and opportunity at a victory. The first set up a Pickett touchdown run and the second, which came one series after a botched fourth-down quarterback sneak, allowed the Steelers to seal it.
Browns stumble again
Things just keep going downhill for Cleveland, and particularly for a defense that was expected to be one of the better units in the NFL.
The Browns surrendered nearly 300 yards passing to the Dolphins while recording just a single sack, and gave up another 195 yards on the ground as Miami improved its record to 7-3.
Cleveland managed a touchdown on its opening possession of the game, but the Dolphins responded with a touchdown of their own, and ran off 24 straight points to put the game out of reach.
Jacoby Brissett, who was sacked three times, completed 22 of 35 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown for the Browns. Nick Chubb had 11 carries for 63 yards, including a 33-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland converted just 5 of 12 third down attempts and managed a season-low 113 rushing yards. Amari Cooper who had 131 yards receiving in a victory over Cincinnati, was held to three catches for 32 yards.