Fri Sep 23 1:37am ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) celebrates a first down on a quarterback sneak during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, top, leaps into the end zone for a touchdown during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett scrambles for a short gain during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Cleveland Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr., center, is taken from the field after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. (5) is checked by a trainer after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. Walker left the game. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) rushes Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) but can't get around James Daniels (78) during the first half of an NFL football game in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) dives into the end zone for a touchdown during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Cavaliers' Darius Garland, left, and Donovan Mitchell celebrate a Cleveland Browns touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) celebrates a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) scores on a pass from Jacoby Brissett with Pittsburgh Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds (34) defending during the first half of an NFL football game in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris, right, gets around Cleveland Browns safety Grant Delpit during the first half of an NFL football game in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) leaps out of a tackle attempt by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (25) during the first half of an NFL football game in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett follows through on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/David Richard)
CLEVELAND (AP) An unimaginable collapse still fresh in their minds, the Browns managed to avoid a second one in four days.
Jacoby Brissett threw two touchdown passes, Nick Chubb ran for a score and Cleveland bounced back from its epic meltdown by finishing off the rival Pittsburgh Steelers 29-17 on Thursday night.
''We had the right men in that room to be able to get past it,'' Brissett said, ''and I think we answered that call. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. The guys answered the bell.''
The Browns (2-1) built a nine-point lead early in the fourth on Chubb's 1-yard run and then held on for dear life.
The Steelers (1-2) pulled within 23-17 on Chris Boswell's 34-yard field goal with 1:48 left before Pittsburgh attempted an onside kick. But unlike in Sunday's 31-30 loss, when the New York Jets overcame a 13-point deficit in the final 1:55 helped by a recovery, the Browns batted the ball out of bounds.
For a split second, it looked like Sunday all over again.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was asked what he was thinking as the ball bounced around near Pittsburgh's sideline. He paused for six seconds before answering.
''A lot,'' he said.
Cleveland fans could finally exhale when cornerback Denzel Ward fell on a Steelers fumble in the end zone on the final play for a meaningless touchdown.
Brissett connected with Amari Cooper and David Njoku for TDs, and finished 21 of 31 for 220 yards. The 29-year-old had his second straight solid game as he fills in while Deshaun Watson serves an 11-game suspension.
Chubb had 113 yards and pushed and twisted across the goal line on fourth-and-goal with 9:29 left to put the Browns ahead 23-14.
Mitch Trubisky and the Steelers' stagnant offense showed signs of life in the first half, but bogged down after halftime, punting on their first three possessions while gaining just 54 yards.
Criticized for not throwing deep the first two weeks, Trubisky launched a few long balls but didn't connect nearly enough.
''I think Mitch made some plays, but we all collectively came up short,'' said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who said he has no plans to switch to rookie QB Kenny Pickett. ''Winning is our business. I wasn't looking to be impressed, I was looking to win the game.''
Pittsburgh's defense is missing star end T.J. Watt, but tackle Cameron Heyward said that wasn't the issue.
''When you try to arm-tackle Nick Chubb, he's going to make you pay,'' Heyward said. ''We need to do a lot better.''
The win smoothed over a rough few days for Cleveland.
Sunday's debacle was followed by Myles Garrett criticizing fans for booing the Browns as they left the field, and a fan was arrested on charges he threw a plastic bottle in the direction of owner Jimmy Haslam on the sideline.
But there was little drama this time, just a win over their hated neighbors from Pennsylvania.
''That's not an easy thing to bounce back from,'' Stefanski said. ''We talked about it on Sunday. We talked about it on Monday. What I'm proud of with those guys is you can't let a loss linger, and we won't let this win linger either. But I'm proud of how they responded. You've got to be resilient.''
Although there was little time to recover, Garrett was confident the Browns would be able to shake off Sunday's loss.
''I didn't have a doubt in my mind knowing this team and the guys who are on it,'' he said. ''I know everybody was anxious to get back on that field and get that taste out of our mouths and play a complete football game, and that's what we did.
''Everybody did their job and all the teams came together to make it a really special win.''
Rookie Cade York's 34-yard field goal gave the Browns a 16-14 lead in the third quarter, when Cleveland lost four players, including starting linebackers Anthony Walker Jr. and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, to injuries.
Brissett's 7-yard TD pass to Njoku put the Browns up 13-7 with 8:58 left before halftime. But for the second straight week York missed an extra point.
Trubisky led the Steelers on a 75-yard scoring drive - 51 yards coming on the ground - before the QB rolled right and scored from the 1. Boswell's PAT put Pittsburgh ahead 14-13.
Steelers rookie receiver George Pickens expressed frustration about not getting the ball during a loss to New England last week, saying he was open ''90% of the time.'' He wasn't joking, either.
Trubisky finally hit him with a long ball, but it took a spectacular, one-handed catch by Pickens for a 36-yard gain.
Garrett failed to record a sack and remains just shy of Clay Matthews' team record of 62. The Browns All-Pro defensive end was double-teamed, chipped and was credited with just assisted tackles.
Cavaliers All-Star guards Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland served as the Browns' honorary captains. Mitchell, recently acquired in a trade from Utah, smashed a fake guitar during pregame festivities.
Steelers: CB Ahkello Witherspoon (right hamstring) limped off in the third quarter and didn't come back.
Browns: Walker was carted off with his left leg immobilized. Stefanski said Walker has a sprained knee and will undergo further tests. Walker appeared to get hurt when he was bent back awkwardly trying to fight off a block. ... Owusu-Koramoah (groin) didn't return. ... LT Jedrick Wills Jr. (knee) went out briefly but returned. ... DT Taven Bryan (hamstring) also was hurt in the third. ... S Ronnie Harrison injured his hamstring during warmups and didn't play.
Steelers: Host the New York Jets on Oct. 2.
Browns: Visit Atlanta on Oct. 2.
Atlanta Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 3.
Fantasy Spin: Patterson is averaging 5.9 yards per carry and ranks fourth in the league in rushing at 340 yards, so there is no question his absence will be a big one for the Falcons. With Damien Williams also on IR, rookie Tyler Allgeier will almost certainly be asked to carry most of the load for the next couple of weeks. Caleb Huntley also figures to play a prominent role after rushing for 56 yards and his first NFL touchdown on 10 carries in Week 4. Allgeier should be considered a strong flex option with RB2 upside and Huntley a priority stash in deeper leagues.
Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (knee) suffered a torn ACL in the Week 4 loss to the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders and his 2022 season is over, according to a source. Williams came into the year as a popular breakout candidate in his second NFL season, but after four weeks, no touchdowns and a torn ACL, his sophomore season comes to a disappointing end. He can now be dropped in single-season leagues. With Williams now done, the Broncos will turn to some combination of Melvin Gordon III and Mike Boone. Gordon had a disastrous Week 4 with three carries for eight yards and a lost fumble that was returned for a touchdown. While this could be another frustrating timeshare, Gordon should have more fantasy upside as a potential RB2, but Boone is also worth waiver-wire consideration in deeper leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (forearm) didn't suffer a major forearm injury in the Week 4 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and has a chance to play in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, cornerback Avonte Maddox (ankle), who suffered an ankle sprain last week, is up in the air for Week 5, according to sources. Maddox could miss another game, but his injury isn't long-term. It's good news for the Eagles secondary as they try to remain the only undefeated team in the league heading into a matchup against Arizona. If Slay is able to play, it will be bad news for Cardinals No. 1 receiver Marquise Brown. The Eagles defense/special teams has been a must-start fantasy unit this season.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters on Monday that he's sticking with Baker Mayfield as his quarterback after the Week 4 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Rhule added that Sam Darnold (ankle) is still not ready to return from his high-ankle sprain. Darnold reportedly isn't close to coming off Injured Reserve, so the struggling Mayfield will have a little more leash as the starter under center. The 27-year-old has gone 64-for-117 for 747 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in his first four games with the Panthers. Mayfield is averaging a career-low 6.4 yards per attempt and 186.8 yards per game. He'll remain a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues going forward, and if he's still struggling when Darnold is healthy enough to return, the Panthers could be compelled to make a switch.
Long-time Baltimore Ravens standout cornerback Jimmy Smith is retiring on Monday after 11 seasons with the team, the Ravens announced. Smith was originally drafted by Baltimore in the first round (27th overall) in 2011 out of the University of Colorado, and he spent all 11 seasons of his NFL career with the Ravens. In total, he racked up 374 tackles (324 solo), eight tackles for loss, three QB hits, 14 interceptions (two for touchdowns), 74 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (one touchdown) and three sacks in 128 regular season games (90 starts). The 34-year-old played in only 10 games (two starts) in 2021 and had 18 tackles (15 solo) and three passes defensed.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne had just two receptions on three targets for 23 yards in the 27-24 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 4. He also added one carry for a 15-yard gain. On the bright side, Bourne played 45 percent of the team's offensive snaps, which was his highest mark in four games with Jakobi Meyers (knee) missing his second straight game. Still, it wasn't much action for the 27-year-old considering Meyers' absence, and with quarterback Mac Jones (ankle) and backup Brian Hoyer (head) now hurt, Bourne's fantasy appeal will take another hit if rookie third-stringer Bailey Zappe is forced to start in Week 5 against the Detroit Lions.
Indianapolis Colts LB Shaquille Leonard (concussion) will be out for Week 5.
Fantasy Spin: He had just two tackles before exiting his first game of the year. Zaire Franklin will continue to get run in his absence and is a flex option.
The New England Patriots are expected to sign free-agent linebacker Jamie Collins, according to sources. It remains to be seen if Collins will join the practice squad or the active roster, but he's expected to join the team in some capacity as they look for improved linebacker play. This will be Collins' fourth different stint with New England after they initially drafted him in the second round in 2013 out of South Miss. In 10 games with the Patriots in 2021, he had 20 tackles (11 solo), three tackles for loss, an interception and three passes defensed. The 32-year-old made the Pro Bowl back in 2015 and had over 100 combined tackles as recently as 2020 in 14 starts for the Detroit Lions.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (ankle) is now eligible to come off Injured Reserve, but he's not close to returning from the left high-ankle sprain that he suffered in late August, according to a source. In the words of the source, it's "going to be a while." It's good news for Baker Mayfield, who has underwhelmed in his first four games as the starter for Carolina. Mayfield has completed a career-low 54.7 percent of his 117 pass attempts for 747 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions through four games. It's not as if Darnold would be any better, but when he's finally healthy again, he could put some heat on Darnold if he hasn't improved by then. The 25-year-old Darnold should remain on the waiver wire in all single-year leagues.
Buffalo Bills veteran wide receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle) suffered a broken ankle in the Week 4 win over the Baltimore Ravens, according to a source. Crowder will have additional tests to see what other damage he might have, but he's now out indefinitely. It's a tough break for the 29-year-old slot man, who had just six catches on 13 targets for 60 yards in four games before his injury. He wasn't a realistic option for starting fantasy lineups with Isaiah McKenzie the starter in the slot in 2022. Crowder isn't a must-stash in deep single-season formats. McKenzie should see more targets as a result, and it should also mean more work for rookie Khalil Shakir, but don't expect much out of the youngster in redraft leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders proved in Week 4 that he can be a strong fantasy option in 2022, running for a career-high 134 yards in the 29-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was the first time in his four-year career that the 25-year-old reached 27 carries in a game. In the first three weeks of the season, only one RB had 27-plus carries in a game. "Miles Sanders is our No. 1 back! There ain't no question about it!" head coach Nick Sirianni said. Sanders is playing the best football of his career and has become a must-start in fantasy lineups for the 4-0 Eagles. Through four games, he has 72 carries for 356 yards and three touchdowns without turning the ball over. Fantasy managers shouldn't expect 27 carries every week, but Sanders has proven to be up to the task in one of the best offenses in the league.
Free-agent SS Landon Collins (Commanders) is visiting the New York Giants Monday, Oct. 3.
Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold (ankle) is eligible to come off the Reserve/Injured list, but he's not close to returning from a high-ankle sprain.
Free-agent LB Jamie Collins (Patriots) is likely to re-sign with the New England Patriots Monday, Oct. 3.
Buffalo Bills WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) suffered a broken ankle in Week 4 and will be out indefinitely. He'll undergo tests for potential other damage.
Fantasy Spin: He only had six grabs for 60 yards this year and hasn't been worth owning in fantasy.
Former Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith will sign a one-day contract with the team Monday, Oct. 3, to retire with the club.
Seattle Seahawks tight end Noah Fant was coming off a four-catch performance last week, but was barely seen on Sunday. The 24-year-old hauled in one of his two targets for two yards and a touchdown in the Week 4 win over the Detroit Lions. The Seahawks have struggled to get Fant consistently involved in this offense. Will Dissly is the better fantasy option between the two tight ends. It's hard to imagine Fant having much streaming value against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5.
Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly made the most of his chances during the Week 4 matchup against the Detroit Lions. The 26-year-old hauled in all four of his targets for 39 yards and a touchdown in the win. He now has three touchdowns in four games, which is somewhat saving his fantasy value. Although, he won't be anything more than a touchdown-dependent option against the New Orleans Saints defense in Week 5.
Free-agent safety Landon Collins is making a trip to visit the New York Giants on Monday. The 28-year-old has spent each of the last three seasons with Washington. Before that, Collins made three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro team as a member of the Giants. He finished with 81 tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions through 13 games last season. Clearly, Collins still has something left in the tank. The Giants could use an upgrade on defense and Collins might seriously consider joining the now 3-1 Giants roster.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle) was believed to have possibly suffered a high-ankle sprain during Sunday's contest. Luckily, the tests are coming back and the organization doesn't believe this is a long term issue. He could still miss time, but hopefully it won't be anything significant. He rushed 20 times for 42 yards during the Week 4 loss to the Tennessee Titans. It remains to be seen if he'll be healthy enough to suit up for Thursday Night Football against the Denver Broncos. Otherwise, Nyheim Hines could be seeing an increased workload.