Pittsburgh equaled an all-time high by accepting 28 points in the first quarter of its loss to Cleveland
The Pittsburgh Steelers came as wide favorites to beat the Cleveland Browns in the American Conference Wild Card Round, however, the story on the field was very different from what was expected.
According to the “Football Power Index” of ESPN, Pittsburgh had a 67.9 percent chance of winning the game while the sportsbooks had them as favorites by 6 points.
But the opposite happened, with a nightmare start after the center Maurkice Pouncey he missed the serve and the ball went over the quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who could not prevent Karl Joseph he will recover it in the diagonals to score the first touchdown at 14 seconds of play.
In the next offensive series, Roethlisberger threw an interception – the first of four – to MJ Stewart Jr. and the Browns capitalized on the delivery with a touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield a Jarvis Landry.
Before the end of the first quarter, with the Browns leading 21-0, Roethlisberger had his second delivery when Sheldrick Redwine stole a pass addressed to Diontae Johnson, Cleveland’s response was a scoring carry of Kareem Hunt to stand 28-0.
Roethlisberger’s third interception came with 10:11 left in the second quarter as he sought out Vance McDonald but, after a deflection, the ball ended up in the hands of the defensive end Porter Gustin. In the last quarter, Roethlisberger was intercepted by Sione Takitaki to seal defeat. This is the first time in Roethlisberger’s career that he has thrown four interceptions in a playoff game..
Roethlisberger finished the game with 47 completions for 501 yards, becoming the leader in passing attempts in a playoff game, surpassing Steve Young’s 65 passes, and he became the second quarterback in history to exceed 500 yards in a postseason game, behind 505 yards of Tom Brady vs. the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
However, this collapse of the Steelers was only a confirmation of their terrible season finale in which they lost five of their last six games after starting the season 11-0. After unexpectedly losing unbeaten in Week 13 to Washington (23-17), PIttsburgh fell to the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Browns twice, their only win was in Week 16, 28-24, over the Indianapolis Colts.
The 28 points scored by Cleveland are the most in NFL history since their 1970 merger and matched that set by the Oakland Raiders who scored 28 points against the Houston Oilers in the first quarter of their 56-7 victory on May 21. December 1969 in the AFL Divisional Round.
It is also the first time the Steelers have been outscored 28 points in a quarter since October 1971 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
For the Browns, it is the first time they have forced four turnovers in a playoff game since the 1968 Divisional Round against the Dallas Cowboys, plus Kareem Hunt became the first Cleveland player with two touchdown carries in a game of postseason since Earnest Byner in the 1985 Divisional Round against the Miami Dolphins.