The Steelers Prove Sometimes the Best Offense Is a Good Defense

Pittsburgh is 1-1 despite having two offensive touchdowns in two games

T.J. Watt of the Steelers celebrates after scoring a touchdown.
T.J. Watt's scoop-and-score in the fourth quarter helped Pittsburgh knock off Cleveland.
Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty

In a game when the offense of the Steelers was only able to muster a single touchdown, Pittsburgh still managed to put up 26 points in a comeback 26-22 win over the Cleveland Browns on national television.

Last evening on Monday Night Football, the Steelers got a pick-6 from linebacker Alex Highsmith to open the game and a 16-yard scoop-and-score midway through the fourth quarter from star pass rusher T.J. Watt, which would prove to be the decisive points. Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell booted extra points after both defensive scores and also had two field goals in the win. The only other score the Steelers had was a 71-yard catch-and-run touchdown by second-year wideout George Pickens on a pass from second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett, who was 15-of-30 passes for 222 yards with an interception and a TD. The Steelers attempted a two-point conversion following Pickett’s touchdown and, unsurprisingly, didn’t get it.

Through two weeks of play, the Steelers have only scored two offensive touchdowns, but are 1-1 on the season thanks to the efforts of Highsmith and 28-year-old Watt, who became Pittsbugh’s all-time leader for sacks (81.5) when he had one of the six that the defense logged against Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson. He also had four quarterback hits on Monday, as well as two tackles for loss. Watt’s touchdown was a pro career first for him. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t special,” Watt said. “It hasn’t really set in and it probably won’t until I have time to sit down and process what really happened tonight.”

As bad of a night as it was for Pittsburgh’s offense, it was even worse for Cleveland’s as the Browns lost star running back Nick Chubb in the second quarter to a knee injury after he was hit low by Steeler safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Chubb had to be carted off of the field and it appears that the four-time Pro Bowler’s sixth NFL season is done after two games.

Chubb is one of a number of high-profile running backs who have been hurt in the first two weeks of play in the NFL and joins fellow top backs including Saquon Barkley and Austin Ekeler on the sidelines. “We feel for Nick as a person,” said Browns coach Kevin Stefanski. “He’s a great football player as we know and an even better person. We will support him every step of the way.”

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At 1-1, both the Browns and Steelers are still in the mix in the AFC North, especially with the Bengals sitting at 0-2 and the status of star quarterback Joe Burrow up in the air due to a lingering calf issue. At 2-0, the Ravens lead the division, but Baltimore has not looked overly impressive this season, something which can be said about the AFC overall. In interconference play, the NFC is currently 6-0 against the AFC this season and the NFC East (Cowboys, Eagles, Commanders) and NFC South (Saints, Falcons, Buccaneers) each have more undefeated teams than the AFC (Ravens, Dolphins) as a whole.

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