Steelers defense powers MNF win over division-rival Browns as Chubb suffers knee injury

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Alex Highsmith #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate after scoring a touchdown on an interception against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium on September 18, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
By Zac Jackson and The Athletic Staff
Sep. 19, 2023

The Pittsburgh Steelers held off the divisional-rival Cleveland Browns in a 26-22 victory Monday night at Acrisure Stadium. Here’s what you need to know:

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

What Chubb’s injury means for Cleveland

Regardless of tonight’s result, the Browns losing Chubb is a worst-case scenario type of event.


Chubb might be the NFL’s best running back, and his power and consistency have long made him the Browns’ best offensive player. Chubb is the ultimate football player, a low-maintenance superstar and has long been talented enough to carry the Browns offense when necessary.

The pass game is a wreck at this early stage of the season, and even with Jerome Ford impressing in emergency duty Monday night after Chubb’s exit, the Browns simply can’t replace Chubb. — Jackson



Jackson: Replacing Nick Chubb won't be easy, but the Browns 'have to keep pushing'

What went wrong for Browns

The Browns defense played well enough to win. It’s nearly impossible to overcome two defensive scores, and though the Browns ran the ball well, their pass game was putrid. The winning points came when Highsmith ran right around left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. for a strip-sack, and Watt returned the fumble to the end zone.

The Browns had a good plan for Watt, but the Steelers got a lot of shots on Watson — and Watson went 22-of-40 passing. The Browns had too many penalties, too many misses in the pass game and ultimately lost to Highsmith and Watt. — Jackson

Highlight of the game

Key stat

The Browns — who have now lost 20 straight regular-season games in Pittsburgh’s stadium — were seeking their first 2-0 start since 1993. Their streak of 27 consecutive seasons without a 2-0 start is the longest in NFL history.

Required reading

(Photo: Joe Sargent / Getty Images)

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