Tue, Sep 11, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Browns miss chance to notch a win

AP, CLEVELAND, Ohio

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden, left, breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon in the third quarter of their American Football Conference game in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sunday.

Photo: Scott R. Galvin-USA Today

When the ball deflected off T.J. Watt’s left hand and fluttered to a water-logged landing, well short of the crossbar, there was nothing more the Browns could do.

Their 17-game losing streak was over. Without a win — or a loss.

Nothing to celebrate.

“A sour feeling,” Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor said.

More bitterness.

Cleveland on Sunday did not take advantage of forcing six turnovers by Pittsburgh and missed a chance at their first win since 2016, tying the Steelers 21-21 in overtime in a game that turned into another emotional roller-coaster for fans who were so close to seeing their team go 1-0 for the first time in 14 years.

The Browns, being the Browns, could not finish the job.

“Tying in the NFL is really weird,” Browns left guard Joel Bitonio said. “I never even thought I would be a part of it.”

Bitonio could have never imagined playing on an 0-16 team, either, but that is what happened last season when the Browns went through their entire season without posting a win or draw.

At least that cannot happen again.

Watt capped a brilliant performance by blocking Zane Gonzalez’s 43-yard field-goal attempt with nine seconds left to preserve the tie for the Steelers, whose drama-filled week around Le’Veon Bell ended with more theatrics.

It was the league’s first week 1 tie since 1971 and the first time in 133 games the Browns and Steelers could not settle their rivalry on the field.

The Browns rallied from a 21-7 deficit in the fourth quarter to stun the Steelers, who blew their own chance to win it in overtime when Chris Boswell’s 42-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left.

Pittsburgh were without Bell, whose contract holdout carries into the season’s second week, but the Steelers, who sacked Taylor seven times, refused to offer any excuses after falling dangerously close to becoming the first team to lose to the Browns in week 1 since 2004.

“Hell yeah, it feels like a loss,” Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward said. “I’m sorry for using that kind of language, but if we settle for those, we’re going to be an awfully [steamed] off bunch. We didn’t get the job done. I credit T.J. [Watt] for getting that block, but the outcome was already decided. It just gives you a sick taste in your mouth.”

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