DeShone Kizer stepped up to the challenge and impressed.
Kizer, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 222 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and the penalties kept Cleveland in the game. He kept the game close when many counted the Browns out, especially against the Steelers, and showed his ability to score both on the run and in the air with his arm.
"It's not our first rodeo", said Roethlisberger, who passes for 263 yards. Additionally, Kenny Britt dropped a key pass late in the game. Defensively, the Browns are yielding 7.2 points and 245.0 total yards, 171.8 in passing and 73.2 in rushing per game. That is being able to go against what is known as one of the better teams in our conference consistently that way.
Quarterback has, of course, been the biggest issue for the Browns.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes following San Francisco turnovers and the Carolina defense shut down Kyle Shanahan's offense in his coaching debut. In a ugly 21-18 win, Ben Roethlisberger became the winningest quarterback in Cleveland Browns stadium since 1999.
The addition of Trevon Coley, Caleb Brantley, Larry Ogunjobi and another year of seasoning for Danny Shelton should make the Browns better against the run even with Garrett temporarily sidelined.
So while it's fun to yell at your TV/Todd Haley when the Steelers offense fails to score 40 points in a game, realize he has not yet had a full compliment of stars at his disposal. The Browns defense was much improved.
There will be plenty of debate about who the best wide receiver in the National Football League is this season.
Just imagine if Roethlisberger wouldn't have missed a few starts in Cleveland over the years, he'd have an insurmountable lead over all of the Browns quarterbacking hopefuls! Of course, that could come down to rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. They successfully and effectively limited the damage done by Big Ben. Most importantly, Steelers' star running back Le'Veon Bell did nothing to justify his holdout during training camp and the preseason. He had to square off against Browns' offensive tackle Joe Thomas and more than held his own.
Browns fans are no stranger to disappointment and misery, but usually it takes a little longer than four plays into the season for that to kick in. And if "here" is a really solid game against a potential Super Bowl contender, that's pretty great.
The Browns visit the Baltimore Ravens, another division rival next week.
The Browns, of course, finished Jackson's first season at 1-15 but showed a lot of fight and promise in their season debut despite dropping the contest.
And when Watt ended Cleveland's next possession with a leaping interception, it looked like the Steelers had put the game away.