Browns stun Steelers with four touchdowns in first quarter for 28-0 lead

PITTSBURGH — When you haven’t been in the NFL playoffs since 2002, have lost 17 games in a row in the Steel City and your head coach is back home dealing with COVID-19, you probably deserve a break.

The Cleveland Browns got that on the first snap Sunday night against the Steelers and didn't slow down, scoring 28 quick points in the first quarter.

Maurkice Pouncey's shotgun snap sailed past Ben Roethlisberger and was recovered in the end zone by Karl Joseph to give the Browns a quick lead, 14 seconds into the AFC Wild Card playoff at Heinz Field. Roethlisberger and running back James Conner were positioned to possibly recover the football near the 1-yard line, but with a swarm of Browns defenders converging, the ball was kicked into the end zone, secured by Joseph.

As if that 7-0 edge weren't enough of a head start, Roethlisberger was intercepted by M.J. Stewart on the ensuing drive, which Jarvis Landry turned into a 40-yard touchdown off a Baker Mayfield pass.

Browns strong safety Karl Joseph (42) recovers a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown against the Steelers. (Photo: Philip G. Pavely, USA TODAY Sports)

Never mind that the Browns were huge underdogs. Just 5 minutes, 14 seconds into the contest, Cleveland had a 14-0 lead.

After a Steelers three-and-out, the Browns got their third TD on Kareem Hunt's 11-run run, going up 21-0. The Browns' fourth score came after a three-play drive following the Steelers' third turnover of the game. With 1:56 left in the quarter, it was Hunt again with an eight-yard run for his second touchdown, and just like that, the Browns were up 28-0.

Yes, Cleveland got just the type of breaks it needed to potentially pull off a huge upset. A Browns victory would send them to Kansas City next weekend for a matchup against the top-seeded Chiefs.

The Browns get off to a perfect, and unexpected, start in their first playoff game in 18 years.

(Via @NFL)

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