In what was expected to be quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's final home game of a storied career, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelershonored him by engaging in an exhausting contest to see which team could put together the more pitiful offensive performance. The Browns won by losing 26-14.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield peppered in a few good throws in an otherwise ghastly performance, giving critics more credence to the argument he's not simply bad, but broken, beyond repair.
Rookie James Hudson III will get plenty of attention for his performance at right tackle against the likely Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt, who recorded four sacks, bringing his season total to 21.5. The Steelers ended up with a total of nine sacks on the night, at least half of which were Mayfield's own doing. Nevertheless, the offensive line had issues including deflected passes, missed blocks and plenty of terrible towels in the form of penalty flags.
Wide receivers fell down and dropped passes. Tight end Austin Hooper dropped two passes on the first drive of the game before committing a false start, making a 3rd-and-2 situation into a 3rd-and-7. That drive ended in a turnover on downs. That was just in the first quarter.
The Browns were unwilling to overuse and expose running back Nick Chubb in a game that didn't have any consequence aside from pride due to a rib injury he suffered in the first half of the game, which put added pressure on the rest of the offense that had thoroughly proven it incapable of delivering.
Kevin Stefanski's offense was in shambles and they still had the opportunity to win the game, which illuminates how poorly the Steelers offense fared in this matchup.
The better offense in the game featured Roethlisberger throwing the ball 46 times, only managing 123 yards, an average of 2.7 yards per attempt. That sets an NFL record low for a quarterback attempting at least 45 passes in a game. The previous low was set by Bruce Gradkowski as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 2006 game against the New York Giants where he averaged 2.9 yards per attempt.
The one offensive player in the game that shined for either team was rookie running back Najee Harris. Harris ran for 188 yards on 28 carries, including the touchdown to seal the victory for the Steelers.
The Steelers keep their playoff hopes alive, sending Roethlisberger out with a win at home. The Browns, meanwhile are a year removed from making the postseason on the strength of their offense and winning a playoff game in Pittsburgh scoring 48 points, looked in this game like they are back to square one.