JuJu Smith-Schuster continued his heel turn this past week when he shrugged off his first 2021 NFL playoff opponent by telling reporters: “The Browns is the Browns. . . . They’re a good team, but I’m just happy we’re playing them again this Sunday.”
With that remark, Smith-Schuster managed to cut down the wild-card matchup between the Steelers (12-4) and Browns (11-5) to its essence. Are the Browns still the same old team that hasn’t reached a conference championship game since 1989? Or is this really a new era of competence in Cleveland? Pittsburgh, which probably should have kept to itself given four losses in its past five contests, hopes the AFC North balance of power remains unchanged.
Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield’s ability to avoid turnovers will likely be a key factor Sunday night. In his sophomore NFL season in 2019, he threw 21 interceptions and lost two fumbles. This year, he threw just eight picks and lost four fumbles. Pittsburgh’s opportunistic defense finished second in the league in takeaways.
Mayfield, of course, has never taken the field in the postseason. Ben Roethlisberger has done so 21 times and won two Super Bowl rings.
The importance of recent history, then, will be put to the test at Heinz Field.
Sporting News is tracking live scoring updates and highlights from the Steelers vs. Browns wild-card matchup Sunday night. Follow for complete results from the 2021 NFL playoff game.
Steelers vs. Browns score
Steelers vs. Browns live updates, highlights
8:28 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Browns. Jarvis Landry takes advantage of poor tackling to extend an intermediate catch to the house. “If you just tuned in, I don’t know what to tell ya,” summarizes Al Michaels on the TV broadcast. 14-0, Cleveland.
8:24 p.m.: And now Roethlisberger throws a terrible interception!
8:17 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, Browns. OH MY GOODNESS. The first play of the night from scrimmage is a bad snap from the Steelers and recovery from the Browns in the end zone. Incredible. 7-0, Cleveland.
Steelers vs. Browns start time
Steelers vs. Browns will be the final wild-card game of the weekend. After its conclusion, the NFL’s 2021 divisional round will be set.
The 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff is the same start time that “Monday Night Football” normally has during the season and five minutes earlier than the usual “Sunday Night Football” start time.
NFL playoff schedule 2021
Saturday, Jan. 9
Sunday, Jan. 10
Saturday, Jan. 16
Sunday, Jan. 17
Sunday, Jan. 24
Super Bowl 55
Sunday, Feb. 7
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