The Cleveland Browns had countless chances to win Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it never felt like the team would actually do it.
The Cleveland Browns began 2017 in a unique situation. Sunday’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers was essentially a meaningless game, except for the fact the Browns needed to lose to secure the No. 1 overall pick.
I decided to begin my year in Pittsburgh to watch the Browns take on the great Landry Jones.
But the 14-0 lead turned out to be too good to be true. Even though the Browns were playing all their starters, the Steelers were able to rattle off 21 unanswered points without Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell. This was not surprising, but the Browns were able to tie it up at 21-21 with 3:28 left in regulation.
At this point in time, many Steelers fans began to leave, indifferent about the final result of what was a meaningless game for a team already locked in to the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs. But while some Steelers fans may have thought the Browns would pull out a victory, it was hard to have any confidence in the 1-14 Browns.
So when the Browns got the ball down to the Steelers’ 5-yard line with under a minute left, there was still the sense that something could go wrong. So when Isaiah Crowell fumbled the ball on the 3-yard line when all the team needed was a field goal to win, it was hard to do anything other than shake my head in silence while the remaining Steelers fans went crazy.
Then came overtime, when the Browns got the ball to the Steelers’ 2-yard line. A touchdown was needed to win, but a loss of 14 yards on second down led to a field goal.
Even when the Browns looked to be ready to end the season with a win, it was all just a facade. The team is clearly unable to win, which is clear when finishing the season with a record of 1-15.
The only positive is that the loss gave the Browns the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft. I also wasn’t heckled at the game, although I’m not sure if that was due to manners or pity. Either way, Sunday wasn’t a horrible day to be a Browns fan as it allows the team to control its NFL Draft destiny.