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NFL Capsules: Watt’s fumble return TD gives Steelers win against Browns

by Associated Press | September 19, 2023 at 12:48 a.m.
Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (24) and safety Elijah Riley celebrate after a fourth-down stop during Monday night's game against the Browns in Pittsburgh. (Associated Press)

PITTSBURGH -- T.J. Watt scooped up a fumble by DeShaun Watson and ran 17 yards for the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns 26-22 on Monday night in a game overshadowed by a serious knee injury to Cleveland star running back Nick Chubb.

The Steelers (1-1) beat the Browns (1-1) for the 20th straight time at home in the regular season when outside linebacker Alex Highsmith -- who returned an interception for a touchdown on the game’s first snap -- beat Cleveland left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. off the edge and chopped the ball out of Watson’s hands.

Watt picked it up and raced home as Pittsburgh extended its home winning streak on Monday night to 21 straight dating to 1991. Cleveland allowed an opponent to score two defensive touchdowns for the first time since Pittsburgh did it Oct. 16, 1983.

The Browns played most of the final three quarters without Chubb, who took a handoff from Watson early in the second quarter and reached the Pittsburgh 3. Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick dove at Chubb’s legs, and the four-time Pro Bowler’s left leg bent awkwardly underneath him. He was carted off the field.

Jerome Ford, Chubb’s replacement, ran for 106 yards and caught a 3-yard touchdown pass for the Browns, but Cleveland’s miscues cost it a chance to win at Pittsburgh in the regular season for the first time since 2003.

Watson completed 22-of-40 for 235 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was also flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct for grabbing the face mask of a Steeler while running. The penalties cut a pair of promising drives short.

Kenny Pickett and the Steelers’ offense struggled. Pickett went 15-of-30 for 222 yards.

Saints 20, Panthers 17

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tony Jones Jr. ran for two touchdowns, rookie Blake Grupe kicked two field goals and New Orleans beat Carolina, improving to 2-0 for the first time since 2013.

Jones replaced the injured Jamaal Williams late in the first half and ran for 34 yards on 12 carries.

The Saints’ defense did the rest, holding Panthers rookie Bryce Young to 153 yards passing in his home debut. New Orleans limited Carolina (0-2) to 239 yards and sacked Young, the top overall pick in the draft, four times.

The Saints nearly made it two full games without allowing a touchdown before giving up a 3-yard scoring toss from Young to Adam Thielen with 1:16 left in the game. Young’s 2-point conversion pass to Thielen got the Panthers within three, but the Saints recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

Derek Carr had a badly underthrown interception into triple coverage and missed several other open receivers as the Saints limped into the locker room at halftime with a 6-3 lead.

But Carr improved in the second half, hitting Chris Olave for a 42-yard gain to set up Jones’ first TD. 

Carr finished with 228 yards passing and the one interception.


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