Top Five Moments of Browns vs. Steelers Rivalry

Top Five Moments of Browns vs. Steelers Rivalry

Ayden Fahlstrom
2 years ago
3 min read
Top Five Moments of Browns vs. Steelers Rivalry

The Browns dominated the Steelers early in the rivalry, as they were 31-9 vs Pittsburgh through 1970. However, the Steelers have overtaken Cleveland in their head-to-head matchups since, leading the all-time series 77-61-1. 

The Browns are looking to continue changing that narrative with another victory over Pittsburgh following last season’s playoff win against the Steelers. 

In order to set the stage for this divisional game, let’s take a look at the moments which have defined these two teams’ competitive histories.

Here are the top 5 moments of the Steelers vs Browns rivalry.

5. Browns Crush the Steelers 51-0

The Browns handed Pittsburgh a massive 51-0 defeat in 1989. This is the largest victory either team has had against one another throughout their history. 

Cleveland’s 17 points first quarter was highlighted by a Clay Matthews defensive fumble return for a touchdown, and then a 28-yard fumble return for another touchdown by David Grayson. In fact, the Browns did get their first offensive touchdown until fullback Tim Manoa scored on a three yard rush in the second quarter. 

Both Manoa and Grayson would score again in the third quarter, as Manoa added another rushing touchdown and Grayson earned himself a pick six. The Browns would tack on one more score in the fourth quarter on a Mike Oliphant rushing TD making it 51-0. 

This is certainly an outcome that Browns fans will always be able to hold over the Steelers faithful.

4. First-Ever Playoff Matchup

The first time the Browns and Steelers ever met in a postseason game was 1994. The Browns were led by Bill Belichick at the time, and had high hopes of overcoming their struggles against Pittsburgh, as the Steelers had defeated the Browns twice during the regular season.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, it would be more of the same in the AFC Divisional Round. The Steelers came out with strong offense and their legendary defense en route to a 24-3 lead at halftime. Pittsburgh never looked back and went on to secure a 29-9 victory. 

Nonetheless, the Browns and Steelers had finally met in the playoffs in a matchup that was long overdue. 

3. Otto Graham Comes Through in the Clutch

Otto Graham is arguably the greatest Browns player of all time. In 1952, he led Cleveland to a comeback victory over the Steelers in a wild matchup between the two teams. 

The Browns were the better of the two franchises during this time period, but the Steelers had Cleveland on the ropes with a 20-7 lead in the third quarter and were on the verge of pulling off the upset. However, Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham had other ideas.

After cutting the deficit to 20-14 on a touchdown pass from Graham to Dub Jones, Graham uncorked a 57-yard pass downfield to Sherman Jones for a touchdown and a Browns lead. Cleveland would not look back and won the game 21-20 in one of the most riveting meetings between the Browns and Steelers we have ever seen. 

2. Joe “Turkey” Jones Knocks Terry Bradshaw out of the Game

In one of the most iconic single plays in this series history, Brown’s defensive end Joe “Turkey” Jones practically threw star Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw on his head forcing him to be removed from the game in a 1976 contest. Cleveland went on to win 18-16. 

Bradshaw would end up missing six games, but it could have been worse given the violent nature of the hit he took. This play alone signifies the rivalry between these two historic franchises. 

1. AFC Wild Card Shootout

The Browns and Steelers met for just the second time in the postseason in the AFC Wild Card Game on January 5, 2003. This matchup presented much hype and excitement, as fans could not wait to see two of the NFL’s oldest rivals face off in a win-or-go-home situation.

At the half, Cleveland led 17-7. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, things were looking even better for the Browns as they held a 33-21 advantage with under 11 minutes remaining. And then it happened. 

Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox led a remarkable comeback by throwing multiple touchdown passes in a valiant effort to shock the Browns. The Steelers defense held strong as well keeping Cleveland stagnant at 33 points in the final quarter. Pittsburgh wound up winning 36-33 in one of the most thrilling Wild Card encounters of all-time. 

The rivalry continues on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. 

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