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The Browns have had an emphatic start to their first playoff game in 18 years. On the game’s first play from scrimmage, safety Karl Joseph corralled a fumble in the end zone to give the Browns an early 7-0 lead in their wild-card game against the Steelers

The fumble was the result of a high snap by Maurkice Pouncey, a nine-time Pro Bowler. Joseph scooped up the ball after Ben Roethlisberger and James Conner were unable to pick up the loose pigskin. 

Pittsburgh compounded its mistake moments later, when Roethlisberger was picked off by M.J. Stewart. The pick set up Baker Mayfield’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry, as Cleveland stormed out to a 14-0 first quarter lead. 

The Browns are playing tonight without coach Kevin Stefanski, who is currently on the team’s COVID-19 list. Cleveland is also without starting offensive guard Joel Bitonio and cornerback Denzel Ward. The team’s COVID-19 outbreak forced the Browns to hold virtual practices for most of the week leading up to Sunday night’s game. But despite those challenges, the Browns jumped out to a quick lead over the Steelers, who won the AFC North after going 12-4 during the regular season. 

Cleveland is playing in its first playoff game since 2002, when they built a 24-7 lead over Pittsburgh before losing, 36-33. The Steelers are trying to win their first playoff game since 2016. 





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