Safety Damarious Randall was ejected for his hit on Diontae Johnson in the third quarter that was clearly an preventable helmet-to-helmet hit.
Randall jumped up and down after his ejection was announced but there was little arguing with the call, which was not controversial.
Johnson was wobbly as he came off the field and television announcer Joe Buck pointed out the he was bleeding from his ear. He was later taken to the locker room on a cart and diagnosed with a concussion.
Johnson — a third-round rookie — had played well this season, emerging for 30 catches, 363 yards and three touchdowns.
It was a rough night on the injury front for the Steelers, who lost Juju Smith-Schuster (concussion) and running back James Conner (shoulder) to injury.
After Randall was ejected, three more penalties led the Steelers to the Browns 3-yard line, including a 38-yard pass interference call on Greedy Williams. Mason Rudolph found Jaylen Samuels for a score a few plays later.
Browns Running Thin at Safety
The Browns defense had been dominant before the Steelers third quarter score. But just as the Steelers were running thin on skilled offensive players, the Cleveland was running extremely thin at the safety position.
Just before Randall was thrown out, starting strong safety Morgan Burnett came up limping. He was diagnosed with an Achilles injury and was done for the game.
Justin Burris and rookie Sheldrick Redwine were forced into action because of the absences of Burnett and Randall.
Safety Jermaine Whitehead had been a major contributor for the Browns on defense, but was cut earlier this month after a social media tirade where he threatened fans and media members in NSFW fashion.
Before leaving the game, Burnett had a beautiful interception off a tip from Denzel Ward toward the end of the first half.
Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry Troll Mike Tomlin
Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry did not forget about Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s comments in the offseason.
When asked about the Browns acquiring Beckham, Tomlin yawned before delivering this response.
“You know, I see great players, or we see great players, week in and week out,” Tomlin said in July. “We’ve seen him before. We respect his talent and the talents of everyone they’ve acquired. But it doesn’t change our agenda or our focus.”
After Landry scored a touchdown in the first half, both players converged and pretended to yawn.
The Browns seemed to solve their 1-yard line woes from a week ago, scoring twice from close range. Baker Mayfield plunged in for the first touchdown of the night after Beckham was called out of bounds at the 1 after a 42-yard catch and Landry caught the other score wide open in the corner of the end zone.