The Browns were able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
With numerous chances to win the game in regulation and in overtime, the Browns lost in overtime, 27-24 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season finale at Heinz Field.
The Browns finish 1-15 and end with the worst record in franchise history. They also secure the top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns also will have the 12th overall pick by virtue of having the Philadelphia Eagles first round pick.
The Steelers rested their 'Big Three' of Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, who between them accounted for nearly 7,000 yards of offense and 50 touchdowns. The Steelers won their seventh-straight game and finish the regular season 11-5 and will host the Miami Dolphins in the playoffs next week.
Backup quarterback Landry Jones threw a touchdown to backup wide receiver Colbi Hamilton as he beat Briean Boddy-Calhoun in the end zone. The Browns had a chance to win the game in overtime with the first possession by scoring a touchdown, but squandered an opportunity with first-and-goal at the Steelers' two. However, instead of running the ball from the two, the Browns attempted three-straight passes that resulted in losses of 13 yards to settle for a 34-yard field goal by Cody Parkey to give them a 24-21 lead.
In the game, the Browns turned the ball over four times--twice in the red zone--including a fumble by Isaiah Crowell at the Steelers five-yard with 56 seconds to play and the scored tied, 21-21. On the previous play, Terrelle Pryor caught a 43-yard pass to the five, which would've set up the would be winning score. All the Browns had to do was let the clock wind down to kick a short field goal to win the game. Even a miss would've sent the game to overtime. However, Crowell's fumble made that option a moot point.
The Browns took control of the game early and jumped out to a 14-0 lead and were on their way of increasing the lead midway through the second quarter when Robert Griffin III threw an interception to Ryan Shazier at the Steelers' two-yard line to prevent a score in the second quarter.
The Steelers weren't able to score points off the turnover, but it prevented the Browns from increasing their lead.
Leading 14-0, Anthony Fabiano--making his first NFL start at center-- snapped the ball over Griffin's head and the Steelers recovered at the Browns' 37. With less than two minutes to play in the first half, the Steelers took advantage of the turnover and Jones hit DeAngelo Williams for a touchdown with 31 seconds play to make it 14-7.
Still in good position, leading 14-7 with 3:22 to play in the third quarter, one of the turning points occurred as Boddy-Calhoun made a great play with an interception of Jones on third-and-11 on a pass intended for Eli Rogers and Boddy-Calhoun returned the interception 67 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, replays showed that when stretching for the end zone with the ball, Boddy-Calhoun lost the ball and Jones recovered it in the end zone for a touchback and the Steelers retained possession. Instead of a 21-7 lead for the Browns with 3:22 to play in the third quarter, the Browns lead was back to 14-7.
The Steelers took advantage of the mistake by the Browns and made them pay by driving the length of the field and tying the score on a one-yard touchdown by Williams with 13:21 to play in the game. Boddy-Calhoun's play resulted in a 14-point swing.
The Steelers made it 21 unanswered points after stopping the Browns, Jones threw a 46-yard bomb to Darius Heyward-Bey as he beat Boddy-Calhoun to the Browns' 11. On third-and-10, Jones hit Demarcus Ayers on a crossing route in front of Boddy-Calhoun and he outraced him to the end zone to give the Steelers a 21-14 lead with 5:14 to play.
The Browns answered with a tying score as they drove 68 yards to tie the game as George Atkinson scored from five yards out. The touchdown was set up by a 68-yard second down run by Crowell after Griffin was sacked on first down.
With the game tied, the Browns had their chance to end it in regulation when Crowell fumbled.
RG3 Mixed Review: QB Robert Griffin III made his case to be the Browns quarterback going forward. Griffin came into the season finale game without having thrown a touchdown pass and he threw two touchdowns in the first half. He hit TE Seth DeValve for a 12-yard touchdown in the first quarter and then hit fellow tight end Gary Barnidge for a 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter. However, Griffin threw an interception at the two-yard line to prevent the Browns from increasing their lead. He also fumbled a snap that the Steelers converted into a touchdown. Griffin finished 29-of-40 for 232 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His rating was 92.9 and he was sacked four times. Griffin also rushed five times for 32 yards.
Griffin completed 10-straight passes and moved the Browns into scoring position again but threw an interception to Shazier. Griffin finished the first half 16-of-20 for 123 yards with 2 touchdowns and one interception in first half 104.8 rating. He had 3 rushes for 17 yards.
Boddy-Calhoun Reversal: Rookie DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun had a good game going until he intercepted a pass and returned it 67 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, it was ruled he fumbled into the end zone, negating the score and he was beaten several times on pass plays the rest of the game, including the game-winning pass to WR Colbi Hamilton. Body-Calhoun tied DB Joe Haden for the team lead with three interceptions.
Pryor Hits 1000: By virtue of the overtime, WR Terrelle Pryor went over the 1,000 yard mark. Pryor finished with seven receptions for 94 yards to finish the season with 77 receptions for 1,007 yards. Pryor caught a 43-yard pass from Griffin with under a minute to play to give him 998 yards that gave the Browns a first down on the Steelers' five-yard line. However, RB Isaiah Crowell fumbled and the game went to overtime. In overtime, Griffin threw a 9-yard pass on the first play of overtime. Pryor entered the game with 70 receptions for 913 yards.
Crow Flys: RB Isaiah Crowell rushed for 152 yards on 19 carries, including a 68-yard run. Crowell finishes the season just under 1,000 yards with 952 yards. Crowell also caught three passes for 16 yards, however, Crowell will be remembered for his costly fumble inside the five-yard line that cost the Browns the chance to win in regulation.
By George: RB George Atkinson saw his first significant action at running back with RB Duke Johnson hobbled with an ankle injury. Atkinson had seven carries for 34 yards, including a five-yard touchdown run. Johnson had just one carry for four yards.
Corey's Finale: WR Corey Coleman finished the game with five receptions for 40 yards. TE Gary Barnidge caught five passes for 40 yards, as well, including a four-yard touchdown.
Seth's TD: Rookie TE Seth DeValve caught one pass for a 12-yard touchdown.
Sack Attack: The Browns sacked Landry Jones four times. LB Christian Kirksey, LB Demario Davis, DL Carl Nassib and DB Ed Reynolds each had one sack. Kirksey led the Browns with 11 tackles, while LB Jamie Collins had 10 tackles. The Steelers had only allowed 17 sacks entering the game.
Draft Spot: The Browns will have the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and with the Eagles pick, they will draft 12th with the Eagles defeating the Cowboys.
Pittsburgh Jinx: It used to be the Three Rivers Stadium jinx. Now, it could be the Heinz Field curse. The Browns haven't won in Pittsburgh since 10/5 2003 when Tim Couch was the Browns quarterback and the Browns won 33-13.
Reynolds Wrap: DB Ed Reynolds sacked QB Landry Jones on a blitz on third down at the two minute warning to give the Browns a chance to win the game.
Ogbah Play: Rookie LB Emmanuel Ogbah had a 12 yard tackle for loss when he stopped WR Demarcus Ayers on an end around
Rough Day for Joe: DB Joe Haden had a rough day. After being juked by WR Demarcus Ayers on a short pass for 16-yard pickup, Haden interfered Ayers in the end zone to give Pittsburgh a first down on the one-yard line.
New Line: The Browns started a completely different offensive line against the Steelers with OL Cameron Erving switching from center to RT. Austin Pasztor moved from right tackle to right guard and rookie Anthony Fabiano made his debut starting at center. Fabiano misfired a snap with the Browns leading 14-0 that resulted in the Steelers recovering at the Browns 37.
Shon Coleman took the place of Erving but injured his ankle . Erving went in for Coleman and injured his knee and was declared out for the game. Coleman returned to play right tackle.
Parkey Miss: After making 16 of his last 17 field goal attempts, K Cody Parkey missed a 49-yard attempt that would've given the Browns a 17-14 lead with 7:39 to play. The kick was longer because Griffin was sacked for an eight-yard loss on the third down play. Parkey made a field goal in overtime from 34 yards out.
Schobert Starts: LB Joe Schobert started at outside linebacker in place of LB Cam Johnson, who was out with a groin injury.
Good Challenge: Jackson won a challenge on a pass from QB Landry Jones for a first down from the Steelers end zone, but the WR Demarcus Ayers was unable to get both feet inbounds forcing the Steelers to punt from their own end zone.
Browns Inactives: QB Josh McCown, QB Kevin Hogan, DB Trey Caldwell, RB Darius Jackson, LB Cam Johnson, OL Gabe Ikard and DL Stephen Paea were inactive. The Steelers had QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le'Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown inactive. The trio had accounted for just under 7,000 yards and 50 touchdowns between them.