The losing streak is over in Cleveland -- sort of.
The new, exciting Browns came close to ending the franchise's historic run of futility, but the cleansing (the non-Lake Erie kind) will have to wait at least another week. Cleveland tied the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime, 21-21, on a rainy Sunday along the lake.
Cleveland mounted a furious comeback to tie the game late Sunday and send it to overtime, and even received a gift from the football gods in the form of a missed Chris Boswell field goal, but couldn't capitalize after Joe Schobert intercepted Ben Roethlisberger for the defense's fourth pick of the day.
A block in the back on Schobert's interception return backed Cleveland up to the Pittsburgh 24 (instead of the 12), making a field-goal attempt more difficult for Zane Gonzalez -- had he actually gotten a decent kick off. That wasn't the case, though, as Gonzalez's low attempt curved sharply, a knuckleball of a kick attempt that might have been blocked and sealed the oddest way to end a long stretch of failure.
"Again the guys fought," Browns coach Hue Jackson said after the game. "I'm disappointed for our fans, didn't want them to go home without a victory. Didn't want our players to go home without a victory. So we weren't able to get it done -- didn't finish it. Obviously a tie -- a tie."
Failure was a good way to describe the afternoon, with the Steelers turning the ball over six times, including four interceptions and a fumble on the part of Roethlisberger. The failure extended to the Browns, who turned just one of those six turnovers into points. The result was an exciting game with an anticlimactic finish.
Tyrod Taylor completed just 15 of 40 attempts for 197 yards, one touchdown (via an incredible catch made by Josh Gordon) and one interception. He and Carlos Hyde combined to rush for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 30 attempts.
The true stars of the game were a pair of youngsters: Pittsburgh running back James Conner, and Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward. The former rushed 31 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns (and a key fumble in the fourth quarter). Ward intercepted Roethlisberger twice and played excellent defense all afternoon, even when Antonio Brown caught a touchdown while also pinning Ward's arm within his grasp. If Sunday was any indicator, GM John Dorsey nailed it with the fourth-overall pick.
Cleveland's streak of losses is officially over, though the Browns didn't win. A Week 1 tie is, well, a tie. Back to the drawing board for both squads, which will hope Week 2 doesn't arrive with another healthy helping of precipitation.