JuJu, Conner exit early in Steelers' loss to Browns

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CLEVELAND -- Pittsburgh's top two playmakers were knocked out early on Thursday night.

JuJu Smith-Schuster did not return to the Steelers' 21-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night due to a concussion suffered in the second quarter. Running back James Conner's troublesome shoulder flared up again in the first half, knocking him out of the remainder of Thursday night's game, as well.

Smith-Schuster attempted to catch a pass between three defenders on a third-and-4 play early in the second, but was hit simultaneously by Browns defensive backs Greedy Williams and Morgan Burnett before falling to the turf and appearing motionless for a few scary moments.

Smith-Schuster eventually walked off the field under his own power and did not return.

Conner carried the ball five times for just 10 yards before exiting with visible shoulder discomfort.

Cornerback Artie Burns (knee) and linebacker Ola Adeniyi (concussion) were also ruled out by the time the first half ended. Receiver Diontae Johnson was later knocked out with a concussion.

The combined loss of Smith-Schuster and Conner only made Pittsburgh's going tougher on the offensive side of the ball. Without the threat of Conner ripping off a big run, the Browns teed off on quarterback Mason Rudolph, sacking him four times and forcing four interceptions.

Pittsburgh gained 104 total yards in the first half while winning the time of possession battle 16:13-13:47. The Steelers finished with just 236 total yards on 3.7 yards per play.

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