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Monday Night Football review: All smiles for Saints and Steelers

The Monday Night Football doubleheader in Week 2 did not disappoint, with two nail-biting encounters going right down to the wire in Charlotte and Pittsburgh.

New Orleans Saints managed to get the job done on the road, with a 20-17 victory over NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers at the Bank of America Stadium.

Meanwhile, it was another one-score game in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 26-22 victory over AFC North rivals Cleveland Browns.

Here’s a look at how both these clashes played out, the big talking points and what’s up next for all four teams involved going into Week 3 of the NRL regular season.

A night to remember for Jones Jr

There’s no doubting Tony Jones Jr had a night he will never forget at the Bank of America Stadium, as he ran in his first two NFL touchdowns in the Saints’ 20-17 win in Carolina.

It has not been an easy start to life in the NFL for the running back out of Florida after he arrived at New Orleans as an undrafted free agent in April 2020.

After a spell with the Seattle Seahawks, Jones Jr is back with the Saints and enjoyed a memorable night as the 25-year-old bagged the first two touchdowns of his NFL career to help New Orleans go 2-0.

This was a cagey affair in Charlotte, which saw the Saints go into the locker rooms leading 6-3 at the half-time whistle.

However, touchdowns from Jones Jr in the third and fourth quarters allowed the Saints to take the lead.

Despite a late touchdown from Adam Thielen with just over a minute left on the clock, New Orleans held out for the win, while condemning the Panthers to their second defeat of the campaign.

A painful night for Chubb

While Jones Jr was celebrating a two-touchdown performance in Charlotte, the Browns' star running back Nick Chubb endured a nightmare evening in Pittsburgh.

The Browns’ star suffered a serious knee injury during a 26-22 defeat to the Steelers, which extended Cleveland’s 30-year wait for a 2-0 start to an NFL season.

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and linebacker Cole Holcomb both hit Chubb early in the second quarter, with a tackle that saw the RB carted off the field in agony.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed the bad news after the narrow defeat, saying: "Nick's got a very significant knee injury. You feel for him as a person.

"He's a great football player as we know, but he's an even better person. We will support him every step of the way."

There are now growing concerns about when Chubb will return to the field, after injuring the same knee he did while playing college football at Georgia back in 2015.

Fitzpatrick also needed medical attention after the tackle before half-time and eventually left the game in the second half due to a chest injury. 

Chubb has been a key figure in the Browns’ offense in recent seasons, topping 1,000 rushing yards in each of the past four campaigns, including a career-high 1,525 last year.

To add insult to injury, Cleveland went on to lose the game in Pittsburgh, with linebackers TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith both scoring their first career regular-season touchdowns in the Steelers’ victory.

What’s next for these four?

Cleveland will begin life without Chubb for the foreseeable future when they host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in Week 3.

The Browns are -170 on the ML and are favored to win by -3.5, while the Titans are +150 for the win at Cleveland Browns Stadium this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Saints will take their perfect winning record to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, while the Panthers are also on the road at the Seattle Seahawks.

Pittsburgh will look to build on their narrow victory over the Browns when they make the trip to the desert to face the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Steelers are -110 on the Money Line and are favored by -1.0 at Allegiant Stadium.

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