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The Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) kept up their push for a home playoff spot with a 14-3 victory over AFC North rivals the Cleveland Browns (4-9). Despite putting together a strong opening drive, with quarterback Colt McCoy passing accurately off of play action, and hitting receivers Evan Moore and Josh Cribbs for big gains, they were stopped short of the touchdown by a dominant Steelers defense, and had to settle for a field goal.
Pittsburgh responded by putting together a similarly impressive drive which culminated in an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jericho Cotchery, largely thanks to Ben Roethlisberger’s ability to keep plays alive for longer than almost any other quarterback.
Turnovers then dominated the game, firstly with veteran receiver Hines Ward fumbling and losing possession for the Steelers, then McCoy threw a pass straight into the hands of Troy Polamalu to turnover any advantage Cleveland had gained. Pittsburgh then choked up another turnover, this time Heath Miller fumbling after a reception, all of which was made worse by a seemingly game-ending ankle injury to Roethlisberger.
But true to his personality, ‘Big Ben’ came back onto the pitch, and wrapped up the game for the Steelers late in the fourth quarter when he threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to in-form wide receiver Antonio Brown, who finished the game with 151 yards on five receptions.
Pittsburgh linebacker Jason Worilds also had a good game, collecting two sacks and a forced fumble as he continues to put in the performances which are beginning to suggest he may be the long term replacement for James Harrison when he eventually retires.
The Browns meanwhile have little to be pleased about, McCoy, a quarterback under pressure, threw two interceptions and no touchdowns, and questions will persist over whether McCoy is the long term answer for this franchise. In addition to their stuttering passing game, their running game proved no more fruitful, with neither Chris Ogbonnaya, Peyton Hillis or Montario Hardesty rushing for over 31 yards.
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