It looked as if Roethlisberger would be knocked out of the game in the 2nd quarter after a high ankle sprain that looked a lot worse. However, he came back in the 2nd half to lead the Steelers over their division rival Browns. Cleveland’s Quarterback was also knocked out for a point. He took a punishing hit from James Harrison which was flagged for helmet to helmet. It appeared as though Colt McCoy may have sustained a concussion, but he came back just a few plays later. Perhaps that was not the best move for either McCoy or the Browns. McCoy couldn’t recall the finish of the game the next day but Brown fans sure do. He came back and immediately was flagged for intentional grounding. He did one worse on the next drive as he threw an INT in the end zone. It wasn’t an impressive performance from the second year QB who couldn’t escape the Steelers punishing attack. He was sacked 3 times and took 7 QB hits. This can help explain him completing just over half of his passes for 209 yards and 2 interceptions. The Browns never found the end zone.
Not surprisingly, the Browns couldn’t run the ball on Pittsburgh. Despite having Hillis and Hardesty in the mix, they each managed just over 20 yards. It was actually Chris Ogbonnaya who led the team in rushing, and he did it on just two carries. He had a 28 yard run on a third and long that surprisingly extended the drive. Cleveland’s run defense had one its better performances of the year. They kept Mendenhall from having a huge game, especially with Big Ben struggling through an injury. Statistically speaking, Roethlisberger didn’t seem hampered by the injury. He completed 16 of 21 for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns. He connected with Antonio Brown in the 4th quarter on a play where Joe Haden slipped. He allowed Brown to go down 79 yards for a score to give the Steelers a 14-3 lead that ended up as the final score.
This was the third straight loss for Cleveland and 6th in their last 7 games. They face the Cardinals in Arizona next week, which is no easy task. Arizona is now 6-7 and are playing there best football all year. They have won 3 straight, 5 of 6 and are coming off wins over Dallas and San Francisco. Kevin Kolb was forced out early in last game, but John Skelton performed great in a relief role. Arizona doesn’t excel at anything, but they have been playing much better defense of late. If Beanie Wells is healthy, expect a heavy dose. Cleveland’s rough stretch at the end of the season will continue Sunday.