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Insider Only 1st Half Notes: The rout is on in Cleveland as Steelers lead 31-3

Pittsburgh 31 – Cleveland 3
The Pittsburgh Steelers are on their way to a 3rd division title in four years and securing a 1st round bye as the rout is on in Cleveland. Pittsburgh holds a 31-3 lead as the 1st half has just concluded.
The Steelers put on a dominating performance, led by an opportunistic defense and an offense leading the way in scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions, including a Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace 56 yard touchdown strike on the Steelers 1st offensive play of the series.
The touchdown was setup by Troy Polamalu intercepting Colt McCoy on the second play of the game. The Steelers defense had 3 interceptions in the first half with Polamalu, Clark and Anthony Madison collecting INT’s.
Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes of 56 yards {Wallace} and 4 yards {Miller} in the half and Rashard Mendenhall added two rushing touchdowns for his 12th and 13th touchdowns of the season.
Roethlisberger was 11 of 16 for 218 yards and 2 TD’s in the half. Mike Wallace’s dynamic playmaking ability was on display, recording 2 receptions for 97 yards in the half.
The Steelers got great pass protection from their offensive line, giving Roethlisberger plenty of time as he picked apart the Browns secondary.
Pittsburgh outgained Cleveland 273 – 134 in the half.

1st Half Notes

The Cleveland Browns opened up game spreading the Steelers out. On the Browns 1st offensive play of the game, McCoy hits Massaquoi for a 14 yard catch.
Troy Polamalu who was active for the first time in two games, made his presence felt eary, intercepting McCoy on the second play of the game. The seems to follow Polamalu who made a diving pick on a tipped ball, being in the right place at the right now. The interception was Polamalu’s 7th in the game.
The Steelers came out with an offensive game plan of looking to put the Browns away early. On their 1st offensive play, the Steelers went deep and Roethlisberger connected with Mike Wallace for a 56 yard touchdown catch to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead.
The catch was Wallace’s 10th touchdown of the season and 8th 40+ yard reception on the season.
On the play, Browns safety T.J. Ward swings to Emmanuel Sanders on the left side, leaving Wallace 1-on-1 with a Browns defender and Roethlisberger hit him in stride for the Steelers longest passing play of the season.
The Browns continued to spread out the Steelers on their 2nd offensive drive, starting the game with 8 straight passes (7 McCoy, 1 Wallace)
The series ended with a sack as Ziggy Hood made a great spin move, getting a sack on a 3rd and 5 for an 8 yard loss. It was Hood’s 3rd sack of the season. Hood’s play is really coming on in the second half of the season.
On the Steelers 2nd offensive series, the team came up with big plays on the third down.

Hines Ward had an 8 yard catch on a 3rd down early in the drive for his 950th of his career
On a 3rd and 3, Roethlisberger went to Wallace on a quick slant for a gain of 41 yards. That play is starting to become a serious weapon for the Steelers.
The pass put Roethlisber over the 3,000 yards for the 5th straight season.
On a 3rd and 3 at 5 yard line, five reciever sets, Roethlisberger on a quarterback draw for a gain of 4 yards, sets up 1st and goal at 1 yard line.
Mendenhall punches it in on 1st and goal for a 1 yard touchdown. Mendenhall’s 12th rushing touchdown…
10 plays – 71 yards on touchdown drive. Key Plays: Steelers 3-for-3 on third down; 41 yard passing play to Mike Wallace on 3rd and 3
The Browns answered the Steelers on their third offensive drive and McCoy came up with several big plays in the passing game, hitting Massaquoi for a 31 yard gain on a 3rd and 10 (at PIT 36) to set the Browns up 1st and goal at the Steelers 5 yard line.
However, Cleveland failed to get into the endzone with a 3rd and goal dropped pass on a Colt McCoy roll out. Cleveland got on board with 19 yard field goal by Phil Dawson. McCoy was 5 of 9, 71 yards on drive. It was a 15 play – 80 yard drive for Browns.
On the Steelers third offensive series, they went to the air highlighted by a 24 yard reception for Rashard Mendenhall and Roethlisberger connecting with Emmanuel Sanders for a 16 yard reception on a quick slant that again is starting to become a weapon for the Steelers offense.
On a 3rd and 7, Roethlisberger drew Cleveland offsides to make it a 3rd and 2 inside Cleveland’s 10 yard and Issac Redman gained 5 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 3 yard line.
Mendenhall punched it in with a 1 yard touchdown run on 3rd and goal for his second touchdown of the game and 13th of the season.
11 play – 74 yard drive as the Steelers jumped out to a 21-3 second quarter lead.
Cleveland was not able to build off of their 15 play 80 drive and on a 3rd and 7, Ryan Clark intercepted Colt McCoy at the Browns 47 yard line for the Steelers second interception in the game on an overthrown pass by McCoy. Clark’s interception set the Steelers up at the Browns 24 yard line
On 1st play of drive, Roethlisberger to Ward for a 17 yard gain to set up 1st and goal.
On 2nd and goal, Roethlisberger to Miller for a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Steelers a 28-3 lead. Pittsburgh went 3 plays – 24 yards for the score.
Anthony Madison picked off Colt McCoy on the Browns next drive and Pittsburgh went 7 plays – 54 yards, capped off by a 41 yard Shaun Suisham field goal. A key play on the drive was a 26 yard reception by Antonio Brown.
The Steelers will hopefully look to rest several starters in the second half.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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