Pittsburgh 28 – Cleveland 10
Ben Roethlisberger returned to the playing field this afternoon with cheers from the home crowd and led the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) to a 28-10 win over the Cleveland Browns (1-5) on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
Pittsburgh improved to 4-1 on the season and have taken over sole possession of 1st place in the AFC North.
Roethlisberger threw for 3 touchdowns and 257 yards in the win. Overall Roethlisberger was 16 of 27 for 257 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Roethlisberger threw an interception in the redzone on the Steelers very 1st drive but rebounded quickly.
On the Steelers 2nd drive, Roethlisberger drove the Steelers 81 yards on 11 plays and connected with Mike Wallace for a 29 yard touchdown pass on a 2nd and 10 at the Cleveland 29 to give the Steelers a 7-3 lead in the 2nd quarter.
Pittsburgh led 7-3 at the half and Roethlisberger was 7 of 11 for 80 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
In the 2nd half, Roethlisberger heated up in the 3rd quarter, leading the Steelers on a 5 play-96 yard touchdown drive on the Steelers 2nd drive of the quarter.
Pittsburgh started the drive on their own 4 yard line and on the 1st play from scrimmage, Roethlisberger threw a 50 yard strike to Mike Wallace while facing immense pressure, moving the ball to Cleveland’s 46 yard line.
On the next play Pittsburgh went right back to the pass and Roethlisberger passed deep left to Heath Miller for a 36 yard gain.
On 3rd and 8 at Cleveland’s 8 yard line, Roethlisberger found Hines Ward for an 8 yard touchdown pass to put the Steelers up 14-3 in the game.
Roethlisberger was 3 of 4 for 94 yards and a touchdown on the drive. It was a key drive for the Steelers that in effect put the game out of reach for the Browns who werent a serious threat offensively.
The 50 yard reception from Wallace on the drive was his fourth 40+ yard reception of the season. Wallace led the Steelers with 91 receiving yards on 3 receptions.
Leading 14-3 mid-way through the 4th quarter, Pittsburgh recovered a Cleveland fumble on a punt return and took over at Cleveland’s 13 yard line.
On a 3rd and 7 at the Cleveland 10 yard line, Roethlisberger passed short right to Rashard Mendenhall for an 8 yard gain and setting up a 1st and goal at the 2 yard line.
On 1st and goal, Mendenhall scored a 2 yard touchdown putting the Steelers up 21-3 in the 4th quarter.
Mendenhall rushed for 84 yards on 27 carries as the Steelers relied heavily at times on the run. Mendenhall also added 15 receiving yards in the win.
Colt McCoy and the Browns closed the Steelers lead to 21-10 on a McCoy 12 yard touchdown pass to Ben Watson with 4:09 remaining in the game.
McCoy making his 1st career start threw an interception on the Browns 1st drive of the game but McCoy did some good things throughout the game and showed some promise for a Browns team that lost Josh Cribbs early in the game on a hard head-to-head hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
McCoy was 23 of 33 for 281 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
Later in the game, Harrison also knocked Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi out of the game with a crushing hit. Harrison was tied with the team lead with 11 tackles and also had 1.5 sacks.
Roethlisberger, Steelers pushed their lead to 28-10 when Roethlisberger connected with Heath Miller for a 14 yard touchdown pass with 1:25 remaining on a 3rd and 6 passing call. It was Roethlisberger 3rd touchdown pass of the game.
Roethlisberger showed some rust at times but brought back the big plays to the Steelers passing attack. Roethlisberger’s big play guys were Mike Wallace (3REC-91YARDS) and Heath Miller (2REC-50YARDS) but Roethlisberger moved the ball around quite well.
Hines Ward led the Steelers with 5 receptions and a bright spot for the Steelers moving forward was rookie Emmanuel Sanders getting involved in the passing game.
On the Steelers 1st scoring drive, an 11 play-81 yard drive, a key play on the drive was Emmanuel Sanders 22 yard reception on a 3rd and 13 at Pittsburgh’s 48 yard line that led to Wallace’s 29 yard touchdown reception on the drive.
On the Steelers 3rd drive of the 2nd half, Sanders later had a 15 yard reception on a 3rd and 8 at the Steelers 10 yard line. It was a play where Sanders read and react on the play and found the open space for the 15 yard hookup.
Roethlisberger said after the game that he felt the Steelers left some plays out there but it was a good 1st start for Roethlisberger.
Defensively the Steelers were strong once again. Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison each led the way with 11 tackles and combined for 3.5 sacks in the win.
Timmons who is establishing himself as one of the most dynamic players in the game, had 2 sacks and an interception to go along with his 11 tackles.
The Steelers suffered one injury of concern in the game as head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that Brett Keisel has a hamstring injury that could keep him out of next Sunday’s game against Miami.
The 4-1 Steelers hit the road for a tough three game stretch with road games against Miami (3-2), New Orleans (4-2), and Cincinnati (2-3)