Running back James Conner rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns, as the Steelers quickly shook off their post-bye rust in a 33-18 victory over the Browns Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
- Cleveland’s first offensive possession resulted in a game’s first points, after an 11-play, 66-yard drive culminated in a 3-yard field goal by Greg Joseph.
Pittsburgh’s offense, meanwhile, netted just seven yards on its first three offensive possessions–including two punts and an interception by Browns’ safety Derrick Kindred. But the Steelers offense wouldn’t stay down for long.
Following a 41-yard field goal miss from Joseph early in the second quarter that would have given Cleveland a 9-0 lead, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger connected with receiver Antonio Brown on a 43-yard touchdown pass to put Pittsburgh ahead, 7-6.
The Steelers offense went back to work on a 16-play, 87-yard drive that ate up 7:12 of game clock and resulted in a second-straight scoring connection from Roethlisberger to Brown–this time for one yard–and the home team took a 14-6 lead into halftime.
The Steelers got the ball to start the second half and looked poised to take control of the football game on an impressive drive into Cleveland territory. However, on second and 10 from the Browns’ 25, Roethlsiberger found running back Stevan Ridley on a short pass to the 22, and Ridley was stripped of the football by cornerback Denzel Ward, who recovered the fumble and returned it to the 29.
The two teams would then exchange punts, and one play after Jordan Berry‘s boot was downed at the Cleveland five-yard line, Browns’ left tackle Desmond Harrison was flagged for holding Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree. Since the infraction took place in the end zone, Pittsburgh was awarded a safety and a 16-6 lead.
But just when it looked as if the home team would seize command of things, there appeared to be great confusion on the ensuing free kick, as the return unit treated it as if it was a punt, allowing the Browns to recover at the Pittsburgh 24.
- Four plays later, the Browns made it 16-12, thanks to a one-yard hook-up from Mayfield to Antonio Callaway.
- The Steelers answered right back with a five-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown run to make it 23-12.
From there, it was all Pittsburgh, as Conner proved to be a workhorse on the day, and helped put the finishing touches on a thorough victory, with a 22-yard touchdown run that gave the Steelers a 33-12 lead right before the two-minute warning.
- James Conner averaged 6.1 yards per carry and added another 66 yards on five receptions.
- As for Ben Roethlisberger, he completed 24 of 36 passes for 257 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Brown was Pittsburgh’s leading receiver on the day, totally 74 yards on six receptions and the two touchdowns from Ben Roethlisberger.
The win improved the Steelers record to 4-2-1, and they have a road date with the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.