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Steelers take down Browns for third straight win
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Ben Roethlisberger finished with 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 22-of-34 efficiency as the Pittsburgh Steelers took down the Cleveland Browns, 27-11, in an AFC North battle.
Antonio Brown totaled 92 yards and a score on six catches, and Emmanuel Sanders also recorded a TD reception for the Steelers (5-6), winners of three straight heading into a Thanksgiving matchup at Baltimore. The Steelers and Ravens are among six teams tied for the final AFC wild card berth.
"Right now we're playing playoff football," said Sanders. "We're not worrying about anything else."
Pittsburgh's defense forced four turnovers, including three fumbles, and William Gay contributed a 21-yard interception return for a TD in the fourth quarter.
Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell combined to pass for 333 yards, one score and one interception on 27-of-52 attempts for the Browns (4-7), who slid to their fifth loss in six games.
Campbell left the game twice, the final time late in the third quarter with an apparent upper-body injury later downgraded to a concussion.
Josh Gordon became the first Cleveland receiver since Braylon Edwards in 2006 to record back-to-back 100-yard games, finishing with a career-best 237 yards on 14 catches and his club's lone end-zone foray.
"It's disappointing," Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. "Losing is never easy. We weren't good enough today. We have lost some of the control we had in our own future, but we will bounce back and be ready to play next week."
Trailing by 10 early in the third, Cleveland's defense held on two straight runs by Jonathan Dwyer with one yard to go and replay upheld that Dwyer was stuffed for no gain on fourth down.
The Browns took over on their own 45, but five plays later, Campbell was sacked by Ryan Clark, and Will Allen returned the fumble to the Browns' 4-yard line.
Campbell took his time getting up off the turf, and slowly made his way to the sideline where he was taken to the locker room on a cart.
"I talked to the officials about that," Chudzinski said. "I felt like he was hit in the head on that. They didn't feel that way."
It was 20-3 for Pittsburgh on the following play as Sanders caught a Roethlisberger pass in the end zone.
Cleveland used 13 plays on the following drive to get into field-goal position, but Billy Cundiff's 46-yard try was taken wide left by the wind.
On the Browns' next touch, Troy Polamalu stripped the ball away from Weeden and Cameron Heyward returned it to the Cleveland 44-yard line, but the Steelers came up empty on the ensuing series. Nonetheless, on the next play after the punt, Gay stepped in front of a Weeden pass and returned it 21 yards to make it 27-3.
Weeden found Gordon for a 1-yard score with 3:13 remaining, and Gordon added a conversion pass for a 16-point spread. Dwyer recovered the onside kick, but neither team moved the ball for the remainder of the contest.
Shaun Suisham capped the first drive of the game with a 47-yard field goal, and Cundiff equalized with a wind-aided 49-yard make to end Cleveland's first possession.
Brown then wrestled the ball away from a defender and fell into the end zone to complete a 41-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger with 2:33 left in the second quarter.
Chris Ogbonnaya coughed up the ball near midfield on the Browns' next touch, and Polamalu recovered with 1:43 to play in the half. Suisham connected on a 32-yarder and the visitors led 13-3 at the break.
"It was definitely nice getting turnovers," Polamalu said, "But we gave up a lot of big plays on the back end. If we want to compete with the elite teams in this league, we can't do that."
Pittsburgh has won six of the last seven against Cleveland overall, and has taken 12 of 15 in Ohio since the Browns' return in 1999 ... Gordon's previous best was a 146-yard performance in a 31-27 win at Minnesota on Sept. 22. He has recorded five 100-yard efforts this season and six in his young career ... The Steelers played without linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf) and defensive end Brett Keisel (foot), who also missed last week's 37-27 win versus Detroit ... Browns linebacker Tank Carder suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and did not return.
11/24 19:31:51 ET