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(Sunday, October 18th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 14
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Ben Roethlisberger threw for 417 yards and two touchdowns as Pittsburgh downed Cleveland for the 12th consecutive time, by a 27-14 score at Heinz Field.
Roethlisberger improved to 10-0 lifetime against Cleveland, completing 23- of-35 passes, including scores to Hines Ward and Heath Miller.
Ward finished with 159 yards on eight receptions and Miller added 80 yards on five grabs for the Steelers (4-2), winners in three consecutive contests.
"Keep winning, that's what we have to do," said Roethlisberger immediately after the game about his team's rise from early troubles. "We gotta keep reaching for the ceiling."
Santonio Holmes posted five receptions for 104 yards while Rashard Mendenhall had 62 yards and a score on 17 rushes for Pittsburgh, which hasn't lost to their bitter rivals since a 33-13 setback on October 5, 2003.
Derek Anderson's start was an improvement over his career-worst performance last Sunday, throwing for 122 yards and a touchdown on 9-of-24 passing for the Browns (1-5), who couldn't maintain any momentum from last week's 6-3 win at Buffalo.
Josh Cribbs had a 98-yard kickoff TD and Lawrence Vickers added a catch for a score in defeat.
"Two things that we can't do was turnovers and big plays, and defensively, there was too much of both," said Browns head coach Eric Mangini.
The Browns clicked on their first drive of the third quarter, coming within 17-14 as Anderson hit Vickers for a one-yard score to complete a 66-yard march.
Mendenhall gave the Steelers some breathing room on the next series, scoring from the two for a 10-point game, and Jeff Reed was good from 39 yards with 5:42 to play in the contest for a 27-14 Pittsburgh lead.
Ryan Clark derailed the following Browns drive when he picked off Anderson at the one on a ball intended for Mohamed Massaquoi with 4:21 left in the fourth. Pittsburgh controlled the ball for the remainder of the game, picking up four key first downs and breaking into Cleveland territory before time ran out.
"We had some big plays on offense, some critical stops, and we'll continue to move forward," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "If we continue to push through on this journey we'll turn out all right, and that's our focus."
Late in the opening quarter, Roethlisberger fumbled and Cleveland recovered at the Steelers' 39, but the Browns' drive was derailed when Troy Polamalu picked off a pass at the 12 from Cribbs, who took the snap in the Wildcat formation.
That drive bled into the second quarter, and the Steelers went up 7-0 as Miller hauled in an eight yard TD pass.
Pittsburgh went up 14-0 with 4:28 to play in the half as Roethlisberger found Ward down the left sideline for a 52-yard scoring strike, but Cribbs brought the kickoff back 98 yards for a touchdown.
Ward's potential over-the-shoulder diving 13-yard TD reception late in the half was overturned by replay, and Reed hit a 32-yarder for a 17-7 game.
The Steelers racked up a 543-197 difference in total offense...Cribbs became the first player since 1950 to return a kickoff for a TD and throw an interception in a regular-season contest...Cleveland played without kicker Phil Dawson for the second consecutive week, and also missed tight end Steve Heiden...Pittsburgh saw the return of Polamalu for the first time since hurting his MCL in Week 1.
10/18 18:38:03 ET
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