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Nothing Goes Right as Steelers Get KO'd by the Browns

October 13, 2014
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Nothing Goes Right as Steelers Get KO'd by the Browns

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There was no comeback for the Steelers like the Browns attempted in the opener. The Browns just hammered the Steelers from start to finish, taking a 31-10 win to improve to 3-2.

They did it by making Ben Roethlisberger look like the journeyman quarterback, forcing him into a ugly day. Roethlisberger was 21-of-42 for 228 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

They played stout defense throughout the day, never making it look like the Steelers had much of a chance.

Brian Hoyer turned in another solid outing, pushing the Johnny Manziel drama further into the background. Hoyer was just 8-of-17 passing, but he had 217 yards and a touchdown.

Coupled with Ben Tate’s two touchdowns and 78 rushing yards, and the complete implosion of the Steelers, it was enough for the 31-10 Browns win.

The 21-point margin of victory was the Browns’ largest in the series since their 51-0, season-opening shutout on Sept. 10, 1989, and dropped the Steelers (3-3) into last place in the AFC North.

Cleveland had beaten the Steelers only five times in 32 games, counting one playoff contest, since re-entering the NFL in 1999. But after Pittsburgh dominated the first quarter with a run-heavy offense, this one wasn’t close.

Since the Steelers took a 27-3 halftime lead over the Browns during their 30-27 win in this season’s opener on Sept. 7, the Browns (3-2) have outscored the Steelers 55-13. The Steelers had only one touchdown in nine quarters until Ben Roethlisberger hit Lance Moore for the receiver’s first Steelers touchdown with 212 minutes remaining.

The Steelers are 19-19 dating to the start of the 2012 season after being 12-4 each of the previous two seasons.

The Steelers got off to the start they wanted — just as they did last month against the Browns — by outgaining them 80 yards to minus-8 a minute into the second quarter. But a mismanaged field goal attempt altered the game.

With Shaun Suisham lining up for a 35-yard attempt that would have given the Steelers a 6-0 lead, holder Brad Wing attempted to adjust the ball just as Suisham was approaching it, causing Suisham to pull up. Wing then ran to his left but was hauled down by Craig Robertson for a 15-yard loss.

Three plays later, Hoyer faked a handoff and rolled to his left — most Steelers didn’t appear to know he still had the ball — and found Cameron open downfield after the tight end eluded outside linebacker Arthur Moats for a 42-yard gain.

Rookie Isaiah Crowell then ran it in from the 5 for a 7-3 Browns lead.

Hoyer completed only eight passes, but averaged 27 yards on each of those completions.

Just over two minutes later, after the Steelers went three-and-out, Hoyer found Cameron over the middle with Cortez Allen in coverage for a 51-yard touchdown that quickly made it 14-3, and the rout was on.

After Roethlisberger failed to connect with Markus Wheaton on third down for a third consecutive Steelers possession, the Browns put together an 85-yard touchdown drive that was closed out by the first of Ben Tate’s two touchdown runs, an 8-yarder.

The drive was highlighted by Hoyer’s 24-yard completion off a play-action fake to Taylor Gabriel, two plays ahead of Crowell’s 16-yard run.

At that point, the Browns had more points (21) than the Steelers had passing yards (16), and Hoyer had outpassed Roethlisberger 146-16.

Roethlisberger had been 18-1 in his 11-season career against the Browns, with his only previous loss being a 13-6 defeat in Cleveland in 2009.

The Steelers came into the game with a 43-6 scoring advantage in the second quarter, only to get outscored 21-0 by the Browns.

The Browns tacked on 10 points in the second half on Billy Cundiff’s 40-yard field goal — set up by Hoyer’s play-action completion to tight end Jim Dray for 25 yards — and Tate’s 1-yard touchdown run to make it 31-3.

The Steelers now begin a three-game homestand against the Texans, Colts and Ravens that starts with a Monday night game against Houston on Oct. 20. The big question for them is can they bounce back or was this game an indication of what the rest of the season has to offer?

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