The Browns' vaunted offense collected more yards on kick returns than on plays from scrimmage, as the Steelers survive horrendous play from the special teams and first half red zone inefficiency to stake a bold claim that the AFC North is not up for grabs.
Ben Roethlisberger's performance in the second half further confirms what Mondesi's House put so forcefully earlier this week: that Ben has arrived as one of the league's elite quarterbacks. The Browns admirably stuffed the run as the game was on the line, and Ben made play after play, with his arm and with his legs, even noticeably wincing after scrambling for a critical first down in the red zone on the deciding scoring drive.
Pittsburgh's defense, after getting shredded by the Browns on 3rd downs all through the first half, responded well in the second half, despite never getting to Derek Anderson and not showing much of a pass rush altogether. James Harrison still managed to strip Jamal Lewis twice, with the Steelers recovering the second early in the second half, leading to the team's first touchdown.
As dispiriting as the special teams played, and it was plenty bad, the game signifies that the Steelers can win close games. In the Steelers six prior wins, they've won by an average of 22.3 points. In their two losses, it's been by an average of five points. If this game tells us anything, other than that the Steelers need desperate and immediate help on the special teams, it's that the team can overcome less than perfect performances for wins.