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Steelers beat Browns; back in playoff picture

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- After a slow start to the 2013 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are getting hot when the temperature on the field is turning frigid.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes and the Steelers won their third straight game to move back into the AFC playoff picture by beating the Cleveland Browns 27-11 on Sunday.

The Steelers are 5-6 after a 0-4 start. The Browns have lost five of six games and are 4-7. The loss for the Browns follows a 41-20 defeat in Cincinnati last week.

"Two blowouts -- we're not ready," Browns safety T.J. Ward said. "I'm tired of losing in this manner. It's a little different and you have an opportunity to win the game at the end, but we were out of the game in the fourth quarter. Nobody wants to play like that."

Roethlisberger is 16-1 against the Browns since his rookie year in 2004. The Steelers dominated both sides of the ball in the game played with a wind chill of 1 degree.

"Two 4-6 teams fighting and scrapping to stay in this thing," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Obviously they're (the Browns) not out of it, but this was significant."

The Browns lost more than a football game -- starting quarterback Jason Campbell was knocked out of the game in the third quarter with a concussion on a strip sack by cornerback William Gay.

"Anytime you can get to the quarterback is great," Steelers linebacker Jarvis Jones said. "When you're pressuring him, making him move his feet and he can't complete a pass, forcing turnovers -- that's just as good as a sack to me."

The injury left Brandon Weeden as the only quarterback on the roster. By the time he took over for Campbell, the Browns trailed 20-3.

Gay returned an interception thrown by Weeden 21 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to expand the Pittsburgh lead to 27-3.

Each team scored a field goal on its first possession. The game remained a defensive battle and a fight for field position in a strong wind until the Steelers took control in the final three minutes of the first half.

A punt by Spencer Lanning from the Cleveland 27 was returned 14 yards by Antonio Brown to the Steelers' 48. Roethlisberger needed only two passes to break the tie.

Brown streaked by cornerback Joe Haden while the ball was in the air and beat him on a 41-yard catch and run. Brown bobbled the ball briefly as he was falling in the end zone, but held on.

A mistake led to the Steelers taking a 13-3 lead with seven seconds left in the first half. Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya fumbled as he was being tackled at the end of an 8-yard run to the Pittsburgh 46 with 1:43 left in the half.

Roethlisberger moved his way downfield with short passes before Shaun Shisha kicked a 32-yard field goal.

The Steelers expanded their lead to 20-3 on a 4-yard pass from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The touchdown was set up on the strip sack by Gay and a 49-yard fumble return by safety Will Allen. Campbell was injured on the play.

Weeden threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Gordon and a two-point conversion to wide receiver Davone Bess with 3:13 to play to cut the score to 27-11.

Gordon caught 14 passes for a team-record 237 yards.

"After taking a loss like that, it means nothing," Gordon said.

NOTES: Steelers starting OL Lamar Woodley was inactive with a calf injury. Rookie Jarvis Jones replaced him. ... Steelers DE Brett Keitel was inactive with a foot injury. Iggy Hood replaced him. ... Browns starting IL Craig Robertson was inactive with a knee injury. Tank Carder took his place. Carder was injured in the second quarter and did not return.
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