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Steelers Get Back On Winning Track In Trip To Cleveland – Week 11 Recap

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Pittsburgh Steelers jump back into a tie for first place in the AFC North after getting back on winning track in win over the Cleveland Browns.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were on a four game losing streak heading into their game against the Cleveland Browns, so they knew winning the game was the only objective. The Steelers didn’t win in the prettiest way possible, but they got back to .500 and were able to get back into a tie for first place in the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Steelers‘ defense has been below average all season, especially the pass defense. The Steelers had just 13 sacks heading into week 11, but were able to get to the Browns‘ quarterbacks 8 times on Sunday. There was even a historic sack when James Harrison got to Cody Kessler, and solidified himself as one of the greatest Steelers defensive players of all-time with his 77.5 sacks in a Steelers uniform. After the game, a teary-eyed Harrison spoke about what holding the Steelers all-time sack record means to him.

“It’s a tremendous honor, I guess I’m not trying to be a real vocal guy, I just go out there and I try to lead by example. Go out there and do it, and hopefully guys see that and they want to go out there and follow suit. . . I was thinking a lot about my father, and wishing that he was here for it.”

James Harrison has always led by example over the years, and guys like Ryan Shazier have followed suit. Shazier got the most important sack of the day when the stripped the ball out of Josh McCown‘s hand which led to rookie Javon Hargreave jumping on the ball in the endzone, giving the Steelers the 24-9 lead to end the game. Another defensive rookie made a huge play in the first quarter, when Artie Burns got his second interception of the season in just his second career start. The Steelers 25th ranked pass defense in terms of yardage played a great game by allowing only 176 yards between both of the Browns’ quarterbacks.

But the defense wasn’t the only guys filling up the stat sheet, running back Le’Veon Bell became the only Steelers player to ever record four games with at least 200 yards from scrimmage when he rushed for 146 yards and gained 55 yards receiving. Antonio Brown also added to the historic day when he became the second Steelers receiver to record at least 600 career receptions to go along with 8,000 career yards.

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Ben Roethlisberger led the offense up and down the field all game, and kept his team on the field for over 20 minutes in the first half. He didn’t do anything spectacular, but he was extremely methodical and did just enough to get the ball to his playmakers in space. He added to his already insane record against the Cleveland Browns, improving to 20-2 and even moved into a tie for first place for most wins in Cleveland by a quarterback with Derek Anderson, since the franchise returned in 1999.

The Steelers offense continuously stalled in the redzone, and only scored one touchdown right before the end of the half. But they were able to score on drives of 16, 16, and 15 plays because of Chris Boswell who was a perfect 3/3 on a day where kickers were far from perfect. Although their goal is to reach 30 points per game, a win is more important, and Mike Tomlin doesn’t care how they got in the win column.

“It was a timely road victory for us yesterday, an AFC North road victory. We had been on a four-game slide, so it was good to get back in the winning column. We got good contributions in all areas and in all three phases. Guys played hard. . . We have a desire to score touchdowns when we are down there, and oftentimes they were able to force us into settling for three points. We realize going forward that you can’t settle for three points. That generally will come back to bite you in games. So we have some things to work on. . .”

The Pittsburgh Steelers are lucky they are in the AFC North, because they stand at 5-5 and are somehow tied with the Baltimore Ravens for first place in the division. The Steelers currently sit at 2-1 in the division and still have one game against each division opponent to go. The Steelers will look to turn this win into a winning streak when they play against the Indianapolis Colts on Thanksgiving.

All statistics referenced from Pro Football Focus and Pittsburgh Steelers media guide