The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to begin separating from the Cleveland Browns late in the second quarter to take a 13-3 lead. The Browns start the second half with the ball.
The opening kickoff went for a touchback, and the first play was a run for five yards. Jason Campbell was forced to throw the ball away on second down to set up third and five. Will Allen came up to hold Greg Little to four yards on third down to force a punt.
After a long punt, the Steelers took over at the 23. Ben Roethlisberger went deep to Antonio Brown on first down, which Joe Haden nearly intercepted. Le’Veon Bell took a short pass over the middle for a first down though. Now on the ground, Bell fought for about six yards on first down. On second and four, Roethlisberger hit Emmanuel Sanders for six and another first.
From the 46-yard line, Roethlisberger looked to Heath Miller on the right sideline for another six yards. Bell fought his way for three yards to set up third and one. Jonathan Dwyer was stopped on third down with nowhere to go. The Steelers went for it though, and Dwyer was short again.
Taking over at their own 45, Josh Gordon got to the Steelers’ 46 on first down. Willis McGahee earned the first down. Allen held another short pass for minimal gain. Pressure forced a throwaway on second down to set up third and seven.
William Gay blitzed and sacked Campbell, who fumbled, recovered by Will Allen and returned all the way down to the four. One play later, Roethlisberger found Sanders underneath Buster Skrine for the touchdown to take a 20-3 lead.
Campbell was knocked out of the game for the second time with Brandon Weeden replacing him. His pass on second down was woefully off-target to set up third and seven. He hit his target on third down, but the pass forced his receiver to the ground, who was tagged down before the first down. The Browns went for it on a quarterback keeper on fourth down and converted.
Weeden hit Jordan Cameron for a first down after the conversion. McGahee converted on third and one a few plays later. Another conversion gave the Browns the ball on the 29. On third and nine, the pass fell incomplete. The Browns settled for a field goal attempt, which was shanked.
Antonio Brown caught his first pass of the second half for nine yards, and Bell converted the first down. The Steelers quickly were forced to punt. Curtis Brown was injured on the play.
From their own 18, the Browns dropped their first pass attempt of the drive. Lawrence Timmons held the back to a gain of four to set up third and six. Pressure by Jason Worilds and others forced a throwaway and a punt.
Bell was good for three yards on first down after the punt as the Steelers seemingly shift their focus to clock killing. He picked up another three on second down. On third and four, Roethlisberger took a shotgun snap and handed to Bell, who got first-down yardage.
Bell’s next two carries only netted three yards to set up third and seven. Back in the shotgun, Roethlisberger this time did go to the air, hitting Sanders for 10 yards on a ball thrown behind him. Mike Adams carried Bell forward for four yards. Bell gained five more on his own to set up third and one, and then earned the first down a play later.
With Bell getting a breather, Dwyer was held to no gain on first down as the clock neared the halfway point of the fourth quarter. An end-around to Brown was blown up for an eight-yard loss. Roethlisberger threw a short pass to Dwyer, who dropped it. On fourth and 18, the Steelers opted to go for it rather than attempt a long field goal. Or not, as Roethlisberger pooched a punt that was downed at the one.
Weeden went deep to Gordon on first down at the sideline, who beat Ike Taylor for nearly 50 yards. Polamalu then sacked Weeden and stripped the ball loose, recovered and returned by Cameron Heyward. The Steelers quickly went three and out, punting for a touchback. Weeden threw directly to Gay, who intercepted it and returned it for a touchdown to extend the lead to 27-3.
The Browns continued to play though, with Gordon taking a pass down to the Steelers’ 36 after beating Taylor. He beat Taylor again for 12 yards. Another 15 yards for Gordon set up first and goal as he passed 200 yards on 11 receptions. He then beat Taylor at the corner for the touchdown. They then hit the two-point conversion to get within 27-11 with three minutes left.
The Browns attempted an onside kick that was recovered by Dwyer. Dwyer carried for three yards on first down as the Browns began using their timeouts. On second down, he picked up another three. He was held to no gain on third down.
Gordon was left wide open for 20 yards on third and 10. Two consecutive passes intended for the running back were dropped after the balls were delivered behind him. On third and 10, Gordon made the conversion again in front of Taylor. On the next third down, pressure by Worilds allowed Al Woods to get a sack. The fourth and 16 pass was well-short of the first, ending the game with a few kneeldowns.