The Steelers entered the second half doing their part to get to the postseason, leading 14-0 over the Browns and receiving the ball at halftime. Meanwhile, the Ravens and Dolphins both entered halftime trailing.
Starting at the 20, Ben Roethlisberger escaped pressure early and looked for Antonio Brown down the field, but the ball went through his hands on a tall pass that he attempted to high-point. Le’Veon Bell carried for five yards on second down. On third and five, Roethlisberger found Jerricho Cotchery, but he was a yard shy of the first down.
Starting at the 29 after the punt, the defense chased Edwin Baker to the sideline for maybe about half a yard. Greg Little’s first catch of the day was good for nine yards. On third and one, the Browns converted just their second third down attempt in seven tries with Baker.
Stevenson Sylvester brought the back down after a short gain on first down. Jason Campbell looked downfield and hit his target for 17 yards across midfield. After an incomplete pass, Baker was held to just three yards, but Steve McLendon was injured on the play. Troy Polamalu stopped the third down pass three yards short, and for the second time, the Browns failed to convert on fourth down.
Taking over at the 33, Roethlisberger launched on deep to Brown, but the two could not connect. Bell picked up another five yards, mimicking the Steelers’ first drive of the half. This time Brown grabbed a short pass and fought for the first down, his fourth reception of the game.
Bell burst up the middle for nine yards, in the process surpassing Franco Harris’ rookie total yardage record—in one less game. On the next play, Brown caught his fifth pass of the game, becoming the first player ever with at least five receptions for 50 yards in every game of a season.
He added another reception on the next play, and Heath Miller gave the Steelers a first down at the 15. Roethlisberger’s pass was a bit high and off the fingertips of Brown. Roethlisberger somehow escaped pressure on second down and nearly hit Cotchery for the touchdown, but he couldn’t hold on, and was injured on the play. Brown caught a short pass, but only gained two yards on the play. The Steelers settled for a field goal.
The Browns began at the 20, with Campbell’s pass intended for Josh Gordon bouncing off the receiver. On second down, Baker ripped off another run up the middle for 14 yards. On the next play, Will Allen ripped Baker down for no gain. Chris Carter supplied pressure on second down to force an incompletion. On third and 10, Campbell was able to float a nice pass to his tight end for the unlikely first down.
With a new set of down across midfield, Campbell hit Gordon on second down for a 21-yard gain. Campbell went to the end zone, but Cortez Allen nearly intercepted the ball. On third and one, the Steelers were able to hold Baker short of the first down, but he punched through on fourth down, and the Browns were flagged for a delay of game. on the fourth down attempt, Ike Taylor shielded Gordon off the ball for an incomplete pass—the third turnover on downs of the day.
Brown caught his eighth pass of the game for a first down, and then Bell carried for seven more to reach 80 yards on the ground. on second and three, Bell picked up the first. Roethlisberger threw one up deep to Derek Moye, but it was intercepted.
Vince Williams dragged Baker down on first down after a modest gain. Campbell attempted to lead his tight end after escaping pressure, but he could not connect. On third and six, Lawrence Timmons wrestled Campbell down at the five for the Steelers’ second sack of the game to force a punt.
Jonathan Dwyer gained about two yards on first down from the 22 after a facemask on the return. On second down, he picked up another two. Brown caught his ninth pass on third down, but it was short of the first, settling for another field goal.
Cameron Heyward pressure Campbell on first down, but he was able to get off a desperation heave that fell incomplete to Gordon. On second down, Gordon was good for about seven yards. Allen broke up the third down pass, setting up fourth and three, and the Browns elected to punt despite being down 20-0.
On first down, Roethlisberger again looked toward Moye down the field, but the pass was low and broken up. On second down, Felix Jones barely regained the line of scrimmage. Roethlisberger scrambled on third down a yard shy of the first down. The Steelers punted with six minutes remaining.
Heyward pushed Joe Thomas back for a sack on first down. Campbell regained that yardage and more on a pass to set up third and five, and Gordon converted the first. Campbell’s next pass was headed nowhere in particular. Josh Cooper somehow scooped a pass off the ground for six yards. On third down, Gordon again was good for the conversion. A few plays later, Fozzy Whittaker managed to get free on a short pass for a touchdown to make it 20-7.
Polamalu recovered the onside kick. Bell carried for three yards on first down. Another two yards made it third and five as the Browns used their second timeout with 1:49 remaining. An awkward pitch play only gained one yard, leaving Bell with 90 rushing yards.
Polamalu forced Whittaker out of bounds for three yards on first down. Campbell found Gordon for 20 yards on second down with the clock running. Timmons came down with an interception two plays later after the ball bounced off Whittaker’s hands. A couple of kneel downs ended the game as the Steelers finished the season on a 6-2 run to end at 8-8. They now play the waiting game to see if there’s any football left in the 2013 season.