Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport
The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns to end a disappointing year on a high note.
The Pittsburgh Steelers ended a relatively disappointing season with a victory on Sunday by beating the Cleveland Browns, 24-10, at Heinz Field. Meanwhile, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur likely ended his tenure with a painful loss.
A defensive game from the beginning, the Browns got some offense out of first-time starting quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who went 22-for-32 and 204 yards, but it wasn't enough to overcome four turnovers that Pittsburgh turned into points.
The Browns and Steelers combined for four punts, an interception and a missed field goal before the teams traded field goals in the second quarter. The Steelers took advantage of a fumble by Browns receiver Josh Gordon on Cleveland's 25-yard line, and Ben Roethlisberger hit tight end Leonard Pope for a 1-yard touchdown pass to give Pittsburgh the 10-3 lead just before halftime.
Cleveland faked a punt on a 4th-and-5 for a 35-yard run by punter Ray Ventrone to spark a 6-play, 80-yard drive on the first possession of the second half to tie the game at 10.
But the Steelers responded with an 80-yard drive of their own, then earned some breathing room by scoring another touchdown off a fumble recovery at midfield. Pittsburgh cornerback Cortez Allen brought the loose ball back 21 yards to set up a short scoring drive that gave the Steelers a 24-10 lead with three minutes to play in the game.
Winners: Roethlisberger didn't put up gaudy numbers by going 15-of-23 for 134 yards, but he threw three touchdowns without an interception and helped the Steelers take advantage of Cleveland turnovers.
Losers: Browns fans, who had to watch their rookie starting quarterback and rookie starting running back sit out in the loss. Making it more painful was an injury to Gordon.
Fan react: Mac Miller showed his support for the Steelers while the infamous Cleveland Browns' jersey was updated to include quarterback Thaddeus Lewis.
Fantasy stud: In a game that lacked any impressive offensive numbers, it was the Steelers' exceptional defense that produced a fumble recovery and an interception.
Odds: Opening as 10-point favorites, the Pittsburgh Steelers scored a late touchdown to beat the spread.
The Steelers got quite banged up. David DeCastro suffering a stinger, Brett Keisel and cornerback Keenan Lewis left with knee injuries, and all three were ruled out for the rest of the game.