Steelers top Browns to take AFC North lead

Pittsburgh 14, Cleveland 3
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger winces as he is helped from the field after injuring his left leg in the second quarter of Thursday's game against the Browns. He returned at the start of the third quarter.



PITTSBURGH — Quarter­back Ben Roethlisberger played through a painful left leg injury to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 14-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.

Roethlisberger passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns, including a 79-yard scoring strike to Antonio Brown with 2:52 remaining to help the Steelers win for the eighth time in their last nine games.

Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall had 76 yards on 18 carries and Antonio Brown caught five passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.

Roethlisberger went to the locker room for X-rays following a gruesome second-quarter sack but returned to start the second half, passing for 178 yards after the break.

Roethlisberger completed 4 of 6 passes during the third quarter after sitting out the final 6 minutes of the first half with the injury.

Roethlisberger, who threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery in the first quarter to help the Steelers take a 7-3 lead that they held after three quarter, gingerly limped off the field after lying on the ground for several minutes after being sacked by Scott Paxson. Defensive lineman Brian Schaefering also was in on the tackle, causing Roethlisberger’s left ankle to bend awkwardly.

Roethlisberger was noticeably limping on the field and sidelines during the third quarter.

Charlie Batch finished the half in place of Roethlisberger. Batch was
0 for 2 and was sacked once.

Roethlisberger was 12 for 15 for 150 yards and the touchdown to Cotchery 8:48 into the game after Phil Dawson kicked a 20-yard field goal to give Cleveland the lead after the opening drive. The Steelers needed only five plays and 3:10 during their first possession to march 73 yards to take the lead over their AFC North rivals.