This was more than a rare win over the Steelers. It was an invaluable learning experience for a young team.
The Browns found a way to hold onto a lead in the fourth quarter, something that has eluded them in the past. Ahead by six points, the Browns defense forced four turnovers on five drives in the fourth quarter.
"To finish a close game like this is big for us," running back Trent Richardson said. "You find your confidence and you know how to take that big game and just finish."
Before Sunday's game, Cleveland was 7-18 in games decided by seven points or fewer since 2010, according to STATS Inc. The 18 losses by seven points or fewer are the most by any NFL team during that span.
In its previous two games, Cleveland had a lead in the fourth quarter and lost it. The Ravens scored the go-ahead touchdown against the Browns with 4:26 remaining, and the Cowboys tied the game with two seconds in the fourth before winning in overtime.
On Sunday against Pittsburgh, the Browns defense shut out the Steelers for the entire second half.
"Yeah, we came in there ready to play," defensive tackle Phil Taylor told The Plain Dealer. "I don't think they were ready to play this week. Baltimore kinda beat them up last week and they were down to their third-string quarterback and we just [had] to take advantage of what they [gave] us."
STAT THAT STICKS: 8 -- Turnovers forced by the Browns, which ties a franchise record. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Browns took the ball away eight times in 1989 (at Steelers) and 1971 (at Colts, when they were in Baltimore).
OVERHEARD: “The biggest thrill was to see who was leaving early -- Steelers fans. It was great to see our crowd -- a tremendous crowd -- everybody standing and cheering at the end. I’ve been here the other way. A great win for our team. Great win for our fans. It’s big. Not just for me, but it’s big for our franchise. We’ve got a young team. Most of these guys have no idea what our record is against the Steelers and how the rivalry has become one-sided.” -- New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on his first victory over his former team.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Browns (3-8) play at the Oakland Raiders (3-8), who have lost four straight games.