Upon Further Review: Steelers Week 12

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
8:20
AM ET
A review of four hot issues from the Pittsburgh Steelers' 27-11 win against the Cleveland Browns:

[+] EnlargeBen Roethlisberger
Ron Schwane/USA TODAY SportsBen Roethlisberger had a solid game in a win against the Browns, throwing for 217 yards and two TDs.
Big Ben shows his value: The absurdity of why the Steelers would consider trading Ben Roethlisberger was highlighted late in the second quarter. Browns fans booed Brandon Weeden, a first-round draft pick in 2012, as he jogged onto the field to take over for the injured Jason Campbell. A Weeden incompletion led to a punt and two plays later Roethlisberger threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger's primary target on the play that changed the complexion of the game had been Jerricho Cotchery. But when he saw the Steelers' No. 1 receiver race past Browns cornerback Joe Haden, Roethlisberger launched a throw into a stiff wind. Brown made a nice adjustment on the ball to haul in his sixth touchdown catch of the season. While Roethlisberger continues to torment the Browns, the Browns continue to cycle through quarterbacks. They already have given up on Weeden and are likely to use their first pick in the 2014 draft on a quarterback. The Browns, who passed on Roethlisberger in the 2004 draft, know as well as any team that finding a franchise quarterback is not easy. And when you have one, you hang onto him.

Hurry back: Jason Worilds hasn't just put pressure on opposing quarterbacks the past two games. He also may have turned up the heat on left outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Woodley has missed the past two games with a calf injury, and the highest-paid defensive player in Steelers history can't seem to stay healthy. Woodley has missed 11 games since injuring his hamstring in a late October 2011 win against the Patriots. In the 25 games he has played in since returning from that injury, Woodley has managed only nine sacks. Worilds has started for Woodley the past two games, and the fourth-year veteran has recorded a sack and accumulated double digits in quarterback hits. Worilds was credited with six pressures against the Browns.

Line shines against Browns: The Steelers averaged just 2.5 yards per carry, but they ran the ball well enough to stick with it and achieve a perfect 50-50 split in running 34 times and attempting 34 passes as well. That balance helped keep the Browns from teeing off on Roethlisberger. So did an offensive line that has allowed only one sack in the past two games and didn't yield any to the Browns. "I thought they did a nice job," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of the offensive line. "I appreciate keeping him clean."

Defensive line shuffle? Defensive end Al Woods recorded two sacks and two quarterback pressures, and he could play significant snaps if starting nose tackle Steve McLendon is lost for the rest of the season because of a broken ankle. The Steelers went with Woods instead of nose tackle Hebron Fangupo after McLendon went down at the end of the first quarter, and the former took advantage of his first extended playing time this season. Tomlin will provide an update on McLendon later today, but if he is sidelined for the rest of the season, Woods, Fangupo and Ziggy Hood could form a rotation at nose tackle.

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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