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With DeAngelo Williams out, onus on Big Ben to keep playoff hopes alive

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers' passing game heated up late in the first half, and the Steelers lead the Browns 14-9.

That must continue, considering the circumstances.

Fitz Toussaint is the tailback. DeAngelo Williams was sent to the locker room with an ankle injury. The offense has one Ben Roethlisberger interception, one Antonio Brown fumble and one Chris Boswell missed field goal.

And, oh yeah, the Jets were losing to Buffalo in the first half.

The stage is set for vintage Steelers heroics on the way to the playoffs, but Cleveland has come to play, and the Steelers are letting a bad team hang around in a divisional road game.

It's time to play a little warmer than this 30-degree northeast Ohio day. Surely the Steelers do understand the gravity of the moment. They said so all week.

The onus is on Roethlisberger and the passing game to win this one. Clean up the turnovers and the Steelers will be fine. That's been a problem of late, with Roethlisberger throwing three of them in his past four quarters.

The passing game had looked a bit out of sorts since that explosion against Denver two weeks ago. Roethlisberger talked at length with Martavis Bryant about a route miscommunication that led to an easy interception for Cleveland early in the game.

Connecting with Markus Wheaton on a 40-yarder downfield late in the second quarter got Pittsburgh more comfortable. Three plays later, Roethlisberger rifled the football into Antonio Brown's outstretched hands over the middle for the quarterback's second touchdown of the day.

The Browns' secondary isn't equipped to handle the Steelers for 60 minutes. The only way to change that is by giving the ball away.

Move the ball methodically downfield, let the defense do the rest. The Steelers are getting enough pressure to make Austin Davis uncomfortable.