Big Ben continues dominance of Browns

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
3:46
AM ET
The Pittsburgh Steelers continued their domination over the Cleveland Browns as they improve to 15-1 over the past 16 meetings against their divisional foe.


AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarBen Roethlisberger left Thursday's game in the second quarter with an ankle injury, but came back in the second half


After being knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a high-ankle sprain, Ben Roethlisberger made a courageous effort returning in the third quarter and ultimately improving to 13-1 as a starter versus the Browns.

Elias tells us that matches the third-best regular-season record for any starting quarterback versus one team since 1960 (minimum: 10 starts). John Elway was 10–0 against the New England Patriots, Roger Staubach was 16–1 versus the New York Giants and Steve Young was 13–1 against the St. Louis Rams.

Roethlisberger finished with 280 pass yards, but the bulk of that came on a 79-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. For the game, Roethlisberger was surgical with the deep ball going 13-15 (86.7 percent) on passes 15 yards or longer.

Brown’s reception capped a special day for the second-year receiver who finished with a career-high 151 receiving yards on just five receptions. Over Brown’s last seven games he’s averaging 94.7 receiving yards per game and has three games of 100 or more yards receiving.

Of course we can’t talk about the Steelers without mentioning defense.

The Steelers have held their last three opponents under 10 points for the first time since 2006 and have only given up 19 points total during that stretch. In those three games, their opponents 33 possessions have resulted in 16 punts, eight turnovers, four field goals, one blocked field goal, one touchdown and three ends of half.

Since their sluggish 2-2 start the Steelers refocused on the turnover battle and on Thursday, used extra pressure to create takeaways. The additional pressure (five ore more pass rushers) forced Colt McCoy into an intentional grounding and an interception while the Browns were driving down four points late in the game. Overall, McCoy was 7-14 for 52 yards and two interceptions against added pressure.

The Steelers improve to 10-3 with a huge matchup against the 10-2 San Francisco 49ers in Week 15 on the horizon. All eyes will be on Roethlisberger’s ankle not just for that game, but for their playoff run as well. After all Big Ben is 10-3 in the postseason, which is the third-best in NFL history among quarterbacks with at lest 10 starts.

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