The result was the best performance Polamalu has had in a few weeks.
Having a less structured role, Polamalu flew around the ball, and made plays. He forced two fumbles, nearly caused a third, and was a big part of the Steelers' best defensive performance this season.
Pro Football Focus, a football play evaluation web site, gave Polamalu a +5.6 grade, the highest on the team, for his efforts. He led all defensive players, a full two points ahead of Jason Worilds - his +3.3 is a career-high.
These grades should be taken in a more general sense, as PFF often re-grades them upon receiving access to the all-22 film from the NFL. However, having watched the game, it seems likely Polamalu's and Worilds's scores will remain close to where they are now.
Marcus Gilbert was the low man on offense, scoring a -2.5 (which seems like something that will increase upon a second viewing).
Jarvis Jones (-3.8) and Ike Taylor (-2.5) were the low men on defense, and Cameron Heyward received a -1.3. It will be interesting to see how Heyward's grade fluctuates, because more than the others, that doesn't seem accurate.
Incidentally, Browns right tackle Mitchell Schwartz received a positive grade of +0.6 for his performance. It's unclear how that's possible, but upon review, we expect that to change.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers crush Cleveland: Postgame news and updates
- Injury Report: Broken ankle feared for McLendon
- AFC Playoff Picture: Steelers trail Titans by a tiebreaker for sixth seed
- Jason Worilds contract: pending free agent made some money in Week 12
- Steelers vs. Browns final score: Four takeaways highlight Steelers 27-11 win over Cleveland
- Steelers take Round 1 of Rivalry Week
- Brown gets best of Haden in classic battle
- Defense finds the explosion it has been looking for internally
- Winners and Losers from Steelers win over Cleveland