To start the second half, the Browns looked as though they were going to be pinned deep back into their own end, but on what was originally thought to be a third down stop, Javon Hargrave was called for defensive holding to give Cleveland a new set of downs. The next series had Artie Burns get flagged for not one, but two, personal foul penalties and before you knew it the Browns had marched down the field, all on the ground, and Tyrod Taylor was diving into the endzone to tie the game 7-7.
Looking for an answer to the deflating drive, Roethlisberger hit Smith-Schuster on a quick slant which turned into a 67-yard catch-and-run setting the Steelers offense well into the red zone. It looked like Conner had his second touchdown of the day, but a holding on Maurkice Pouncey called the play back. On the next play Roethlisberger hit Justin Hunter for a touchdown, but an illegal hands-to-the-face call on Maurkice Pouncey called that play back as well. On 2nd-and-goal from outside the red zone, Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown with the back shoulder throw for the touchdown, and gave Pittsburgh a 14-7 lead.
When the Steelers defense needed a stop, T.J. Watt stood tall with his third sack of Taylor, forcing another Browns punt. With good field position, James Conner took over and after consecutive runs scampered into the endzone for his second touchdown of the game.
After the Chris Boswell point-after, the Steelers’ extended their lead 21-7 with 5:23 left in the third quarter.
The Steelers’ defense forced a punt, and the offense was moving the football down the field at the end of the third quarter.