It was another picturesque day in Pittsburgh, PA for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns first matchup of 2015 at Heinz Field. Leading up to the game, both teams weren't sure who their starting quarterback would be, but it turned out to be Johnny Manziel for the Browns, and Landry Jones for the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger, who injured his foot during the Week 9 win over the Oakland Raiders, served as the team's backup quarterback for this Week 10 AFC North grudge match.
The Browns won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half, which gave Pittsburgh the football first. Pittsburgh wasn't able to do anything with their opening drive, and resulted in Jordan Berry's first punt of the afternoon. On the Browns first play from scrimmage, Johnny Manziel fumbled the football and it was recovered by Arthur Moats for the first turnover of the game, and gave the Steelers the ball at the Cleveland 12-yard line.
The Steelers only gained 6 yards on the series, and resulted in a 24-yard field goal by Chris Boswell to give the Steelers a 3-0 lead. On the third down play, Landry Jones' ankle was rolled into, forcing him to leave the game, and Ben Roethlisberger started warming up for a return to the lineup.
Manziel and the Browns responded with a quality drive, buoyed by Manziel's play making ability outside of the pocket. A big pass play to Travis Benjamin for 61-yards equated in a Browns field goal to make the game tied 3-3.
Roethlisberger took over on the second drive, and the offense responded. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a big third down play, and a deep 44-yard pass down the right sideline to Martavis Bryant to move the Steelers into the red-zone. The drive stalled and equated in Boswell's second field goal of the day, this time a 33-yard kick which gave Pittsburgh a 6-3 lead with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
After Manziel moved the ball into Steelers' territory, the drive stalled forcing a Andy Lee punt to end the first quarter. Despite Landry Jones returning from the locker room, Roethlisberger stayed in the game for the Steelers' first drive of the second quarter. After Roethlisberger connected for another big play to Martavis Bryant, but was caught from behind by a Browns defensive back and caused a fumble, which was recovered by Cleveland.
Manziel and the Browns offense took over at the Pittsburgh 15-yard line, and Pittsburgh continued to struggle with Manziel's sandlot style of play. Cleveland, aided by an Arthur Moats facemask penalty, moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory, but the Pittsburgh defense moved the Browns backwards, which forced another Lee punt with 7:34 left in the opening half.
Pittsburgh again drove the football down the field, and after a defensive pass interference penalty on Cleveland which put the Steelers in the red-zone, Roethlisberger was sacked on third down which made it look like another Boswell field goal, but on the kick Cleveland was flagged for a personal foul, and gave the Steelers a first down. On their next play from scrimmage Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a touchdown, and went back to Brown for the two-point conversion to make the score 14-3 Pittsburgh with 3:27 left in the half.
On the Browns' next play from scrimmage, Manziel hit Andrew Hawkins for a completion, but Steelers safety Will Allen caused a fumble which was recovered by Pittsburgh. The fumble was the second turnover caused by the Pittsburgh defense on the day. Pittsburgh moved the football into the red-zone, and on third and goal a pass to Brown was stopped at the one-foot line. Mike Tomlin elected to go for it on fourth down, and the pass intended for Bryant fell incomplete, which gave the ball back to Cleveland with 1:35 left in the half.
The Browns failed to gain a yard on their next drive, and Lee punted the ball back to Pittsburgh with 1:05 left in the half, with one timeout in their back pocket. It didn't take Roethlisberger long to find his favorite receiver, Anntonio Brown, for a first down, and Martavis Bryant on the next snap for a Steelers touchdown. The 32-yard touchdown, with the Boswell point after touchdown, made the score 21-3 Pittsburgh as they headed into the locker room for halftime.
To start the second half, Cleveland was able to string together a couple first downs before a failed third down play, and another Lee punt was the result. Ben Roethlisberger continued to quarterback the team, this time taking over at his own 12-yard line to start their first drive of the second half.
It took Ben Roethlisberger throwing deep to Antonio Brown deep on consecutive plays, both drawing defensive pass interference, to move the ball into the red-zone. The drive stalled and resulted in a 25-yard Boswell field goal giving Pittsburgh a 24-3 lead with 8:33 left in the third quarter.
Maniel responded with a drive of his own, moving the Browns down the field for the majority of the third quarter, and on an amazing escape looked to score the Browns' first touchdown of the day, but was ruled down at the half-yard line. On the next play, Isaiah Crowell looked to score a touchdown, but a Cleveland holding call negated the play. A Ryan Shazier sack pushed Cleveland's possession even further back, and on 4th down from the 7-yard line Manziel's pass was picked off, giving the Steelers the ball back with 13:45 left in the 4th quarter.
On the next possession, Roethlisberger's pass was intercepted on third down by Jordan Poyer, and gave the ball right back to Manziel and the Browns' offense. It took Manziel only two plays to connect with Gary Barnidge for the Browns first touchdown of the game. Travis Coons missed the extra point to make the score 24-9 Steelers with 12:28 left in the game.
When Roethlisberger took the field again, after DeAngelo Williams was able to grind out a few first downs, he hit Antonio Brown over the middle for a 56-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Brown did a flip entering the end zone which ignited the Heinz Field crowd. Boswell hit the upright on his extra point, which made the score 30-9 with 9:01 left in the game.
The Browns were able to move the ball throughout the fourth quarter, but were turned away multiple times on fourth down. Pittsburgh, taking advantage of the last Browns turnover on downs, iced the game with a long drive which ended in the victory formation.
The victory moved the Steelers record to 6-4, while dropping the Browns' record to 2-8. The Steelers have a bye week in Week 11 before returning to action in Week 13 with a trip to the Pacific Northwest to play the Seattle Seahawks.