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Winners and Losers from Steelers 30-27 win over the Browns in Week 1

A bipolar performance on both sides of the ball makes something of a muddled Ws/Ls list, but many of them are pretty self-explanatory.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger - Not to go all Peyton Manning here, but if not for some fairly obvious protection problems, it had the chance to be one of the masterpieces of Roethlisberger's career. Decisive, on point and on schedule, and he didn't work much in the no-huddle. The offense got off schedule in the second half due to a few gaffes, and he had a few missed throws, but a great performance all around.

Le'Veon Bell - We've written this many times, but Bell is going to be a yards-from-scrimmage machine this year. All told, he had 206 total yards and a touchdown, including an exquisite 38-yard scamper in which he broke the ankles of several Browns defenders. He also faked CB Joe Haden out of his jock on a screen pass in the first quarter. Speaking of Haden....

Antonio Brown - Joe Haden isn't happy Brown is coming back in Week 6. Brown drug him up and down the field at will, drawing two penalties and scoring a 35-yard touchdown by out-running him after getting behind him. Brown is one of the best receivers in the game. If I write that often enough, maybe people outside Pittsburgh will respect it.

Markus Wheaton - Player of the Game (getting to that shortly), not just for the fact he duplicated his career amount of catches (six, for 97 yards and the game-clincher with nine seconds left), but the level of expectations going into the game were met and exceeded in just two quarters of play. It takes serious skill and athleticism to make the catch he made on the sideline in the second quarter.

William Gay - When the defense needed to make a play, and no one else would, Gay batted a pass and stuffed a short screen for a loss on Cleveland's final two drives - amazingly, preventing the Browns from scoring. That wasn't easy in the second half.


Marcus Gilbert - One of the worst overall games of his career. While his tackle linemate Kelvin Beachum didn't fare much better, Gilbert was beaten repeatedly by his assignment whereas Beachum appeared to only really struggle with Paul Kruger. Pass protection was, is and seemingly will continue to be a problem for this group. The four-year contract he signed this off-season will be the subject of grumbling all season, I'm sure.

Ike Taylor - A 15-yard penalty, a dropped interception and a touchdown allowed, the last two on that list happened during Cleveland's comeback from a 27-3 halftime deficit. Upon one viewing, Taylor looked poor enough all around to think we can probably call Baltimore's offensive game plan with a pretty high degree of accuracy.