“The last play, they pressured us and the pocket kind of collapsed,” McCoy said. “I wasn’t able to completely step into the throw.
The Pittsburgh Steelers won a defensive struggle, 14-3, Thursday night at Heinz Field.
PITTSBURGH -- Two forced and recovered fumbles, one interception and a goal line stand were not enough for the Cleveland Browns as they fell 14-3 to their AFC North Division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, at Heinz Field Thursday night.
Of the three turnovers the Browns forced the Steelers into making, two of the ensuing drives stalled when Pittsburgh’s defense tallied interceptions. The third resulted in a Brad Maynard punt.
“When you get turnovers, you’ve got to get points,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “When they turn the ball over down in our end, we had a long field to go and it would be different if they turned it over in their end. When you get the ball, you’ve got to try and get points off of it. We had the two fumbles in our end and then, Mike Adams’ interception at midfield gave us a chance, but we’ve got to finish.”
The Browns failed to convert the Steelers miscues into points, while the Steelers turned a late interception of quarterback Colt McCoy into a 79-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Brown hauled in the 79-yard touchdown pass and extended the Steelers’ lead to 14-3 over the Browns with 2:52 left to play in regulation. The two-play, 80-yard drive was set up by William Gay’s interception of McCoy in the end zone on a pass intended for wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.
Had McCoy completed the pass to Massaquoi, the Browns would have taken a 9-7 lead with the extra point still to be attempted.
“We kept them out of the end zone, except for once on that last big pass,” Shurmur said. “There are some things there that we can build on. At times, we moved the football well, but we’ve got to get in the end zone. We’ve got to get in the end zone early in the game and we’ve got to get in the end zone when we’re fighting to go ahead. We’ve got to. It a tough battle. I’m disappointed that we lost. It’s a credit to the Steelers. They did what they had to do to win tonight. What we’ve got to do is go home and regroup and get ready to play Arizona.”
McCoy completed 18 of 35 attempts for 209 yards with the two interceptions. He was trying to put that final pass into Massaquoi’s range without allowing the defender a clear path to the football.
“The last play, they pressured us and the pocket kind of collapsed,” McCoy said. “I wasn’t able to completely step into the throw. I saw Mo one-on-one and just tried to give him a chance to make the catch. I just didn’t get enough on it. The guy made a nice play. Basically, that was the game.”
Both McCoy and Roethlisberger returned to the game after suffering injuries.
Roethlisberger was injured onScott Paxson’s five-yard sack in the second quarter, but returned to the field after halftime. McCoy appeared to be hit in the helmet by the crown of Steelers linebacker James Harrison’s helmet.
The hit drew a flag and knocked McCoy from the game for a couple plays.
“I guess I was good enough to go back into the game,” McCoy said. “It got me for a little bit. It got my hand. I’m not sure how, but it got my hand.”
Kicker Phil Dawson connected on a 20-yard field goal and gave the Browns a 3-0 lead over the Steelers with 9:22 left in the first quarter.
The 10-play, 78-yard drive started at the 20-yard line after Joshua Cribbs returned Shaun Suisham’s opening kickoff 22 yards. Following
McCoy then completed a 33-yard pass to tight end Evan Moore. Moore started on the right side of the formation, ran a diagonal route across the middle of the field and jumped to make the catch before running for extra yardage. Two plays after Moore’s big gain, Cribbs hauled in a 25-yard catch and gave the Browns a first-and-goal from Pittsburgh’s five-yard line.
“We tried to run the ball off-tackle and we didn’t get it in,” Shurmur said. “I felt like it was important that we got points there. At some other point in the game, I would’ve thought about going for it, but early in the game, the first drive, we want to get points.”