Prisuta's Further Review: Roethlisberger in relief

Ben Roethlisberger's second career relief appearance at quarterback was his first since his first NFL game, so it had been awhile.

It had been since Sept. 19, 2004 at Baltimore, to be exact, that Roethlisberger had come off the bench.

That role reversal took some getting used to on Sunday afternoon against the Browns.

"Definitely different," Roethlisberger confirmed after throwing for 379 yards and three touchdowns in support of starter Landry Jones in the Steelers' 30-9 victory over the Browns.

"I didn't expect to have to go in that early, especially."

Roethlisberger entered the game after Jones suffered a sprained ankle on what turned out to be the last offensive snap of the Steelers' second possession.

They kicked a field goal for a 3-0 lead with 10:59 left in the first quarter in the immediate wake of Jones' injury.

Roethlisberger took it from there.

"He said, 'Congratulations on your first win as a starter,'" Jones reported regarding a sideline conversation with Roethlisberger late in the game. "I said, 'I appreciate it, man. Thanks for coming in.'"


The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field in Week 10.

JOB ONE:** The Steelers knew the Browns came in ranked No. 31 in the NFL in rushing at 82.3 yards per game. But the Steelers also knew the Browns had combined for 349 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in two games against the Steelers last season (a 30-27 Steelers' win on Sept. 7 at Heinz Field and a 31-10 Browns' victory on Oct. 12 in Cleveland).

The Steelers were also still smarting from having allowed 440 total net yards and 139 yards on the ground in their 38-35 win over Oakland on Nov. 8.

So the defense had a definite agenda on Sunday.

"One thing we wanted to establish this week, especially, was stop the run," defensive end Cam Heyward said.

The Browns finished with 15 yards rushing on 14 carries (a 1.1 average), including an 11-yard scramble by quarterback Johnny Manziel.

"Giving up 15 yards, and one of them to a QB scramble, that's pretty big but it's one game," Heyward continued. "I'm not gonna say it's here to stay. We need to continue to do that, be consistent. That's a real challenge for us right now."

Added safety Will Allen: "The coaches put an emphasis on it. It was a huge emphasis for this week, especially. We came in with the mindset of playing 9-on-7 football.

"We just put our minds to it and knuckled up. The front seven, they were getting after it, playing hard and playing physical. And the coaches put a high demand on it, pointing out guys and telling us 'this is what you have to do.'

"We realized how many yards we gave up to them rushing the ball last year. We wanted to stop that but it has to continue. It has to be our nature, our identity and who we are."

HEEEATH: Head coach Mike Tomlin said he thought Jones would have been healthy enough to re-enter the game had Roethlisberger been forced out.

But in the event Jones and Roethlisberger would have turned up unavailable, the offense would have been severely limited with tight end Heath Miller taking snaps.

"Very small package," Miller said, "run right, run left."


Wide receiver Antonio Brown made the highlight reel with a quick catch on a crossing route for a 56-yard touchdown with a little twist at the end...

SPLASH PLAYS:** The defense wound up with a season-high six sacks, two fumble recoveries, an interception, six quarterback hits and nine tackles for a loss.

"We're just playing Steeler Football and part of being a Steeler, you have to be physical," said free safety Mike Mitchell, who collected his team-leading third interception of the season. "You can't be afraid to put your face on it. We're just living up to the standard that is being a Pittsburgh Steeler defender.

"The turnovers happen when you fly to the ball."

HE SAID IT: "The guy was literally in a boot and on crutches Monday. I can't speak highly enough about him. He's a tremendous warrior. You never know what he is capable of doing. He is on the brink of greatness." - wide receiver Antonio Brown on Roethlisberger.

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