Staying on the right side of the goal line

A look at Steelers 24, Browns 9 via the magic of the DVR:


Take a look at the best photos from the Week 11 matchup against the Browns. The Steelers defeated the Browns 24-9.

ANATOMY OF A STAND:** The Browns reached the Steelers' 1-yard line on their first possession of the third quarter but ultimately came away with just three points.

The Steelers' goal-line stand actually started before the Browns lined up on first-and-goal.

Fourth-and-9, Steelers' 27: Quarterback Cody Kessler stayed in the pocket against a five-man pressure and found wide receiver Terrelle Pryor one-on-one against cornerback Stephon Tuitt deep down the left sideline. Pryor went up and got the ball but free safety Mike Mitchell arrived in time to help Cockrell wrestle Pryor out of bounds before Pryor (6-foot-4, 223 pounds) could power his way into the end zone.

First-and-goal, Steelers' 1: The Steelers deployed a goal-line defense consisting of a seven-man front (left to right, strong safety Robert Golden, linebacker Anthony Chickillo, defensive end Stephon Tuitt, nose tackle Vince Williams, nose tackle Javon Hargrave, defensive end Ricardo Mathews and linebacker William Gay) and a four-man back end (safety Sean Davis, linebacker Vince Williams, linebacker Ryan Shazier and linebacker Ryan Shazier).

Cleveland countered with three tight ends (Gary Barnidge and Randall Telfer on the right side of the line and reported-eligible offensive lineman Shon Coleman on the left) and fullback Danny Vitale in front of running back Isaiah Crowell. Crowell got the ball but was met 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage, first by McCullers, who had shoved right guard John Greco out of the way, and then by Tuitt, who had beaten right tackle Austin Pasztor. Harrison and Davis arrived at the scene just after McCullers and Tuitt. "Penetration," CBS analyst Rich Gannon observed. "The back had no chance."

Second-and-goal, Steelers' 3: This time, Telfer was on the left side of the line and Coleman was lined up on the right with Barnidge. Crowell stayed in the backfield to protect, Vitale flared out into the right flat and Telfer, Barnidge and Coleman ran routes into the end zone. Harrison pushed rookie left guard Spencer Durango back into Kessler, shed the block and sacked the quarterback. Tuitt and Chickillo arrived as Harrison was bringing Kessler to the ground.

Third-and-goal, Steelers' 8: Cleveland turned to a three-wide receivers, one-running back, one-tight end set and the Steelers went with their "nickel" sub-package. Except in this nickel Tuitt was at left end, Hargrave and Harrison were the defensive tackles and Chickillo was at right end. Kessler took a shotgun snap and three-step drop, then tried to step up and run against four-man rush. Tuitt tracked Kessler down from behind just ahead of Hargrave after a gain of 2. Timmons and Chickillo were in position to make the tackle if needed.

Cleveland settled for three and a 14-3 deficit.


SIX NOT THREE:** The Steelers got stubborn at the end of the second quarter and went for a touchdown with five seconds left in the half and then again two more times on untimed downs.

First-and-goal, Browns' 3 (0:10): On a snap from the left hash, the Steelers wanted to get the ball to tight end Ladarius Green in the right corner of the end zone. But Green couldn't get off the line of scrimmage cleanly coming out of a bunch-right with wide receiver Antonio Brown and tight end Jesse James. Green cut behind James but bumped into cornerback Joe Haden, who was trying to get between Green and James to Brown. Cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun then made contact with Green at the goal line. Roethlisberger adjusted and threw incomplete for wide receiver Landry Jones, who was well covered by cornerback Jamar Taylor.

Second-and-goal, Browns' 3 (0:05): From an empty set, Roethlisberger accepted a shotgun snap and took a three-step drop, then rolled right. Brown came across the formation from left to right then cut up the field into the end zone. Brown looked to his right, where safety Ed Reynolds was in coverage. The ball was thrown to his left and fell incomplete. But a holding penalty on Boddy-Calhoun against wide receiver Eli Rogers gave the Steelers another snap.

First-and-goal, Browns' 1 (0:00): The Steelers went for it again. "This is a mistake," Gannon insisted. "Regardless of what happens, I think you kick the field goal." Instead, Roethlisberger tried to hit Brown on a slant off a play-action fake to running back Le'Veon Bell. The pass fell incomplete but Haden was called for pass interference on Brown, setting up another untimed down.

First-and-goal, Browns' 1 (0:00): The play began with Hamilton wide-left, James on left tackle Alejandro Villanueva's left, Rogers and Brown in a stack-right formation and Roethlisberger in the shotgun. Bell took a handoff and followed right guard David DeCastro, who was pulling left, and then cut up the field underneath DeCastro's block on linebacker Jamie Collins. Guard Ramon Foster sealed off nose tackle Danny Shelton and Bell followed Villanueva (on defensive end Carl Nassib) and James (on strong safety Derrick Kindred) into the end zone.

A two-point conversion gave the Steelers a 14-0 halftime lead.

Two goal-line series.

Two different approaches.

And two very different results.

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