Varsity ball: The Steelers defense stepped up allowing the Browns to convert just one of 12 third down attempts, for an 8% conversion rate, and they held them on all three fourth down attempts.
"We were varsity today, really kind of all across the board and met a challenge versus a very good and a team that was very hot," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "Appreciative of the efforts.
"We had a better plan. It starts with us as coaches and then the guys performed better, and they finished it off. But we both were JV last week, players and coaches, and we got better this week.
"Part of being good in this league is identifying problems and eliminating them, hopefully before they happen but once they happen you have to eliminate them quickly. We acknowledge that third down was an issue for us last week defensively. I thought they answered that challenge well and emphatically today. It was necessary to slow down a dangerous Browns attack, one that had been ringing up a bunch of points per game. Just can't say enough about the effort all the way around in all three phases of the game."
No statements here: The Steelers are 5-0 after the win over the Browns, who came to Heinz Field with a 4-1 record after winning their last four games.
Tomlin was asked if it was a statement game, something that he isn't into.
"We are not into statements," said Tomlin. "We'll let you guys make the statements. We'll just line up and play against those that we are scheduled to play against, and they were next.
"I'm glad we were able to get the job done, but you know, we've got a significant challenge in the form of the Tennessee Titans coming up this week. That's life in this game, man, we're appreciative and more importantly we're really excited. You can't take anything for granted in this environment. We appreciate all the sacrifice that everybody is making in an effort to keep that ball rolling, man, and it just needs to continue."
A-player play: Minkah Fitzpatrick got the defense off to a strong start when he intercepted Baker Mayfield on third-and-three and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
"I don't know what it did for us, but I think it sent a message to them that third down wasn't going to be easy sledding today and we needed it," said Tomlin. "Minkah is an A-player. It was a significant play. He's capable of delivering those type of plays and we'll keep snapping the ball and watching him do it. That's the type of player he is."
Tomlin on injuries: "Devin Bush appears to have a significant knee injury. He's being evaluated. (Maurkice) Pouncey went down with a foot. He was able to get through the majority of the game with it, but we pulled him at the end as you saw him come off. And Mike (Hilton) has a shoulder that needs to be evaluated but can't say enough about the effort of our guys."
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 6 game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field