1:00 PM ET, November 24, 2013
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Sunday Blitz: Steelers-Browns Recap
Now Roethlisberger will look to build off that performance Sunday when the Steelers travel to face their AFC North rival Cleveland Browns, whom he has dominated throughout his career.
Last Sunday, Roethlisberger threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns without an interception as the Steelers (4-6) defeated the Lions 37-27. The win was the team's fourth in six games after starting 0-4. For his performance, Roethlisberger was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
"We've got to keep this thing going," said Pittsburgh wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who caught the last of Roethlisberger's four touchdowns, a 20-yard strike in the fourth quarter. "Our margin for error is nonexistent right now. We feel good about this team and we're going to keep grinding."
Currently tied with the Browns (4-6) in both the division race and the wild-card standings, the Steelers need their quarterback to deliver again. With that the case, there is no team Roethlisberger would rather face than Cleveland. The Steelers are 15-1 all-time against their longtime rivals when Roethlisberger is under center, with the quarterback completing 62.5 percent of his passes. Roethlisberger hasn't thrown an interception at FirstEnergy Stadium since 2006.
The Browns will try to counter Roethlisberger with one of the NFL's top defenses. Opponents average just 4.45 yards per play against Cleveland, the lowest in the league, and the cornerback tandem of Joe Haden and Buster Skrine lead a secondary that is among the league's best at taking away deep passes.
For the season, the Browns have allowed just 25 passes of 20 yards or longer, fourth-fewest in the NFL. On the other side, Roethlisberger's strong arm and ability to improvise have helped the Steelers rank third in the league with 46 completions of at least 20 yards.
On Sunday, something has to give.
"We have an extreme amount of potential," said Browns linebacker Paul Kruger. "For us, it's just going to be about preparing and doing what we need to do to beat Pittsburgh. I think the coaches do a great job of keeping us focused on what we're doing."
The matchup against the Steelers will the Browns' third straight within the AFC North. Last Sunday, Cleveland fell to the division-leading Bengals 41-20 one week after it beat the Ravens.
"It was an important opportunity for us, and we didn't play the way we were capable of playing and weren't able to get it done at the end of the day," Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said of the loss. "I think that it's important that we learn from this, and when we have an opportunity again, which we will in the future, this experience is something that guys will be able to draw from and that'll help us."
Against Pittsburgh, Jason Campbell will be making his fourth consecutive start for the Browns at quarterback, and he should be helped by the friendly confines of the home field. In his two starts on the road this season -- both losses -- Campbell has thrown as many interceptions (3) as touchdowns, and has a passer rating of 68.3. In his lone home start, the 24-18 win versus Baltimore on Nov. 3, Campbell threw three touchdowns without an interception and finished with a rating of 116.6.
"The key to the quarterback is how guys bounce back when they're having some adversity or don't play as well as they would've liked," Chudzinski said. "Generally, teams are better at home (with) the energy, the crowd. I think the fans have been awesome, and our team feeds off that energy. You have to be able to win in both places, whether it's on the road or at home and we need to do a better job on the road."
Both teams are in the thick of the wild-card chase since nine AFC teams enter play this weekend with either four or five wins, and the New York Jets hold the second and final wild-card spot at 5-5.
"This is a tight race," Steelers cornerback Will Allen said. "It's a three-way tie for second in our division. Hopefully we can get another win, get three in a row. It's a tough task.
"Cleveland is a good team. They always play us hard."
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|Avg Points Allowed||23.3||24.1|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||PIT|
|Rush Yds Allowed||PIT|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Pittsburgh leads 24-3|
|Dec 30, 2012||PIT 24, CLE 10|
|Nov 25, 2012||PIT 14, @CLE 20|
|Jan 1, 2012||PIT 13, @CLE 9|
|Dec 8, 2011||PIT 14, CLE 3|
|Jan 2, 2011||PIT 41, @CLE 9|
|Oct 17, 2010||PIT 28, CLE 10|
|Dec 10, 2009||PIT 6, @CLE 13|
|Oct 18, 2009||PIT 27, CLE 14|
|Dec 28, 2008||PIT 31, CLE 0|
|Sep 14, 2008||PIT 10, @CLE 6|
|Nov 11, 2007||PIT 31, CLE 28|
|Sep 9, 2007||PIT 34, @CLE 7|
|Dec 7, 2006||PIT 27, CLE 7|
|Nov 19, 2006||PIT 24, @CLE 20|
|Dec 24, 2005||PIT 41, @CLE 0|
|Nov 13, 2005||PIT 34, CLE 21|
|Nov 14, 2004||PIT 24, @CLE 10|
|Oct 10, 2004||PIT 34, CLE 23|
|Nov 23, 2003||PIT 13, @CLE 6|
|Oct 5, 2003||PIT 13, CLE 33|
|Jan 5, 2003||PIT 36, CLE 33|
|Nov 3, 2002||PIT 23, @CLE 20|
|Sep 29, 2002||PIT 16, CLE 13|
|Jan 6, 2002||PIT 28, CLE 7|
|Nov 11, 2001||PIT 15, @CLE 12|
Josh Gordon caught 14-of-17 targets for 237 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's loss, including 8-of-9 targets from Brandon Weeden for 166 yards and a touchdown. Gordon's 237 receiving yards was the second-highest total this season (Calvin Johnson- 296 yards, Week 8 vs Cowboys). Other than Gordon, Browns quarterbacks had no help.[+]
Browns QBs by Target, Sunday vs Steelers
From Elias: Ben Roethlisberger is 16-1 in his career against the Browns, tied for the best mark by any QB against a single opponent.[+]
ESPN Stats & Information