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Big Ben clocks in with gem

By Associated Press In Pittsburgh | China Daily | Updated: 2015-11-17 07:48

Ben Roethlisberger began the week on crutches. He finished it in a familiar formation against the Cleveland Browns, taking a knee and watching the clock tick down to another Pittsburgh Steelers victory.

Starting or off the bench. Healthy or on one foot.

No matter how you cut it, Roethlisberger versus the Browns is hardly a fair fight.

Stepping in after Landry Jones went down with a left leg injury of his own, Roethlisberger passed for 379 yards and three touchdowns as the Steelers swarmed Johnny Manziel and the struggling Browns in a 30-9 romp on Sunday.

"Ben is Ben," Pittsburgh wide receiver Martavis Bryant said.

"So once he gets in the game, he does what No 7 always does."

Roethlisberger has not lost to the Browns at home during his career, even if this one got off to a more unorthodox start than most.

Roethlisberger sprained his left foot late in last week's 38-35 win over Oakland and barely practiced.

Still, coach Mike Tomlin saw enough to make Roethlisberger active behind Jones, who looked solid in relief of Roethlisberger last week.

Jones' second career start ended when his left ankle bent awkwardly as the pocket collapsed around him midway through the first quarter.

Roethlisberger - wearing a specially padded cleat to protect his injured foot - entered to a roar of a capacity crowd that included many of his 2005 teammates on hand to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the franchise's fifth Super Bowl.

Roethlisberger was still in his NFL infancy back then. Now he's among the best in the game and he takes particular delight in tormenting the Browns, who could have taken the Ohio native in the 2004 draft but instead opted for tight end Kellen Winslow.

If Roethlisberger's foot was bothering him, it hardly showed as he improved to 19-2 against Cleveland.

Even with the Browns doing a legitimately solid job of shutting down running back DeAngelo Williams and often putting double coverage on Antonio Brown, the Steelers rolled.

Brown caught 10 passes for 139 yards and two majors and Roethlisberger's passing total set an NFL record for the most by a player who didn't start, as Pittsburgh (6-4) won its second straight heading into its bye week.

"I feel like we're getting hot at the right time," linebacker Arthur Moats said. "Time to get healthy and make a run for it."

The Browns (2-8), meanwhile, are sprinting in the opposite direction.

Manziel passed for a career-high 372 yards with a touchdown and an interception but was also sacked six times. Cleveland has lost five straight and is just 2-13 in its past 15 games under coach Mike Pettine.

That's not exactly what owner Jimmy Haslam had in mind midway through Pettine's second season after a promising 7-9 start last fall.


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