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Steelers-Browns highlights, lowlights

December 31, 2012
By Buck Frank ( , The Altoona Mirror

The following are the highlights and lowlights from the Steelers' 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh:

Play of the game: With 6 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the game, Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen stripped Cleveland receiver Travis Benjamin of the ball after a 13-yard reception and recovered the ball himself, advancing it 21 yards to the Cleveland 27-yard line. It set up the game-clinching touchdown.

Offensive player of the game: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 15-of-23 passes for 134 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He completed passes to nine different receivers.

Defensive player of the game: Allen had eight tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered one.

Most telling statistic: The Browns turned the ball over four times to Pittsburgh's none.

Hidden statistic: The Browns have swept the season series from the Steelers only three times since 1970 - 1986, '87 and '88.

Best pass: Roethlisberger moved out of the pocket and connected with Antonio Brown for a 9-yard touchdown pass while on the run in the third quarter.

Worst pass: Cleveland quarterback Thaddeus Lewis tried to deliver the ball to Benjamin on a first-quarter drive but didn't see Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu, who stepped in front of Benjamin for an interception.

Best run: Browns running back Brandon Jackson got loose for a 25-yard gain in the third quarter.

Best catch: Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress went up over Cleveland's Joe Haden to snag a high, hard 12-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter.

Dropped pass: Pittsburgh running back Jonathan Dwyer failed to grab a pass at the 1-yard line in the third quarter. Roethlisberger then hit Brown for a touchdown on the next play.

Best block: Steelers receiver Jerricho Cotchery pushed Trevin Wade nearly 10 yards downfield to help Emmanuel Sanders gain 12 yards on a third-quarter bubble screen.

Missed block: Pittsburgh's Ramon Foster, filling in at right tackle, had trouble with left defensive end Jabaal Sheard, who sacked Roethlisberger on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter.

Best tackle: Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons sacked Lewis on back-to-back plays in the final two minutes of the game, forcing a fumble on the second one.

Best hit: Steelers safety Ryan Clark drilled Cleveland running back Chris Ogbonnaya for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-4 pass early in the fourth quarter.

Missed tackle: Sheard failed to stop Brown in the backfield on a 7-yard end-around in the third quarter.

Best coverage: Clark forced the Browns to kick a field goal in the second quarter by blanketing tight end Benjamin Watson on a third-down pass.

Worst coverage: Eric Hagg's interference on Sanders in the end zone led to the Steelers' first touchdown of the game.

Best kick: Cleveland's Phil Dawson made a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Worst kick: Pittsburgh's Drew Butler punted just 31 yards from his own 16 in the first quarter.

Best return: None worth noting.

Costliest penalty: A holding call against Pittsburgh's Doug Legursky wiped out a 43-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Brown in the first quarter.

Best decision: The Browns ran a fake punt in the third quarter - Ray Ventrone took a direct snap and raced 35 yards on fourth-and-5.

Worst decision: An end-round to Brown on second-and-10 from the Steelers' own 17-yard line never had a chance. Cleveland linebacker Craig Robertson dropped Brown for a 13-yard loss.

Best effort: The 51,831 fans who braved the cold weather to watch a game with little meaning.

Unsung hero: Clark finished with nine tackles. Heath Miller was voted the team MVP this season, but Clark might have been the better choice.

Challenges: No red flags were thrown.

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