The Browns, trying to win one for their embattled coach, were a little livelier but no more effective.
Shurmur, injecting a bit of risk-taking in a tenure filled with playing it safe, called a fake punt from the Cleveland 25 early in the third quarter that Ray Ventrone turned into a 35-yard gain, equaling the team’s longest run of the season.
The Browns tied it at 10 a few plays later when Lewis found Greg Little for a 7-yard touchdown pass.
That about did it for Cleveland. The Steelers responded with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Roethlisberger hitting Brown for a 9-yard score that put the Steelers back in front.
The veteran wide receiver — brought in over a month ago to shore up a depleted unit — took a pair of bows after his first scoring catch in a year. It was a fitting gesture considering the Steelers soon exited stage right. A season that brimmed with hope after a win over the Giants on Nov. 4 collapsed in a five-week span that included four costly losses.
“I don’t want to sweep it under the rug because we had some good times this year,” Foote said. “But the expectation here is we’ve got to win.”
NOTES: Polamalu’s interception was his first of the season and 30th of his career ... Phil Dawson’s 51-yard field goal in the second quarter tied for the second-longest in Heinz Field history ... Lewis was the 18th different quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999 ... Roethlisberger is 7-0 at home against the Browns ... Cleveland PR Joshua Cribbs passed Dennis Northcutt as the team’s all-time leader in punt return yardage.