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Nothing did, even though the line played without center Maurkice Pouncey, who left in the first half with a right ankle injury, the same ankle that held him out of the Super Bowl last February.

Pouncey, like Roethlisberger, had an MRI on Friday. Unlike Roethlisberger, Pouncey can’t play on one leg though he said after the game he believed he could work through it.

The line certainly needs the Pro Bowler. Pittsburgh could have closed out the Browns early in the fourth quarter but was stuffed on four runs inside the Cleveland 3.

“For us to have four shots down there and not get it done, that’s unacceptable,” guard/center Doug Legursky said.

The defense didn’t escape unscathed. Defensive end Ziggy Hood left early with a groin injury, and there’s a chance the team could be without linebacker James Harrison following a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy late in the fourth quarter.

McCoy was scrambling when he briefly tucked the ball as if to run. Harrison closed in, but McCoy pulled up and flipped a pass to running back Montario Hardesty a split-second before getting drilled by Harrison.

The 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year was flagged for roughing the passer and could face fines and further disciplinary action from the league office.

Harrison defended his actions, saying he believed McCoy was a runner at the time. McCoy left briefly but came back to throw an interception in the end zone, setting up Roethlisberger’s game-clinching pass to Brown.

Brown caught the ball near midfield then weaved his way through the Cleveland secondary before scoring. No one was happier with the result than Roethlisberger, and it had little to do with the touchdown.

“I’m proud of him and glad he scored because I wouldn’t have been able to make it down there if we had to run another play,” Roethlisberger said.

He was kidding. Probably. Odds are if Brown found himself tackled that the Cleveland 1, Roethlisberger would have found a way to get to the huddle, even if his linemen had to go Leftwich on him.

“I wanted to be there for the guys,” Roethlisberger said. “I wanted to let them know that I’ m going to be there and I’m going to fight no matter what.”