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One of Haslam’s goals was to revive one of the NFL’s fiercest rivalries, which has been shaded in yellow and black for most of the past decade. Even with the loss, Pittsburgh is 23-5 against Cleveland since 1999, but in each of the seasons they lost one game to the Browns, the Steelers missed the playoffs.

That could happen again. Pittsburgh is tied with Cincinnati for second place in the AFC North behind Baltimore, and will visit the Ravens next week.

Tomlin has a lot to work on before then.

All four Pittsburgh running backs fumbled and Batch was understandably rusty. The Steelers were also called for several holding penalties that slowed drives. Wide receiver Plaxico Burress, re-signed during the week, did not have a reception but did draw an interference penalty in the end zone.

“We aren’t going to have any team meetings, not going to sit in a circle and sing ‘Kumbaya’ or anything like that,” safety Ryan Clark said. “We are going to do what we do after we win a game — go back to work and figure out a way to play better.”

Pittsburgh lost linebacker LaMarr Woodley in the first half with a left ankle injury, and offensive lineman Mike Adams went down with an ankle injury in the second half.

Phil Dawson kicked field goals of 28 and 32 yards for the Browns, and has made 27 in a row since last season, tying his team record.

Cleveland’s fourth takeaway set up Richardson’s TD run.

Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown, picked on during the Steelers‘ late scoring drive in the first half, intercepted Batch at Pittsburgh’s 31.

Two completions by Weeden got it to the 10, and after a false-start penalty, Richardson burst up the middle, ran through some arm tackles and scored to make it 20-14 with 5:25 left in the third — the game’s final points.

“To finish a close game like that is big for us,” Richardson said. “That’s the best defense I’ve played against since I’ve been in the NFL, hands down. I took a few shots and that was the hardest-hitting game I’ve played in so far.”

The Steelers led 14-13 at halftime despite losing three fumbles, converting just one third down and keeping Batch under wraps.

One play after Brown was called for pushing Burress in the end zone, Chris Rainey, on the field only because the three backs ahead of him fumbled, scored on a 1-yard TD run after being stopped for no gain. He was stuffed on a carry over center by several Browns, who knocked him backward. Rainey, though, kept his legs moving and ran untouched into the end zone with 1 second left before halftime.

It was one of the few highlights for the Steelers, who needed just 71 seconds to take a 7-0 lead.

On Cleveland’s third play, Weeden’s pass to Greg Little was tipped at the line by Steelers end Brett Keisel and caught on the fly by Lawrence Timmons, who took it back 53 yards.

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