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Steelers fend off Browns rally for opening-day win

The Pittsburgh Steelers fought off Cleveland's furious second-half rally to knock off the Browns 30-27 with a game-winning field goal as time expired. Our takeaways:

NFL Replay


Relive the Pittsburgh Steelers' 30-27 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NFL Network.

  1. With the Browns trailing 27-3 at the half, quarterback Brian Hoyer shrugged off his shaky start to generate 24 unanswered points and a fourth-quarter tie. With Jordan Cameron lost to a shoulder injury, Hoyer spread the ball to seven targets for 230 yards while growing more comfortable as the game wore on.
  1. Nobody saw this comeback coming after Pittsburgh outgained the Browns 364 yards to 101 over the first two quarters. Ben Roethlisberger -- with an outrageous 18-1 career record against the Browns -- did an outstanding job early finding his targets in space and exposing Cleveland's secondary. "Making the Leap" wideout Markus Wheatonbeat up on Browns rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert while Antonio Browncompletely exposed a frustrated Joe Haden for 116 yards in the first half alone.
  1. Despite Brown's heroics, he faces a likely fine for a punt return attempt that saw him leap into the air and kick Cleveland punter Spencer Lanning square in the face. For his antics, Brown was flagged for unnecessary roughness.

  1. We saw nothing from Johnny Manziel. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported before the game that Kyle Shanahan wouldn't lean on the rookie unless it made sense schematically. It never made sense.
  1. Ben Tate left the game with a knee injury in the second quarter and didn't return. That opened the door for Browns rookie runners Terrance West -- 100 yards off 16 totes -- and Isaiah Crowellto leadthe Cleveland rally. It doesn't mean much in a loss, but the Browns dominated the line of scrimmage for much of the second half.
  1. Le'Veon Bell is a beast. Pittsburgh's second-year runner was a handful on Sunday, cutting through Cleveland defenders to the tune of 109 yards at 5.2 yards per clip and a score.
  1. The play that squelched Cleveland's momentum? That came when Pittsburgh dialed up a fourth-quarter fake punt that saw safety Robert Golden toss a 25-yard dart to special-teamer Antwon Blake:
  1. Browns coach Mike Pettine wasn't buying the moral-victory angle, telling reporters: "I told the team afterward that this is a pass-fail league. And we failed."

The latest "Around The NFL Podcast" recaps the season opener and previews every Week 1 game.

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