Colt McCoy proved he can take a scary hit to the head. He proved he can get the ball downfield against one of the NFL's best defenses (well, at least early in the game).
What McCoy failed to prove was the ability to finish off a division rival in the fourth quarter, which is what franchise quarterbacks do. It was the difference between getting the biggest victory of his young NFL career and falling to 0-8 against AFC North teams.
Returning from a shot to the head, McCoy took over with the Browns at the Steelers' 5-yard line late in the fourth quarter and down 7-3. On second down, McCoy was called for intentional grounding to push the Browns back to the Pittsburgh 16. On third down, he made a weak throw to the end zone that got picked off by William Gay.
"They pressure us, the pocket kind of collapsed and I wasn't able to completely step into the throw," McCoy said. "I saw [Mohamed Massaquoi] one-on-one and I just tried to give him a chance to make a catch. I just didn't get enough on it, underthrew it and Gay made a nice play. Basically, that was the game."
STAT THAT STICKS: 4 -- Number of goal-line stands by the Browns' defense this season. In addition to Pittsburgh on Thursday night, the Browns have stopped San Francisco, Jacksonville and Cincinnati at the 1-yard line this season.
OVERHEARD: "The guys battled unbelievably. I felt the fear that the Steelers had. They didn’t want to lose to us.” -- Browns wide receiver-returner Josh Cribbs
INJURY LIST: The physical game took its toll on the Browns. Cribbs (groin), tight end Benjamin Watson (concussion), fullback Owen Marecic (concussion) and safety Eric Hagg (eye) all left the game and didn't return.
WHAT'S NEXT: The last-place Browns (4-9) travel to play at Arizona (5-7), the second game of a three-game road stretch for Cleveland.