CLEVELAND--The Browns had their chances in the 28-12 loss to the Steelers as they were in the Red Zone five times and scored zero touchdowns. Twice the Browns had first down and goal inside the 10 and did not score touchdowns. Four times the Browns settled for field goals and had an interception at the five-yard line on the other occasion when Austin Davis threw an ill-fated pass that James Harrison stepped in front of Gary Barnidge in the end zone and stopped the drive.
Dynamic Duo: TE Gary Barnidge and WR Travis Benjamin feel just short of became the first duo since TE Kellen Winslow and WR Braylon Edwards to go over 1,000 yards in the same season.
Barnidge needed 23 yards to join Ozzie Newsome and Winslow as the only Browns tight ends to record 1,000 yards receiving in a season. Barnidge finished with eight receptions for 66 yards and finishes the season with 79 receptions for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns. Meanwhile, Benjamin finished the season with 68 receptions for 966 yards and five touchdowns.
Benjamin needed 87 yards to hit 1,000 and had five receptions for 53 yards.
Davis Day: QB Austin Davis threw 46 passes, completing 24 for 240 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked seven times and lost a fumble. In his two starts, Davis did not throw a touchdown pass. the Browns scored on four field goals against the Steelers.
“Yeah, I feel like that was probably the difference for us on offense, just not able to get the ball in the end zone for whatever reason,” Davis said. “Playing a team like Pittsburgh, a playoff football team, a very good team, we have to get the ball in the end zone and can’t settle for that many field goals. At the end of the day, we were still in it at the end and had a chance. That’s what we wanted to do.”
Davis’ only touchdown pass this season was in relief when QB Josh McCown was injured against the Ravens when Davis hit WR Travis Benjamin for a touchdown to tie the game and send to overtime.
Davis was sacked seven times, none bigger than when LB Lawrence Timmons sacked him on the Browns eight and Davis fumbled to the Steelers with 10:49 to play. QB Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown to WR Markus Wheaton on the next play to give the Steelers a 25-12 with 10:43 to play after a two-point conversion.
Davis finished the season 56-of-94 for 547 yards (59.6 pct.) with one touchdown and three interceptions. His rating was 66.2.
What a Rush: The Browns rushed for 86 yards with RB Isaiah Crowell leading with 53 yards on 15 carries. QB Austin Davis had 22 yards on three carries and RB Duke Johnson had 11 yards on four attempts. WR Travis Benjamin carried once for no yards.
Pryor Play: WR Terrell Pryor caught his first pass as a wide receiver in the NFL as he caught a 42-yard pass from QB Austin Davis near the end of the first half. The Browns were third-and-19 and Davis lofted the ball deep down the sideline and Pryor went up and took the ball from DB Antwon Blake at the Steelers’ 15 to set up a field goal. threw a fade to Pryor from the 23 in the third quarter. Pryor picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty after WR Darius Jennings caught an eight-yard pass to the five to move the ball back to the 20.
Pryor dropped a pass thrown to him in the fourth quarter and finished with just one catch on six targets. The catch was his only of the season.
Thiefs: DB Jordan Poyer and LB Craig Robertson intercepted QB Ben Roethlisberger. Robertson recovered a fumble by WR Antonio Brown. LB Karlos Dansby finished the season as the leader with three interceptions.
No Answer: WR Antonio Brown had 13 receptions for 187 yards an a touchdown on 17 targets.
No Blocks: K Travis Coons accounted for all of the Browns scoring as he kicked field goals from 29- and 39- and 33- and 29 yards. Coons last field goal to make it 17-12 came after a 17-play drive. Coons finished the season 28-of-32 on field goal attempts, with all four of his misses coming on blocked kicks. Coons was 22-of-24 on PATS and led the Browns in scoring with 106 points.
The Duke: RB Duke Johnson finished with four receptions for 34 yards. He also rushed for 11 yards on four carries. Johnson finished his rookie season third on the team in receptions with 61 for 534 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson rushed for 379 yards on 104 carries (3.6 avg.) with no touchdowns. Johnson tied the rookie mark for most receptions by a rookie set by WR Greg Little in 2011 with 61.
Draft Order: With the Titans losing to the Colts and the Browns to the Steelers, the Browns will have the second overall pick in next spring’s NFL Draft. Both teams finished with 3-13 records, but the Titans get the tie breaker in strength of schedule.
Looking Ahead: In 2016, besides the three AFC North opponents, the Browns will play the Patriots, Jets, Cowboys, Giants and Chargers at home, while playing the Bills, Dolphins, Eagles, Redskins and Titans away.
Big Play D: On the Steelers first offensive drive, QB Ben Roethlisberger hit WR Antonio Brown for 13 yards before LB Karlos Dansby stripped Brown of the ball and LB Craig Robertson returned it nine yards to the Steelers’ 39. However, the Browns came up short on fourth down and turned the ball back to Pittsburgh on downs.
power intercepted by power and returned to Pittsburgh’s 24. After RB Isaiah Crowell had a 15-yard run to the nine, the Browns settled for a 29-yard field goal by K Travis Coons to make it 7-3. LB Craig Robertson intercepted Roethlisberger on the opening drive of the third quarter and returned the ball to the Steelers’ eight yard line. Three plays later, QB Austin Davis is intercepted by LB James Harrison.
The Browns scored a total of three points off of the three turnovers created by the defense after starting drives in Pittsburgh territory.
Backless: The Browns failed to sack QB Ben Roethlisberger as he threw for 349 yards. As a result, DL Desmond Bryant finished the season as the sack leader with six, while LB Armonty Bryant had 5.5. Armonty Bryant was inactive for the last two games due to an off the field traffic incident.
Gabriel Out: WR Taylor Gabriel was poked in the eye in the first half and did not return. Pettine said he suffered a fractured orbital bone in his eye socket that might require surgery.
DeAngelo Hurt: Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams injured his left ankle in the second quarter and did not return. Williams replaced RB LeVeon Bell early in the season when Bell was lost for the season and was the leading rusher. He had 899 yards heading into the season finale and had eight yards before he was injured to finish the season with 907 yards and 11 touchdowns. Williams was replaced by Fitzgerald Touissant who had just 24 yards on 12 carries. The Steelers had just 30 yards rushing but Roethlisberger threw for 349 yards.
Karlos Leads: LB Karlos Dansby led the Browns in tackles with seven followed by CB Pierre Desir with five and DB K’Waun Williams with four. Dansby finished the season with 108 tackles to lead the defense.
Bowe Ends Where Starts: In what could be a parting shot to the Browns, Mike Pettine declared WR Dwayne Bowe inactive for the final game of the season. A week ago, Bowe was named a captain for the trip to play Bowe’s former team, the Chiefs. Bowe’s season totals are five receptions for 53 yards after being signed to a two-year $12.5 million contract. Bowe was inactive for nine of the 16 games, with eight being a healthy scratch.
DB Charles Gaines was inactive after being elevated to starter when Joe Haden was lost for the season. Seldom used CB Pierre Desir was elevated to starter over Gaines, who was not on the injury report this week. Gaines started the last four games at left cornerback. An unconfirmed report said that Gaines’ significant other was in labor with the couple’s child.With CB Tramon Williams in the concussion protocol, safety-turned-cornerback Jordan Poyer started in Williams’ place, instead of Gaines. Other inactives due to concussions were WR Marlon Moore, RB Glenn Winston and QB Johnny Manziel. LB Armonty Bryant was inactive for the second-straight week after being involved in a traffic stop two weeks ago.