The Browns have only improved their running game since then with the addition of 240-pound sledgehammer Peyton Hills, who's rushed for 350 yards since taking over the full-time duties at tailback in Week 3.
The blocking fullback for Darren McFadden and Felix Jones at the University of Arkansas in 2006 and 2007, Hillis wasn't drafted until the seventh round in 2008 by the Denver Broncos, who gave him six rookie starts (343 yards rushing, 5.0 ypc.) and two starts in 2009, before trading him and a sixth-round draft pick to Cleveland for Brady Quinn.
Hillis's best game was a 144-yard battering this season of the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3, and there was nothing tricky about it.
"The plays were pretty standard plays," said Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. "They just executed and he ran very hard. They got him started and he's big and strong."
LeBeau doesn't like when big running backs get rolling on his defenses, so he spent the week stressing that his defenders must get to Hillis early in the play.
"When you get him started, he's going to get a few extra on his own," LeBeau said. "He had 144 against a great, great run defense."
SANDERS ON KICKS, SOME PUNTS
Mike Tomlin has been coy about how he's going to use Emmanuel Sanders as a return man, but special-teams coach Al Everest gave it away.
"He'll replace Antonio Brown at kick returner and then he'll be a situational punt returner," Everest said. "If we're in the middle of the field, hopefully we'll get Emmanuel some (punt return) opportunities." Everest agreed that Brown had been explosive as a return man, but the Steelers don't want Sanders, their third-round pick, to rot on the bench. They'll eventually need his receiving skills.
"Emmanuel has been a little ahead in the receiver part of it and behind in the special teams part," said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "This is (Sanders') week and it's great competition."
RYAN COVERS ALL ANGLES
Willie Colon called last year's loss to the Browns "the worst game I played the whole season."
The Steelers gave up eight sacks to several no-name Browns because, according to Colon, "the communication was off and they did some pressure things we weren't really prepared for."
The Browns have defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to thank. Rex's brother and Buddy's son moved over from his DC position with Oakland last season to coordinate the Browns, and they sacked Roethlisberger 11 times in two games.
"He's not quite the same as Rex," Steelers tight end Heath Miller said off the former Ravens coordinator and current Jets coach. "They share the same mindset. They both bring a lot of different people from a lot of different angles."
The Browns have 10 sacks so far this season. Outside linebacker Marcus Benard, one of the no-names, leads with 3½.
Undrafted out of Jackson State, Benard spent most of last season on the Browns' practice squad, but had two sacks in the win over the Steelers.
COMING OFF PUP
The first of the Steelers' fifth-round draft picks, tackle/guard Chris Scott, will come off the PUP list next Wednesday to begin three weeks of practice with the team.
If needed at the end of three weeks, Scott will be added to the Steelers' active roster. If the Steelers have no injuries on the offensive line, Scott will be added to the practice squad.
Scott injured his right foot over the summer, but said he's been completely healthy for the past four weeks.