CLEVELAND (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger plays for the Steelers. He owns the Browns.
Pittsburgh's quarterback, whose long-term loyalty to the team he led to two Super Bowl titles was recently questioned, threw two touchdown passes and raised his career record to a mind-numbing 16-1 against Cleveland as the Steelers beat the Browns 27-11 to continue their unexpected turnaround after a 0-4 start.
For Roethlisberger, his latest trip to Cleveland was like so many others. An Ohio native, he treats his visits like homecoming games.
He was crowned king once again.
"It's a home game," he said. "So it does feel good."
Roethlisberger completed 22 of 34 passes for 217 yards and didn't get sacked once as the Steelers (5-6) won their third straight game and became a little more relevant in the AFC playoff race. With the win, Pittsburgh set up an important Thanksgiving matchup with the Baltimore Ravens (5-6), perhaps their biggest rival and a team they're fighting for a wild-card spot.
A season that began with four consecutive losses and included speculation that Roethlisberger might ask for a trade and whether it was time for the Steelers to rebuild, has been revived.
"That's looking back," Roethlisberger said when asked about the team's rough start. "I'm not looking back and I'm not looking forward. Right now, I'm enjoying this."
The Steelers forced four turnovers, recorded five sacks, knocked Browns starting quarterback Jason Campbell from the game with a concussion and improved to 25-5 against Cleveland since 1999.
Roethlisberger threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown in the first and connected on a 4-yarder to Emmanuel Sanders in the third, one play after Steelers cornerback William Gay blasted Campbell on a blitz and forced a fumble that Will Allen returned 49 yards.
The Steelers didn't have a turnover, only two penalties and scored 17 points off Cleveland miscues.
"We are playing winning football," said safety Troy Polamalu, who stripped Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya late in the first half, when the Steelers scored 10 quick points to open a 13-3 halftime lead.
Gay and Allen combined to set up Roethlisberger's short TD pass to Sanders and Gay put the Browns (4-7) away by intercepting Brandon Weeden and returning it 21 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Steelers are back to looking like themselves after going 2-6 in the season's first half, but coach Mike Tomlin doesn't want his team to rest now.
"Nice accomplishment," Tomlin said, opening his postgame news conference. "But not a lot of time to admire our work."
Here are five things we learned in watching the Steelers beat the Browns for the 18th time in 20 games.