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T.J. Watt, Steelers defense dominate Browns on MNF

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T.J. Watt, Steelers defense dominate Browns on MNF
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt celebrates a sack of Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in the first quarter Monday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- T.J. Watt totaled four of the Pittsburgh Steelers' nine sacks in a dominant win over the Cleveland Browns to end Week 17 of the 2021 NFL season.

Steelers running back Najee Harris ran for 188 yards and a score on 28 carries in the 26-14 victory Monday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

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"They wanted to throw the ball as much as they did," Watt told reporters. "We knew there was an opportunity for splash. We fed off each other and the crowd. There is no atmosphere like Heinz Field."

Ben Roethlisberger, who was likely playing in his final home game for the franchise, completed 24 of 46 passes for 123 yards, one score and an interception.

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"It wasn't pretty, but that has been my style: not pretty, but finding a way to win," Roethlisberger said. "92 wins here at Heinz Field. This is one more and it's very special."

Neither team scored through the first quarter of the AFC North division matchup. Roethlisberger opened the second with a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Chris Boswell made a 22-yard field goal with 3:02 left in the quarter to give the Steelers a 10-0 halftime advantage.

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Boswell made a 30-yard attempt about seven minutes into the second half. The Browns got on the scoreboard with 56 seconds remaining in the third. Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Njoku for that score.

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Boswell connected for field goals on the Steelers first two drives of the fourth, giving his team a 19-7 edge. Mayfield answered with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Harrison Bryant with 1:10 remaining to cut the deficit to five points.

Harris ran for a 37-yard score about 19 seconds later for the final advantage. Steelers safety Tre Norwood intercepted Mayfield on the Browns' final possession to ice the victory.

Mayfield completed 16 of 38 passes for 185 yards, two scores and two interceptions. Browns running back Nick Chubb ran for 58 yards on 12 carries.

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Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith totaled two sacks in the victory. Defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, defensive end Henry Mondeaux and linebacker Derrek Tuszka also sacked Mayfield in the win.

Watt now has 21.5 sacks this season, one short of Michael Strahan's record 22.5 from 2001.

"We are very disappointed not to play better than that," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters. "The guys played hard, but I tip my cap to them. They did a better job."

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The Steelers (8-7-1) battle the Baltimore Ravens (8-8) at 1 p.m. EST Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Browns (7-9) host the Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) at 1 p.m. EST Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (R) celebrates with the fans around Heinz Field following the 26-14 win against the Cleveland Browns in Pittsburgh on Monday. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

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