A stomach-churning Thursday Night Football contest finished with a gutsy defensive stand by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite a slew of breaks tailor-made for an upset, the Cleveland Browns left Western Pennsylvania without winning for the eighth straight trip.
While the final score was indicative of a snooze fest, the unrelenting drama gripped fans on both sides for the full 60 minutes.
The Browns traveled down the field in the first few minutes of the game at Heinz Field, and the home fans were surely surprised at the transpiring events. It would be the best Cleveland's offense looked all night; it wouldn't be their last chance to score.
After Cleveland quickly opened scoring with a field goal, Ben Roethlisberger and the offense answered with a touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery. Immediately, they reclaimed possession, systematically matriculating down the field again.
The Browns defense looked hapless, and it appeared a blowout was imminent. Then, fate intervened and reminded the Steel City of two things:
1. Anything can happen in a football game.
2. Take nothing for granted.
After a litany of turnovers kept the Browns within striking distance, fans at Heinz Field had reason to shout negative opinions. When Ben Roethlisberger's ankle buckled under the weight of a hi-lo sack by Cleveland's defense, that collective voice turned into silence.
Like the Texans losing Matt Schaub, Steelers Country came ever close to acknowledging, "Houston, we have a problem, too."
Ultimately, Ben returned to the field with the Steelers still ahead 7-3. A costly interception gave the Browns a shot to take a 10-7 lead in the final minutes.
Instead, Colt McCoy returned the favor to Big Ben and was intercepted by Willie Gay in the end zone. On a night of highs and lows, it was Roethlisberger heroically finishing on top with a long touchdown to Antonio Brown, capping a 14-3 win.
With so many implications in this game, ranging from the AFC North Championship to the long-term health of key players, the contest was truly a drama queen's dream.
Here are 10 observations in the aftermath of Thursday night's tension!