PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 30: Maurkice Pouncey #53 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before his game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field on December 30, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
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Steelers pull away from Browns in 24-10 win

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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Ben Roethlisberger threw three short touchdown passes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers avoided their first losing season in nearly a decade with a 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Antonio Brown, Leonard Pope and Plaxico Burress scored for the Steelers (8-8), who mustered enough energy to end a disappointing season on a positive note. Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense forced four turnovers as the Steelers won for just the second time in the last six weeks, a slide that knocked them out of the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Cleveland's third-string quarterback, Thaddeus Lewis, passed for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his first NFL start. But the Browns (5-11) dropped their third straight in what is likely coach Pat Shurmur's final game on the sideline.

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