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3 Big Takeaways: Turnovers mar offensive awakening in Browns' season finale

PITTSBURGH -- Three quick reactions to the Browns' 27-24 overtime loss to the Steelers.

1. 4 untimely turnovers cost Browns in big way

The Browns rushed for a season-best 231 yards and outgained the Steelers by 125 yards on a sunny Sunday at Heinz Field.

These favorable stats only took Cleveland so far. The one that ultimately decided Sunday's season finale was controlled by the Steelers, who forced four turnovers to the Browns' one and took advantage of each in a big, big way to escape with a 27-24 overtime victory.

It started in the second quarter when the Browns, on the verge of expanding their 14-point lead to 17 or more, turned it over inside the 20-yard line. Ryan Shazier cut off Robert Griffin III's pass to Rashard Higgins and thwarted the potential touchdown pass. Pittsburgh didn't turn this turnover into points, but it made good on the others it forced.

An errant snap over Griffin's head on the following possession was pounced upon by Sean Davis and eventually converted into the Steelers' first touchdown of the game, which sliced Cleveland's lead in half at the half.

What would have been the Browns' biggest defensive play of the season turned into a 14-point swing. Late in the third quarter, Briean Boddy-Calhoun intercepted Landry Jones and returned it 67 yards to the Steelers' 1-yard line. A replay review, though, showed Boddy-Calhoun fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a touchback, which gave the ball back to Pittsburgh at its own 20-yard line. Ten plays and 80 yards later, Pittsburgh was back in the end zone and the game was tied.

On the cusp of ending Sunday's game before overtime after a 43-yard Terrelle Pryor catch, the Browns gave it back to Pittsburgh inside its own 5-yard line with less than a minute to play. Isaiah Crowell committed his second fumble of the season, marring an otherwise fantastic day for the third-year running back.

"We had our chances, and we didn't nail it," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "The whole team and everybody involved with our football team and our organization has to grow from this experience as we move forward. These games we want to be in, but we want to be in them trying to win the division and trying to fight for other opportunities to keep playing."

2. Up and down day for new-look offensive line

In a season full of injuries and shakeups on the offensive line, the Browns used one more different grouping Sunday. The results were mixed for the unit, which featured rookie Anthony Fabiano at center, Austin Pasztor at right guard and Cameron Erving at right tackle.

The good could be seen in the rushing numbers, as Cleveland finished with a season-best 231 yards on 33 carries. Erving appeared to hold his own at right tackle with the exception of a strip sack he surrendered to Bud Dupree. He was later spelled for rookie Shon Coleman, who received his first significant action of the season. Both players dealt with injuries during the game, and Erving was ultimately sidelined by his, leaving Coleman to finish the game.

"I think we'll find out more about it tomorrow," Jackson said. "I don't think it's something that's good."

3. Pryor, Crowell hit milestones

On a day that saw Griffin get his first two touchdown passes of 2016 and tight ends Seth DeValve and Gary Barnidge each lock up their second scores of the year, Pryor and Crowell notched some significant career benchmarks in a losing effort.

With a big help from his 67-yard run in the fourth quarter, Crowell finished with a career-high 152 yards on 19 carries to end his third season with career bests in yards (952) and yards per carry (4.8).

Pryor went over 1,000 receiving yards on the season with his seventh and final catch of the game. He finished his first full season as a wide receiver with team bests in catches (77), yards (1,007) and touchdowns (four).

"I'm happy for him," Jackson said. "Again, he made those plays to give himself an opportunity to do that, but I'd rather take the win more so than anything because I think that's what we're out there playing for. I'm sure he was out there trying to win just like everybody was.

"All the individual things I think we would all trade for more victories."

The Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17.

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