Ben Roethlisberger 's inability to run and move out of the pocket limited the Steelers on their failed, four-play goal-line series Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns.
Rashard Mendenhall was stopped on four consecutive running plays, beginning at the Browns 2, but the Steelers had a pass play called on third down. Roethlisberger, however, checked off to a run because the Browns overloaded their coverage to the right side of the field where the pass was intended.
Complicating matters further was Roethlisberger's inability to execute any of the play-action bootleg plays the Steelers planned to use near the goal line because he couldn't run.
"I think it restricted us, even on third down," Roethlisberger said. "[Offensive coordinator] Bruce Arians said, Are you able to get out? And I told him no. We still have to get in, we know that, and we take pride in being able to get it in. "
The NFL has disagreed with Pro Bowl outside linebackers James Harrison :
The league said his penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy in the fourth quarter was the correct call. The hit left the quarterback with a concussion.
In a statement released Friday, the league said:
"When a passer is outside the pocket area as in the case of Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last night, he is still afforded the protection of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 13 (3), which prohibits defensive players from using their helmet against a passer who is in a defenseless posture, including by forcibly hitting the passer's head or neck area with the helmet or facemask, regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the passer by encircling or grasping him."
After he committed three major penalties and botched a second-down running play at the goal line in the second half, Chris Kemoeatu likely will not get another chance to exonerate himself.
Kemoeatu is expected to be replaced at left guard by Trai Essex against the San Francisco 49ers Dec. 19 -- if Maurkice Pouncey is unable play and Doug Legursky has to move back to center.
Two of Kemoeatu's three penalties against the Browns wiped out third-down conversions, with the latter resulting in a Roethlisberger interception on the next play.
Kemoeatu was also late getting to the hole on the second-down counter play from the Browns 1, allowing linebacker Chris Gocong to stop Mendenhall for no gain.