PITTSBURGH – One by one the dominos toppled.
The NFL's best running game fell first. The passing game came next, quickly followed by the optimism that somehow things would be different for the Cleveland Browns.
It never is. Not in Pittsburgh anyway. Players change. Coaches change. Decades change. The result when the Steelers host the Browns does not. Pittsburgh wins.
And while the Browns might be on their way back to relevance, the Steelers provided a stark reminder of how far Cleveland still has to go in a lopsided 38-7 victory on Sunday.
James Conner ran for 101 yards and a touchdown, Ben Roethlisberger passed for 169 yards and a score and Pittsburgh's defense chased aching Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in the third quarter. The Steelers improved to 5-0 for just the second time in the franchise's 87-year history.
Pittsburgh sacked Mayfield four times and picked him off twice — including Minkah Fitzpatrick's 33-yard sprint to the end zone on Cleveland's first possession. That gave the Steelers a quick 10-0 lead they never came close to squandering, extending their home winning streak over the Browns to 17 years and counting.
“That was varsity ball today,” Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said.
From start to finish.