Toronto, Canada – CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Pittsburgh's hopes of retaining their Super Bowl crown suffered another massive setback on Thursday as the Steelers were stunned 13-6 by the lowly Cleveland Browns.
After starting the season 6-2 the Steelers have now lost five in a row and Thursday's loss to the Browns, who came into the game with a 1-11 record, pushed them further out of the playoff picture.
"Five (losses) in a row coming off a Super Bowl year; it's disappointing," receiver Hines Ward told reporters. "The playoffs are pretty much over with. Right now we're playing for pride."
Cleveland quarterback Brady Quinn got his first win as a starter this season despite completing just 6 of 19 passes for 90 yards as the Browns ended a 12-game losing streak to the Steelers.
Cleveland jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first half behind two Phil Dawson field goals and a 10-yard touchdown run from Chris Jennings.
Jeff Reed made two field goals for the Steelers, who drove to Cleveland's 39-yard line on their final possession of the game before Ben Roethlisberger threw an incompletion on fourth down.
Roethlisberger finished with 201 yards passing but was sacked eight times. Santonio Holmes led Pittsburgh with six catches for 93 yards. It was the second game back for Roethlisberger since a concussion sidelined him on November 29 against the Baltimore Ravens.
"We have found new ways to not rise up at critical moments," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. "We're just trying to win a football game."
Cleveland's Josh Cribbs returned a punt 55 yards in the first quarter to set up a field goal and finished with 104 total return yards and 87 yards rushing.
"It means everything," said Cribbs of the win.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)