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Pittsburgh Steelers outworked by Cleveland Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a vulnerable position.

The rash of injuries to key players finally caught up with the team in Sunday's 20-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. It was a rare example of the Steelers being outdone by an opponent who played a more physical brand of football and preyed on Pittsburgh's mistakes.

Eight turnovers by the Steelers were just enough to push the Browns over the top. The Browns beat the Steelers for just the second time in 18 tries, and they won't be the last team to knock off the Black and Gold as long as Charlie Batch remains under center. The 37-year-old veteran threw three interceptions and failed to generate any rhythm on drives.

The Steelers never have been a one-man show, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger never has looked so valuable. The Steelers' offense drifted into a deep sleep Sunday. Mike Wallace, the best wide receiver on the field, was held to one catch for 9 yards. The Steelers' stable of running backs couldn't get out of their own way, coughing up an outrageous four fumbles.

This isn't the same Browns team the Steelers have battered around for a decade-plus. The Browns showed up to play, and so will the Baltimore Ravens, whom the Steelers face in seven days. If Ben Ben misses that game -- and if his absence drifts deeper down the stretch -- the Steelers and the playoffs don't look like a match.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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