PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Browns in the opener in Cleveland, but the biggest story after the game was the news defensive Stephon Tuitt was not lost for the season with a biceps injury.
Tuitt exited the game early in the first quarter and did not return. ESPN reported the Steelers feared the injury was season-ending, but his teammates said Monday that Tuitt will play again this season.
Exactly when that will be is not known at this point.
"I'm just glad it didn't wind up being season ending," said fellow defensive end Cam Heyward. "I'm not getting into the specifics of it, but we're definitely breathing a sigh of relief that he'll be able to play down the road."
Tuitt, who signed a six-year, $60 million contract on Saturday, played just two snaps against the Browns. He left after making a tackle on Browns running back Isaiah Crowell.
"It's not great news, but it is good news for us that he can be back any week," said reserve defensive tackle Tyson Alualu said. "We're thankful for that."
Alualu, a former first-round pick of the Jaguars, was signed in March to be the Steelers' top backup on the defensive line. He played 52 snaps Sunday and finished with five tackles. The Steelers also could turn to third-year defensive end L.T. Walton to play more.
While the Steelers were breathing a sigh of relief on Tuitt, their level of play against the Browns was concerning. They scored just two offensive touchdowns, the running game was non-existent and they committed 13 penalties for 144 yards.
If they were playing any other team in the NFL, the Steelers might have lost.
"We were highly penalized today, and we've got to be better with our hands, eyes and feet relative to our positions," head coach Mike Tomlin said. "We'll get back in the lab and work hard in those areas. I really thought that was the story of the game in terms of us, with our lack of execution.
"I thought our offensive drives got stopped because of penalties. I thought our defensive drives got extended because of penalties, and when you're doing that, you're going to keep people in the game. We're not making excuses. We're not blaming anyone. We've got to perform better from a technical standpoint to stay clean so that we don't stop ourselves."
In the end, the Steelers were bailed out by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown. They made the play that put the game away, a 34-yard hookup after Roethlisberger kept the play alive with a scramble and Brown skied to get a jump-ball.
Brown caught 11 passes for 182 yards for the Steelers while no other skill player produced more than 41 yards rushing or receiving.
"It's not our first rodeo," Roethlisberger said. "You know, I see AB going, I'm going to take that shot. I've got all the trust in the world in him and he's got it in me. I don't think there are any two guys that work together like him and I do, so it's fun to watch him play and be on the same team with him."
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