Created on Monday, 25 November 2013 Written by TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Lying flat on his back near the painted orange helmet logo at midfield, Jason Campbell couldn't get to his feet.
As Pittsburgh defenders ran in the other direction with his fumble, Cleveland's quarterback was sprawled on the turf in a daze following a blind-side blitz that gave him a concussion.
Campbell didn't know what hit him.
And the Browns were flattened by the Steelers again.
Campbell was knocked from the game in the third quarter and the Browns had their slim playoff hopes essentially wiped out Sunday with a 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have turned their season around following a 0-4 start.
For the second straight week, the Browns (4-7) failed miserably in an important game and have seen a promising season reduced to another forgettable one.
Two games. Two blowout losses. From contention to dejection.
"We're not ready," Browns safety T.J. Ward said.
With the Browns trailing 13-3 in the third quarter, Campbell was injured when he was hit from the side by cornerback William Gay, who came in untouched off the edge. Gay slammed Campbell's head with his left hand and dislodged the ball, which was scooped up by Will Allen and returned to Cleveland's 4.
Campbell's head also slammed hard into the frozen turf.
On the next play, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had consoled Campbell as he was being treated by medical personnel, threw a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders to put the Steelers (5-6) ahead 20-3.
The Browns never recovered.
Campbell was visibly woozy and needed assistance to get off the field. He was driven to the Browns' locker room, his head slumped as he sat in the front seat of a cart.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski wouldn't speculate on how long Campbell, the Browns' third starter this season and their 20th since 1999, might be sidelined or if the team will sign another QB.
"Whoever the quarterback is next week, we'll get him ready to play," Chudzinski said. "We'll go out and guys will rally behind him, whoever he is and we'll play."
Brandon Weeden, who began the season behind center, replaced Campbell and will likely start next week when the Browns host Jacksonville.
Weeden was booed when he came in for one play in the first half when Campbell aggravated a rib injury. The second-year QB received a negative reception again in the third.
"You just got to laugh at it," said Weeden, who threw a TD pass in the fourth quarter to Josh Gordon. "All you can do is march down the field and throw a touchdown. I didn't hear any boos after I threw that touchdown. That's just part of it. I was worried about leading that offense. That was my main focus."
Gordon was the lone bright spot for the Browns. The wide receiver tied a team record with 14 receptions and set a new mark with 237 yards.
Gordon, though, would trade the personal accomplishments for a win.
"It really doesn't mean that much to me," Gordon said. "After taking a loss like that, it means nothing. If we can't go out there and win, I really don't care about it."
The injury to Campbell completes a quarterback cycle for the Browns. Weeden started the season, got hurt and was replaced by Brian Hoyer, who led the Browns to a pair of wins before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Campbell then replaced an ineffective Weeden and played well in two straight games before struggling last week at Cincinnati.
Now the Browns are back to Weeden.
"I think for any team it would be difficult," Gordon said. "The only benefit is that we have already played with Brandon, so it's easier to adjust to him. We want the fans to get behind guys and we don't want them to boo guys when they get on the field."
Roethlisberger connected on a 41-yard TD pass to Antonio Brown in the first half for the Steelers, who only have a few days to get ready for a Thanksgiving game at Baltimore — a matchup that didn't look as if it would be very meaningful a few weeks back.
Roethlisberger finished 22 of 34 for 217 yards and improved to 16-1 against the Browns. An Ohio native, Roethlisberger relishes beating a team from his home state.
"It's homecoming, you know, a home game," he said. "So it does feel good."
NOTES: The Steelers are 25-5 against the Browns since 1999. ... Gordon broke the yards receiving record held by Hall of Fame TE Ozzie Newsome, who had 14 catches for 191 yards in 1984 against the New York Jets. Gordon has 988 yards this season, the most since 2007 when WR Braylon Edwards set a team mark with 1,289 and TE Kellen Winslow had 1,106. ... The Browns remain the only NFL team not to give up 100 yards to a rusher or 300 to a passer.