PITTSBURGH — Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played through a high left ankle sprain to lead the Steelers to a 14-3 victory over the Browns on Thursday.
Pittsburgh's 15th win in its past 16 games against Cleveland put it a half-game ahead of Baltimore in the AFC North.
With 5:46 left in the second quarter, Roethlisberger was sacked by Scott Paxson and Brian Schaefering, his ankle bending awkwardly. He lay on the ground for several minutes, limped off the field and went to the locker room for X-rays.
Charlie Batch finished the half.
But Roethlisberger returned for the second half, going 8-of-12 for 178 yards. That included a 79-yard touchdown to Antonio Brown with 2:52 left.
Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy left in the fourth after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker James Harrison, who was called for roughing the passer. Seneca Wallace led the Browns to the Pittsburgh 5. McCoy returned but was called for intentional grounding on his first play then threw an interception. Brown's touchdown came two plays later.
Manning update: Colts owner Jim Irsay said quarterback Peyton Manning probably won't play this season. Manning hasn't thrown with teammates since having his third neck surgery in 19 months on Sept. 8. And with only four games left and him just now able to ramp up his rehab regimen, it was highly unlikely he could play.
Broncos: Receiver Eddie Royal missed his second straight practice with a concussion. His status hasn't been determined for Sunday.
Rams: QB Sam Bradford did not practice for the second straight day because of a high left ankle sprain but hopes to play Monday. Backup A.J. Feeley is out with a broken thumb. Tom Brandstater, who has never played in a game, would go if Bradford can't.
Vikings: Running back Adrian Peterson practiced on a limited basis, his first action since spraining his left ankle Nov. 20 against the Raiders. He hopes to determine his status today. Also, quarterback Christian Ponder didn't practice because of a right hip pointer sustained Sunday. His status hasn't been determined.
Concussions: Lew Carpenter, who died last year at 78, had an advanced form of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, a degenerative disease increasingly found in athletes who absorb repeated blows to the head. Carpenter played running back for the Lions, Browns and Packers from 1953-63. Late in his life, he had trouble finding the right words, keeping things organized and controlling his temper. His family donated his brain for research. "Concussions aren't necessary for CTE to exist," Boston University's Robert Cantu said. "He probably had between 1,000 and 1,500 subconcussive blows a year just from practice and … games."
Obituary: The Chargers said linebacker Lew Bush, who played for them for seven seasons, died of an apparent heart attack. He was 42. Mr. Bush was part of the 1994 Super Bowl team.
Regional combine coming to Tampa
Starting next year, the league will hold eight regional scouting combines in addition to its main one in Indianapolis. The combines, for players not invited to Indianapolis, will be in Tampa (Feb. 18), Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles and New York. Players who attend one could be invited to a bigger one in Detroit.