PITTSBURGH -- The Cleveland Browns finished the 2017 regular season on the wrong end of National Football League history Sunday.
Despite having their chances to build go-ahead scoring drives in the fourth quarter, the Browns were bitten by turnovers, and those miscues led to a 28-24 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC North Division battle at Heinz Field.
The Browns became just the second team in NFL history, along with the 2008 Detroit Lions, to finish winless in a 16-game season.
In addition to the 2017 Browns and 2008 Lions, only three other NFL teams have finished the regular-season winless, including the 1960 Dallas Cowboys (0-11-1), 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14) and 1982 Baltimore Colts (0-8-1).
With Sunday's season-ending loss to the Steelers, the Browns went winless in a 16-game schedule for the first time in franchise history, and their 17th consecutive loss overall dropped the organization to a league-worst 1-31 since the opening game of 2016.
The Browns have not won on a Sunday afternoon since December 13, 2015. The 33 straight Sunday losses are an NFL record, and their 4-49 mark in the last 53 outings is the worst in the league in that four-year span.
Already this season, the Browns set the record for the worst 28-game stretch in NFL history, as they bested the previous mark of 2-26 set by the expansion Buccaneers during the 1976-1977 seasons with a 1-27 mark that got four losses worse since Week 13.
The Steelers started several backups at key skill positions, but that sure did not slow down their momentum against the Browns early in the game.
On the opening possession, the Steelers marched 72 yards on eight plays and took a 7-0 lead with 10:43 to play in the first quarter when wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey took a pitch from running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, ran around right end and hustled his way to a 29-yard touchdown run.
The Steelers extended their lead to 14-0 on quarterback Landry Jones' 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster with 13:26 to play in the first half.
On third-and-two from the Cleveland 20-yard line, Jones took the snap from under center, quickly surveyed the field as he dropped back and threw a line drive pass to Smith-Schuster on the right side of the field that was just out of the reach of a Browns defender.
After getting a good release off of the line of scrimmage, Smith-Schuster got behind the coverage of the Browns' secondary and corralled his team-leading seventh touchdown catch of the season.
Running back Steven Ridley rushed for a four-yard touchdown and gave the Steelers a 21-7 lead over the Browns with 7:59 to play in the second quarter.
Ridley's touchdown run capped off an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was aided heavily by a pair of Browns penalties.
On Toussaint's seven-yard run, Browns linebacker Joe Schobert gave the Steelers a free 15 yards when he was flagged for a face-mask penalty that moved the ball down to the Cleveland 16-yard line.
Three plays later, the Browns forced an incompletion on third-and-three from Cleveland's nine-yard line, but defensive end Myles Garrett was penalized for roughing the passer. And while the penalty went for only five yards, it gave the Steelers a first-and-goal from the Browns' four-yard line.
After the Browns drew even with the Steelers at 21 all, Smith-Schuster fielded a 61-yard kickoff from Cleveland rookie Zane Gonzalez at the four-yard line and returned it 96 yards for the tie-breaking touchdown, which gave Pittsburgh a 28-21 lead with just under 11 minutes left in the third quarter.
Smith-Schuster ran the ball up the right hash mark for the first 10 yards of the return, took a right turn toward the numbers and broke a pair of tackles while making other defenders dive and miss on his way down the sideline for Pittsburgh's first special-teams return touchdown of the season.