CLEVELAND — With Matt Bahr nursing an injured kicking leg in the locker room, the Cleveland Browns knew they needed a touchdown.
So Bernie Kosar hit rookie Webster Slaughter with a 36-yard scoring pass 6:37 into overtime Sunday to give the Browns a 37-31 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cleveland (8-4) remained tied with Cincinnati for first place in the AFC Central Division. The loss mathematically eliminated Pittsburgh (4-8) from the division race.
"It was definitely in our minds that we wanted to go for six," Kosar said. "We didn't know how bad Matt was hurt. The conditions were tough for kickers today, with the field wet and the crosswinds."
Bahr traded field goals with Pittsburgh's Gary Anderson in the final two minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime.
Bahr's 25-yard kick, atoning for two earlier misses, put Cleveland ahead, 31-28, with 1:51 left. Anderson made a 40-yarder with seven seconds left to tie the score, 31-31.
Bahr damaged ligaments in his right knee trying to make a tackle on the kickoff following his field goal and will be out for the season.
Tight end Harry Holt, the Browns' backup kicker, was warming up on the sideline when Slaughter streaked down the left sideline for the winning score.
"All I was hoping was that Webster didn't step out of bounds," Cleveland Coach Marty Schottenheimer said.
Slaughter, aided by Kosar's pump fake, got behind Pittsburgh defender Donnie Elder, catching the ball at the 14 and carrying it into the end zone.
Slaughter caught 6 passes for 134 yards, both personal bests.
"It was my responsibility," Elder said. "I was supposed to force the receiver inside, and I didn't. It was my fault. I guess you could say I blew the game."
Kosar, two days shy of his 23rd birthday, finished with 28 completions in 46 attempts for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, surpassing his career best of 401 yards achieved two weeks ago against Miami.
Kosar's production was the second-best in Browns' history, behind Brian Sipe's 444-yard game against Baltimore in October, 1981.
The teams exchanged punts in overtime before Kosar took Cleveland 60 yards in 6 plays for the victory.
Kevin Mack, who had 106 yards in 24 carries, ran the ball 4 times for 15 yards to start the winning drive.
Cleveland, on the strength of a 21-point second quarter, was ahead, 28-21, after three periods. But Pittsburgh quarterback Mark Malone tied it when he scored his second one-yard touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter.
Kosar's first touchdown pass was a 20-yarder to a wide open Ozzie Newsome during the second period. Curtis Dickey and Mack also scored on short runs during the period, and Dickey added a four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Walter Abercrombie scored twice for Pittsburgh on first-half runs of 1 and 38 yards. Malone's two scoring runs marked his first two-touchdown day as a pro.
Abercrombie had 91 yards in 15 carries. Malone was 17 of 28 for 197 yards.
The victory gave the Browns their first two-game season sweep of the Steelers since 1969.