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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns preview

October 14, 2010 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

This Sunday, the Steelers and the Browns will renew one of the oldest rivalries in the NFL.  These two teams have been facing one another since 1950.

The Steelers hold a slim lead in the all-time regular season series 58-56.  However, the Steelers have owned the Browns of late.  The Steelers had won 12 straight games in the series until the Browns finally got a win last December in Cleveland.

The Browns won that game 13-6, but the game was much more lopsided than the score indicated.  Frankly, the Browns beat the #%$&*! out of the Steelers.  They sacked Ben Roethlisberger 8 times during that game.  The Browns threw so many blitzes at Big Ben that he probably started wondering if his offensive line was even trying to protect him.

For that reason, it is important for the Steelers to make sure that they don’t take the Browns for granted.  Despite their 1-4 record, the Browns are actually a good team.  Stop laughing, I’m being serious.

The Browns are the best 1-4 team in the NFL.  I know that sounds odd, but it’s true.  Several of their losses could have easily been wins.  They lost by only 3 points to Tampa Bay.  Then they lost by 2 points to a surprisingly good Kansas City Chiefs team.  Then in week 3, they were beating the Baltimore Ravens until the Ravens made a late comeback to beat the Browns in the closing minutes of the game.  They followed that near-win against Baltimore with a win over the reigning AFC North champs, the Cincinnati Bengals.  And then finally they suffered a loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week.  So the  Browns’ 4 losses have been by an average of only 5 points per game.  That indicates that they are playing all of their opponents close.  Underestimating this team would be a BIG mistake.

Of course the story of this game is going to be the quarterbacks.

Big Ben will be making his regular season debut with the Steelers, following his 4 game suspension.  In Ben’s absence, the Steelers have gone 3-1, but they did that mainly by running the ball and playing good defense.

The Steelers are ranked last in the NFL in passing.  That’s right, dead last.  Number 32 in the league.  They are only averaging 136 passing yards per game.  Those sound like rushing numbers, not passing numbers.

I'm baaaaaaaaack!

With Big Ben back in the lineup, there is little doubt that the Steelers’ passing attack is going to get a boost.  In fact, based on what Roethlisberger did last year, the Steelers’ passing offense should become one of the top 10 in the NFL.

Of course, quarterback is going to be the position to watch for the Browns as well.  The Browns have gone through quarterbacks almost as quickly as the Steelers have this season.  Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are both out with injuries, so rookie Colt McCoy will be making his first start on Sunday.

Browns QB Colt McCoy

McCoy was a highly touted quarterback who played for Texas in College.  Many thought McCoy would be drafted earlier, but he slipped to the Browns in the third round.

If there is one defense that McCoy probably doesn’t want to make his NFL debut against, it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is probably going to throw some things at McCoy that the rookie has never even dreamed of, much less seen.

As was mentioned earlier, the Browns are not a team to be taken lightly.  However, with the added pressure of starting a rookie quarterback, this game will likely prove to be too much for the Browns.  Big Ben should start his 2010 season with a win, and the Steelers will improve their record to 4-1.

With Big Ben back in the lineup, the stairway to seven is not nearly as steep.

Here we go Steelers, here we go!


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Steelers complete trifecta

December 11, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

last night (on national TV, I might add) the Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns by a score of 13-6.  That loss cemented an embarrassing trifecta.  The Steelers have now lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Oakland Raiders, and the Cleveland Brown in the same season.  I call that the “trifecta of shame”.

I’m really not even sure of what to think of the team anymore.  Are they a really good team that has suffered due to the loss of two of their best players (Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu)?  Or are they a really bad team that has been exposed by some of the worst teams in the NFL?

I know that Troy’s absence is a tremendous blow to the team, but I don’t think it has any effect on their inability to protect their quarterback.  I’ve gotten used to seeing Ben Roethlisberger get sacked, but watching him get sacked 8 times by one of the worst defenses in the NFL was painful.

Feels like deja vu

Feels like deja vu

I know that Aaron Smith’s absence has been a loss, but I don’t think that has caused the Steelers cornerbacks to be unable to get any interceptions this season.  Can’t anybody back there catch the ball?

I know that Brett Keisel got hurt last night, and Hines Ward was playing with a leg injury, but did that cause the Steelers to use baffling play calling on offense?  Why did they consistently utilize spread formations with an empty backfield on 3rd down, despite the fact that Cleveland was running a sackathon on Big Ben?  Is Bruce Arians out of his mind?

This looks familiar.

This looks familiar.

Try as I might, I just can’t figure this team out.  Why are they playing so poorly.  These are the reigning Super Bowl champs, aren’t they?

While the team is not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, their odds are exceedingly poor.  In fact, your odds of getting bit by a vampire are far greater than the Steelers odds of making the playoffs.  So we can all put the playoff dream to rest.

The rest of this season is now going to be about saving face.  The team is going to have to look in the mirror and decide what type of team they really are.  Do they have the ability to turn things around and end the season on a positive note, or are going to continue to look like one of the worst teams in the NFL?

Fans are already starting to talk about next year’s draft.  Some are even suggesting that the Steelers should lose the rest of their games so that we can improve our draft position.  I don’t agree with that suggestion.  Instead, I’d like to see the team turn this thing around.  I want them to beat Baltimore.  And Green Bay.  And Miami.  I want to believe that this losing streak has just been a slump, and that the Steelers are really a good team with great potential for next season.

So now that the Steelers have successfully completed the “trifecta of shame”, Steeler Nation is left wondering if the REAL Steelers are the team that beat Denver and Minnesota?  Or are the REAL Steelers the team that lost to Cleveland, Oakland, and Kansas City?

Will the real Steelers please stand up?


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Steelers beat Browns (again)

October 18, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

In an impressive display by both the offense and the defense, the Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns for the 12th consecutive time.  A home crowd at Heinz Field saw the Steelers defeat their longtime rivals by a score of  27-14

The big news of the game was the return of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.  Polamalu has been out since suffering a knee injury during the first game of the season.

Polamalu made his presence known almost immediately when he intercepted a pass from Browns’ quarterback Derek Anderson.  Unfortunately, he came down hard on his knee when making the interception, and came up limping.  This gave Steelers fans a scare, but Polamalu stayed in the game.

Polamalu wasn’t the only member of the defense that had a good game.  Linebacker Lawrence Timmons recorded 2 sacks during the game.

The entire Steelers defense played well as they held the Browns to only 197 net yards for the game.  The defense was accountable for only 7 of the 14 points scored by the Browns.  The other 7 points came on a 98 yard kickoff return by Joshua Cribbs.

While the Steelers defense turned in an excellent performance, the real heroes of the game were quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense.

Steelers TE Heath Miller

Steelers TE Heath Miller

The offense accumulated 543 net yards of offense.  Nope, you didn’t read that wrong.  I did say 543 yards of offense.  That is a not a very Steeler-like output, but these are not your father’s Steelers.  As Big Ben is so fond of telling reporters, this Steelers offense is primarily a passing attack. 

As if to prove the point, Roethlisberger passed for 417 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Even more unbelievably, Roethlisberger finds himself leading the NFL in passing yards.  Roethlisberger is ahead of such prolific passers as Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, and Brett Favre. 

Big Ben has also completed more passes of 20+ yards than any quarterback in the NFL this season.  This is a testament to the incredible receiving weapons that the Steelers have armed Roethlisberger with.  Both Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes had over 100 receiving yards for the game.  Tight end Heath Miller also contributed 80 receiving yards, and rookie Mike Wallace had 50 yards.  Nope, these are definitely not your father’s Steelers.

To cap off an already great day, the Steelers got further help from each of their division rivals.  While the Browns were losing to the Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Houston Texans.  This leaves the Steelers tied with the Bengals for 1st place in the AFC North.

So the Steelers beat the Browns and are in first place in the AFC North.  Sounds pretty typical to me.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Steelers vs. Browns haiku contest

October 18, 2009 By: Admin Category: Haiku contests

Well the Steelers beat the Browns (again).  No big surprise there.  Now it’s time for this week’s haiku contest.

Each week (okay, maybe not EACH week) we hold a haiku contest.  The contest rules are simple.  You must summarize the Steelers-Browns game in a haiku.  A haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that contains only 3 lines. The first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables, and the third line has 5 syllables.  Typically, haiku do not rhyme.

Please note, the emphasis is on syllables, not words. Remember 5/7/5.

Last week I did not hold a haiku contest.   However, with the Steelers’ impressive win over the Browns, there are lots of storylines to capture in a haiku.  Troy Polamalu’s return, Big Ben’s big game, 2 hundred yard receivers, fumbles galore, losses by AFC North opponents, and the Steelers tie for 1st place in the AFC North are just a few of the thoughts that I expect to be reflected in this week’s entries.

Ouch!  My knee!

Ouch! My knee!

Here is my haiku for this week. 

The return of Troy
400 yards for Big Ben
1st place here we come

Okay readers, your turn.  Lets see who can come up with the best haiku about the Steelers-Browns game.  Are you ready for some haiku?!!


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Steelers vs. Browns game day

October 18, 2009 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

It’s game day.  The Steelers will face the Cleveland Browns today at 1:00 PM at Heinz Field.

Perhaps it is just my imagination, but there seems to be very little buzz about today’s game.  I guess that is an indication of how far the Browns as an organization, and the Steelers-Browns rivalry, have fallen.

I once wrote an article about Steelers vs. Browns day that talked about what a big occasion it is whenever the Steelers play the Browns.  However, those days seem like a distant memory.

These days, the game comes with little excitement, little anticipation, little buzz.


There is obviously great anticipation over the return of Troy Polamalu.  The Steelers defense just hasn’t been the same without Troy.  Unfortunately, the team will be playing its first game without defensive end Aaron Smith who will miss the rest of the season with a rotator cuff injury.

Perhaps the most interesting storyline of today’s game will be drama in the Steelers’ own backfield.  Willie Parker is returning from a turf toe injury.  While he was out, Rashard Mendenhall turned in two very respectable performances.  It will be interesting to see how the team integrates the two into the lineup.  Will Parker start?  Will Mendenhall get the majority of the carries?  That storyline is far more interesting than any pertaining to the Browns.

Let’s take a look around the web to see if any other Steelers sites are excited about today’s game.  Here are some articles that I thought you might enjoy:

“Know thy enemy: Cleve Brownies” - Nice Pick, Cowher

“Going for the Brownie Dozen” - D.C. Steeler Nation

“Beat the Browns” - Steelergurl

“Who I like; Mendenhall will start” - NFL From the Sidelines

“Cleveland vs Steelers: The weekly matchup” - Pittsburgh Steelers Fanatic

Nice reads, but like I said, there is very little excitement out there over this game. 

Browns QB Derek Anderson completed two passes for 23 yards and 1 interception.  No, you didn’t read that wrong.  He only completed 2 passes.  The Browns are obviously not an offensive juggernaut.  So regardless of how we might try to manufacture excitement over this game, it will probably end up being a blowout.

My prediction:  Steelers 31- Browns 6.


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