Photo Gallery: Top 10 Classic Steelers at Browns
Steelers Browns Rivalry: The First Win ** "What's the Matter?"
November 26, 1995, Cleveland Municipal Stadium
Steelers 20, Browns 17
It was the end of an era. At the time it was expected to be the final game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, a rivalry that began in 1950 was ending because the Browns were pulling up stakes in Cleveland and moving to Baltimore.
And the Steelers made sure the heated rivalry ended on a positive note for them. The Steelers jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead on a Norm Johnson field goal and 12-yard touchdown pass from Neil O’Donnell to Mark Bruener.
Browns kicker Matt Stover hit a 44-yard field goal to pull within a touchdown, but Bam Morris quickly extended the lead to 17-3 on a one-yard touchdown run.
Bill Belichick’s Browns battled back, with Vinny Testaverde hitting Michael Jackson for an 11-yard touchdown and then Testaverde ran it in from one-yard to tie the game at 17-17 in the third quarter, much to the delight of the home crowd.
But the Steelers would take control for good in the fourth quarter when Johnson hit his second field goal of the day for a 20-17 lead. Chris Oldham intercepted Testaverde to end a fourth-quarter drive, and then the defense stopped the Browns on their next possession as well. The Steelers offense took over with 8:52 to play in the game and controlled the ball on the ground to run out the clock.
The win was the Steelers fifth in a row, after opening the season 3-4, and was a stepping stone in advancing to Super Bowl XXX, which they lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 27-17.
Former Steelers safety/cornerback Carnell Lake, now the team’s secondary coach, was a member of the 1995 Steelers team and remembers the final game in Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
“The Browns-Steelers rivalry was so huge when I was here,” recalled Lake. “I always enjoyed playing that game. They had the old stadium in Cleveland, they had the ‘Dawg Pound,’ and it was rundown there and it was time for a new stadium, but it had a real character to it. The fans there had a lot of character to say the least. It made for a great game, a great battle between the two teams.
“Knowing it was going to come to an end, you wondered what it was it going to do to the AFC Central at the time, how was it going to affect the Steelers with the Browns not being there? There were so many questions that were left unanswered because of the fact that the Browns were leaving. It was like a void was created. The passion you had for the game, a piece of that was going to be gone because the rivalry in essence was going to be broken up.”