BROWNS 20, STEELERS 14
Steelers’ record: 6-5
One year ago: 8-3
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 64-57
This was an important game for both of these teams, but for decidedly different reasons. The Steelers arrived in Cleveland for the 121st installment in this series having won 16 of the previous 17 against the Browns, but they needed a victory to stay in the thick of the AFC playoff race. For the Browns, a win over the Steelers would serve as an emotional highlight for a fandom that has enjoyed only two winning seasons since the team returned to the NFL in 1999.
Call it a harbinger more than a turning point.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
The eight turnovers by the Steelers were the most in a game since the 2011 regular season opener in Baltimore against the Ravens. The Steelers lost that game, 35-7.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
One play after
On the Browns’ first offensive snap following Timmons’ pick-six,
It was a third-and-5 for the Browns at their own 45-yard line late in the first quarter when Brandon Weeden threw a quick pass to TE Benjamin Watson in the left flat.
The defense rose up after the
WHAT WENT WRONG
Before the game started,
The Steelers’ first two offensive plays were runs by Rashard Mendenhall, and on the second DT Ahtyba Rubin forced a fumble that FS Usama Young recovered at the Pittsburgh 44-yard line. The Browns turned that into a field goal that cut the Steelers’ lead to 7-3.
The possession was a disaster from the start. The Steelers started at their own 16-yard line, and it included a holding penalty on
The touchdown pass to Cameron gave the Browns a 10-7 lead, and on the ensuing kickoff
When Jonathan Dwyer lost a fumble that MLB D’Qwell Jackson recovered for the Browns at the Pittsburgh 34-yard line with three minutes left in the first half, all three of the guys the Steelers had planned on using as ball carriers had lost fumbles.
Before the first quarter was over, LaMarr Woodley had injured his left ankle, returned to the game to try it, and then left again after only a couple of plays. He was replaced by Jason Worilds.
Bad start to the second half. A first down pass to
On second down from the Pittsburgh 20-yard line,
After Trent Richardson’s 15-yard touchdown run gave the Browns a 20-14 lead, 17 of Cleveland’s points had come off Steelers turnovers.
Another installment of: Penalties, penalties, penalties. An 8-yard run by Rashard Mendenhall was nullified by a holding penalty on
A second interception by Charlie Batch came on a ball thrown slightly behind Mike Wallace on a crossing pattern, and when Wallace tipped the ball into the air it was picked off by DT Billy Winn.
A third interception by Batch came with three minutes left in the fourth quarter on an attempt deep down the field to Mike Wallace. The ball was underthrown and intercepted by CB Joe Haden. That was the sixth turnover of the day for the Steelers.
The seventh turnover ended it.
Attempt to thwart Towel scrapped
It happens just about everywhere the Steelers play, and especially at those venues where the black-and-gold clad are a threat to take over the stadium. Teams hosting the Steelers have a history of “scheduling” promotions where all fans are given something to twirl in the air, an obvious attempt to camouflage the gold Terrible Towels Steelers fans always carry with them.
Last week, the Browns said that they would hand out white flags for fans to wave during Sunday’s game against the Steelers. Shortly after the announcement, the idea was scrapped, mainly because of what waving a white flag has come to represent.
“After further and careful consideration, we felt it was in the best interests of everyone involved that we not have a giveaway item at tomorrow’s game,” the statement said. “It is something that was intended to be fun for our fans and that they could rally around, and we regret that some didn’t perceive it that way. We want to thank all of our fans for their tremendous support and we look forward to seeing them out in force at the stadium tomorrow.”