View Full Version : Steelers Notebook: 12/6/06

12-06-2006, 06:47 AM
Steelers Notebook: Steelers could even Browns series
Wednesday, December 06, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Since they first played Cleveland Oct. 7, 1950, and lost, 30-17, the Steelers have tried -- fruitlessly -- to catch the Browns, who won the first eight games of the series and were 16-2 at one point.

Fifty-six years later, the Steelers have a chance to tie the series with the Browns for the first time since their second meeting in 1950 when they play tomorrow night in Heinz Field -- the 110th game of the series.

Cleveland leads 55-54, including two playoff games won by the Steelers.

The series has become lopsided lately. The Steelers are 19-3 against the Browns since their second meeting in the 1993 season and have won the past six, including 24-20 Nov. 19 in Cleveland.

Few have waited as long to see the Steelers climb back even in the series with the Browns than Dan Rooney, who first started working for his father's club as a ballboy in the 1940s.

"That's a big deal," Rooney said yesterday. "They've been our big rivalry and that will pick up again the same way. And this is an important game for us."

Rooney pointed out that while the great Steelers Super Bowl teams of the 1970s dominated the Browns in Three Rivers Stadium, that wasn't the case when they played in Cleveland.

"We only won five times there during the 1970s," Rooney said.

In the decade of the '70s, the Steelers were 5-5 in Cleveland. They were 10-0 at Three Rivers Stadium, where the Steelers won the first 16 games against the Browns.

The Browns and then-owner Art Modell tried to break their jinx in Three Rivers Stadium by doing something different every year -- flying to Pittsburgh instead of taking buses or changing the hotel where they stayed. Once, the Browns even brought some dirt with them from old Cleveland Stadium and spread it on the artificial turf at Three Rivers. It didn't prevent them from losing again.

Nothing worked until the Browns finally ended their futility Oct. 5, 1986, with a 27-24 win at Three Rivers Stadium. It was the start of a four-game winning streak for them in Pittsburgh. However, the Steelers have dominated the Browns at home, where they are 29-6 since the 1970 NFL merger.

Another footnote in what historically has been the Steelers' most bitter rivalry -- Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Noll, a Cleveland native who played for the Browns in the 1950s when they so dominated the Steelers, won his last game as Steelers coach Dec. 22, 1991, a 17-10 victory against the Browns at Three Rivers Stadium.

Four starters officially out

Coach Bill Cowher made it official -- his starting wide receivers and his starting safeties will miss tomorrow night's game.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu (knee), free safety Ryan Clark (groin), and wide receivers Hines Ward (knee) and Cedrick Wilson (ankle) are listed as out.

Replacing them will be strong safety Tyrone Carter, free safety Anthony Smith, and wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington.

No one else is on the Steelers' injury list.

Backup QB might start

The Browns list former Steelers defensive lineman Orpheus Roye as doubtful with a knee injury. They have nine other players listed as questionable, including quarterback Charlie Frye.

Frye left Sunday's game with an injured right wrist that an MRI showed is not broken but bruised. His wrist is in a splint and he did not practice yesterday.

The Steelers expect backup Derek Anderson to make his first NFL start. He's in his second season and has played in just one game -- most of the second half of a 31-28 overtime upset of Kansas City.

Anderson completed 12 of 21 passes for 171 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

"Anytime you have a rookie you want to get after him, you know, because he's never been here, never played here, doesn't know what it's like, isn't familiar with our schemes or things like that," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "You have to pin your ears back a little bit."

Told Anderson was not a rookie, Keisel said: "He hasn't played against us, though. If you haven't played against us, you're a rookie."

Mr. Exaggeration

Browns tight end Kellen Winslow went a little overboard while describing how Anderson differs from Frye to the Pittsburgh media.

"He has a stronger arm than Charlie, but he's not elusive at all. Charlie is like Michael Vick."


12-06-2006, 06:52 AM
Steelers notebook

By Scott Brown
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

? Chidi Iwuoma watched from afar as the Steelers' kickoff coverage team gave up one long return after another. He couldn't help but wonder the difference he might have made had he not gotten released before the season opener. "Of course you can play couch quarterback and say, 'I could have made that play,' " Iwuoma said Tuesday, his first day back with the team he played for from 2002-05. "But some plays I think I definitely could have had an impact on or at least helped slow some of those things down." The return of last year's special teams captain couldn't come at a better time. The Steelers host the Browns on Thursday night, and the last time the AFC North rivals played, Cleveland's Joshua Cribbs returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Steelers coach Bill Cowher said after yesterday's practice that Iwuoma will be on the kickoff and punt coverage teams against the Browns. His 19 tackles on special teams last season were second only to Brett Keisel, and Iwuoma broke camp with the Steelers in August thinking he had made the squad. But a week before the Sept. 7 game against the Dolphins, starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had an emergency appendectomy. The Steelers elevated Brian St. Pierre from the practice squad and released Iwuoma. "It was a total surprise when what happened, happened," said Iwuoma, who played briefly for the Patriots this season before getting released. "Unfortunately, those injuries, you can't do nothing about it. I'm just happy it eventually came around."

? Browns coach Romeo Crennel hasn't ruled out starting Charlie Frye at quarterback against the Steelers. Frye left Sunday's game with what appeared to be a broken wrist, and his backup, Derek Anderson, led Cleveland to a stirring, 31-28 win over Kansas City. "How the game unfolded and the job he did coming in, we expect (Anderson) to start." Cowher said. Anderson, playing in only his second NFL game, tossed a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, and the Browns beat the Chiefs in overtime. Frye, whose right wrist is in a splint, didn't practice yesterday. He will be re-evaluated by Browns doctors today. "We'll make a determination then," Crennel said.

? Steelers starting wide receivers Hines Ward (knee) and Cedrick Wilson (ankle) didn't practice yesterday and will not play tomorrow. The same is true of starting safeties Troy Polamalu (knee) and Ryan Clark (groin). Four players didn't practice for the Browns yesterday, including tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) and defensive end Orpheus Roye (knee). The two are questionable and doubtful for tomorrow's game, respectively. Other Browns that are questionable: cornerback Leigh Bodden (ankle), linebacker Willie McGinest (pectoral) and safety Brian Russell (elbow).


0 -- Passes Derek Anderson had thrown in an NFL game before rallying the Browns past the Chiefs last Sunday with 171 passing yards and two touchdowns.

30 -- Browns' rank (among 32 teams) in rushing offense.

58 -- Rushing yards the Steelers have averaged their last three games.

85.9 -- Browns' average rushing yards per game.


tony hipchest
12-06-2006, 08:57 AM
The Browns and then-owner Art Modell tried to break their jinx in Three Rivers Stadium by doing something different every year -- flying to Pittsburgh instead of taking buses or changing the hotel where they stayed. Once, the Browns even brought some dirt with them from old Cleveland Stadium and spread it on the artificial turf at Three Rivers. It didn't prevent them from losing again.

them bastard dogs crapped on our lawn! :poop: no wonder theyre destined to suck. i bet the bengals buried a pile somewhere on our field too or sprayed their crotch musk on the goalposts or something.