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View Full Version : Rivalry brings out best in Steelers


lamberts-lost-tooth
11-12-2007, 06:06 AM
By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, November 12, 2007

The Steelers are still in command, but the rivalry's back.
Cleveland was swept, and the AFC North Division title was all but clinched. But the fight is back in the Browns.

That was evident during what became the Steelers' ninth consecutive victory in the series, a hold-your-breath, 31-28 escape Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.

And it was apparent afterward, when the last-play kneeldown by Ben Roethlisberger was punctuated by an outbreak of pushing, shoving and shouting. Browns defensive back Sean Jones was assessed an unnecessary roughness penalty after time had expired.

One of the Cleveland assistant coaches made a point of shouting expletives at umpire Roy Ellison before leaving the field (I'm guessing the Browns disagreed with the 10-yard holding penalty assessed to Darnell Dinkins on Joshua Cribbs' last punt return).
And Browns defensive lineman Robaire Smith did his best to engage Steelers linebacker Clark Haggans in a postgame confrontation after most players had already retired to the locker room.

Browns quarterback Derek Anderson intervened near the Steelers' bench, delivering a two-handed shove to Haggans' chest. Although, Anderson's intent seemed to be to separate the two players.

Haggans, to his credit, didn't lose his cool -- in that particular instance and afterward.

"I tried to say 'good game' to them," Haggans said. "They were trying not to hear it. What can I say?

"They were mad because they lost; I don't know. I wasn't even paying attention to all of that. I saw (Anderson's) mouth moving, but I don't know, really, what he said. I just let it be."

The Browns must do the same, at least for this season.

They might still be entertaining wild-card aspirations at 5-4, but they remain a team with a Steelers problem.

And the Steelers, after bloating their record to 7-2 with three consecutive victories -- over Baltimore, Cincinnati and Cleveland -- are in control of the division.

What's more, they should be better for having been pushed to the brink, figuratively and literally, by a Cleveland team that was a 52-yard field goal away from overtime and, perhaps, an upset that would have drastically altered status quo in the AFC North.

The Steelers' rally from a 21-6 deficit was forged by a quarterback who continues to credibly impersonate Superman and by a defense that refused to give an inch in the second half.

Those are two things the Browns, improved as they are after that embarrassment of an opener, still lack.

"I think they're sick of losing to us," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "There was talking (during the game). We understood they were going to come in and give us their best shot."

The Browns did.

It wasn't enough to protect a 21-9 halftime advantage or a 28-24 fourth-quarter lead achieved with a stunning, potentially crippling 100-yard kickoff return.

"This game was enormous in our division and in our progress," Keisel said. "This was a huge step. This was big to know we can come from behind, if we ever get in a situation like this again."

You'd have to think they will eventually.

The Browns becoming competitive again has prepared the Steelers for just such an emergency.

HometownGal
11-12-2007, 04:31 PM
One of the Cleveland assistant coaches made a point of shouting expletives at umpire Roy Ellison before leaving the field (I'm guessing the Browns disagreed with the 10-yard holding penalty assessed to Darnell Dinkins on Joshua Cribbs' last punt return).

You go right on being classy there, coach. :rolleyes: Seems a few of your players are following your example.