View Full Version : Steelers well aware of Cribbs' ability

09-14-2008, 04:00 AM
Steelers well aware of Cribbs' ability
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
Sunday, September 14, 2008 12:29 AM EDT

CLEVELAND — Based on what happened in the past two years, the Steelers know what they must do to secure victory tonight. They must stop Joshua Cribbs.

It’s as simple as that.

“There is one Joshua Cribbs,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “No question what he did to us in the past was very critical in terms of how the game played out. He is the greatest in the world.”

Last year in the season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cribbs wasn’t a factor as the Steelers rolled, 34-7.

Two months later at Heinz Field, the Steelers out-gained the Browns, 401-163, but needed a fourth-quarter rally to pull out a 31-28 decision.

That game was close because Cribbs totaled 204 yards in kickoff returns. A 92-yarder set up a touchdown in the first quarter. His 100-yarder gave the Browns a 24-20 lead in the fourth quarter.

“You know, I am getting tired of talking about Joshua Cribbs. But I guess it comes with the territory,” said Anthony Madison, a reserve cornerback who’s one of the best tacklers on the Steelers’ kickoff and punt coverage teams.

“Hey, I’m one of the guys who missed Cribbs last year (on the 100-yarder). If we do our job this week, (the media) probably won’t be talking to us next week.”

Two years ago in Cleveland, Cribbs returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that gave the Browns a 20-10 lead. But the Steelers avoided the upset by scoring the game-winning TD with just 32 seconds left for a 24-20 win.

A month later, the Steelers kept Cribbs in control and trounced the Browns, 27-7.

In the last four games of the Turnpike Rivalry, there’s an unmistakable trend. If Cribbs runs wild, the Browns have a chance. If he isn’t a factor, the Browns get blown out.

“‘I can be a difference,”’ said Cribbs, who’s already returned five kicks for TDs (four kickoffs, one punt) in his four-year pro career. “‘But as far as me being the difference, I’m only one guy.”

Cribbs returns both kickoffs and punts for the Browns. But he didn’t do either last week in a 28-10 loss to Dallas. He sat out with a high ankle sprain that’s bothered him for nearly a month.

For tonight’s game, he’s listed as questionable, which means he has a 50 percent chance of playing.

The Steelers believe Cribbs will play. He may even have to play some wide receiver because of injuries the Browns have.

“We know what he’s capable of doing and we expect to see him (tonight),” Tomlin said of Cribbs.

If Cribbs does return kicks, he might not get that may chances to return them. Whether it’s kicker Jeff Reed or punter Mitch Berger, they’ll try to make it tough on Cribbs with squib kicks and directional punts.

“‘I’m counting on them kicking away from me,” said Cribbs, a quarterback when he played college football at Kent State.

And if Cribbs does manage to get his hands on the ball, it’s up to the Steelers’ coverage teams to tackle him quickly. Just like last week when the Steelers held Houston kickoff returner Andre Davis to just 18.7 yards a return.

“We like our cast of characters (on our coverage teams),” Tomlin said.

Tonight, the mission for those “characters” is this: Stop Cribbs from giving the Browns a chance for an upset


09-14-2008, 04:07 AM
Sweet. I didn't know we actually followed through and signed Mitch Berger. That guy will totally kill you, with a knife.

Galax Steeler
09-14-2008, 06:24 AM
I just hope our special teams will be up to the task of stopping cribbs if we can tackle him like we did davis last week we will be fine.

09-14-2008, 06:03 PM
Well after our S/T owned in week one im hoping they will come up big every week and Cribbs is our first real test tonight.