View Full Version : Looking at the Steelers- Browns game

12-11-2009, 07:26 AM
Looking at the Steelers- Browns game
December 11, 4:51 AM
Pittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski

CLEVELAND - Hines Ward said it was embarrassing. Santonio Holmes said they were better prepared. Linebacker James Farrior said he doesn’t have an answer for the Steelers not being able to close out games this year. Other players said it was unbelievable, Tackle Trai Essex said it hurts and Steeler coach Mike Tomlin said the team got beat in all three phases of the game.

But Browns cornerback Mike Adams said it best.

“Now they get to think about what we did to them,” Adams said. “This was a playoff game for them and hopefully, we spoiled their dreams. If we aren’t going, then they aren’t going.”

Adams hit it right on the mark. Not only was the Steelers 13-6 loss to the Browns one of the worst in recent memory, it all but eliminated them from the playoff picture at 6-7.

A month ago, they were sitting pretty at 6-2, but since a win over the Broncos, the team has lost to a 1 win team (Cleveland) a two win team (Kansas City) and a three win team (Oakland) and has spiraled on a five game losing streak its worst since the late 1990’s

“We never give up, when backed into a corner and we never fold,” tackle Max Starks said. “A lot of teams could go in the tank and say it’s over we’re heading into the offseason, but I know this group we are going to keep fighting till Jan. 3.”

That may be the case, but unless the team can figure out how to conure up a win again, Jan. 4 can't come soon enough.

NOTEBOOK: MAD DOCTOR- Each week the Steelers talk about heading back to the lab to fix things. Perhaps they need to find a Dr. Frankenstein because the lab they are using seems to be faulty and not working.

“We've found new and different ways to not rise up in critical situations," Tomlin said.

So what is the cure? Tomlin promised change last week, much like President Obama, and much like Obama those changes have largely gone the wayside.

The Steelers are in dire need of a leader at this juncture and Tomlin is inspirational. But from what the players said in the lockers tonight, instead of firing them up with there is still a chance ( the Cards were 9-7 last year and went to the Super Bowl, Tomlin told them they are playing the rest of the year for pride.

WHERE’S THE PEOPLE? – The Browns announced 69,009 tickets distributed for the game. A look around the stands though and it was more like 35,000 or so as Cleveland Browns Stadium looked like Lego land with all the empty orange seats.

NOT SO SPECIAL TEAMS AGAIN - All season long it has plagued the team, and once again against the Browns it hurt them again. If not for a Daniel Sepulveda tackle the Josh Cribbs would have taken yet another punt to the yard against the Steelers. His return of 55 yards led to the Browns first points of the night and gave the Browns all the momentum they needed. Then there was this odd fact. Instead of having Stefan Logan field balls, Tomlin went with Mewelde Moore on a number of occasions. The result? Fumbles.

PINNED DEEP – When your best field position to start a drive is the 33 yard line, you are going to have trouble moving the ball. It’s something the Browns managed to do all night against the Steelers.

REED’s TOE – For those that criticize the guy for not making tackles, for those who criticized him for missing a 53 yard field goal attempt against the Raiders, if there is one thing that can be said about the Steelers kicker, he is money in bad weather. As a matter of fact, if there was a bright spot in the loss to the Browns, it was him as the only Steeler points came off his toe.

THIRD AND DONE – You have two good runs to start off the game. It brings up a third and one. What do you do on a night when the winds are gusting to 40 mph, try the pass. The result a nine yard sack. So what do the Steelers do on its second series, this time a third-an- three the same thing. Rothlisberger back to pass then sacked. Then on third and seven, on the third series he was sacked yet again. In all during the first half, the Steelers were a big goose- egg when it came to third down conversions.

“ We usually make our money at third downs,” Santonio Holmes said. “But I was surprised because hose guys threw everything but the kitchen sink at us today. They released six or eight defensive backs, they were blitzing differently than they were doing and did some things we hadn’t seem in awhile.”

WHERES THE NO-HUDDLE? – It proved successful for the Steelers early this season, but it disappeared from the playbook. Not once during the first three quarters did the Steelers utilize it. The muddle offense was also absent. Is it me, or is it everywhere Bruce Arians makes a stop in the league that he is trying to pad his resume with I can change the world. Note to BA. It’s not working. The Browns stole a page from traditional Steeler football, and ran the ball down your throat and guess what? It worked.

SACK ATTACK – Nope, not the Steelers once vaunted defensive unit as one would expect. Instead it was the no name Browns who executed a great scheme from coordinator Rob Ryan.

“There were some different things that we saw from a protection perspective that we liked. Some of it was beating the protection and some of it was just great effort,” Browns coach Eric Mangini said afterwards. “ With sacks, somebody mentioned earlier, often times that’s also a function of the coverage and I thought those guys did a really nice job down the field staying with the receivers, not allowing Ben to go to his first read, forcing him to go come back to the other side of the field which then allowed the rush to develop.”

RUMOR MILL – Should the Steelers decided not to re-sign Willie Parker, there was one Browns insider who said the Browns are interested in making a bid for him. Parker would be the feature back in an offense searching for an identity.


Charlie Batch, Keenan Lewis, Carey Davis, Troy Polamalu, Kraig Urbik, Tony Hills, Sunny Harris, Nick Eason.

12-11-2009, 08:14 AM
"So what is the cure? Tomlin promised change last week, much like President Obama, and much like Obama those changes have largely gone the wayside."

Is this an article or just someone sitting at home watching NFL Network and calling it journalism? Geez - does everyone have to express their politial agenda? Tomlin and Obama...laughable, but take the politics out. There is no magic wand that will make all better within this country in a year's time, and there is no magic wand that will save this season. In both cases, everyone has to do their part. In the case of the Steelers, they have to get their heart and their edge back. Something they lost when they lost to the Bengals the first time this year. So who were the saviors that should have been on the field last night? Limas Sweed? Burnett? Ziggy? I doubt it. Maybe you try to sprinkle them in, but if you are at pretty much your last possible chance at making a playoff run, you don't make wholesale changes to your lineup - especially on a short week. I would have liked to have maybe seen those done about two weeks ago. You'll probably see some of those guys in the next three weeks, and then we'll see what happens in the offseason. IMO - I don't think that it matters who signs Willie. When he leaves this team, it will be a downhill slide for him.