View Full Version : Game 5 Matchup: Steelers vs. Cleveland

10-17-2010, 10:36 AM
Game 5 Matchup: Steelers vs. Cleveland
Gerry Dulac takes a look at the Turnpike Rivalry
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
Larry Foote and the Steelers' defense haven't allowed an opposing back to gain more than 42 yards this season.

When Browns have the ball: It appears rookie Colt McCoy, who has never appeared in an NFL regular-season game. will start at quarterback because of injuries to Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. That is not good news for an offense that is already limited by an injury to RB Peyton Hillis, who had back-to-back 100-yard games against the Ravens and Bengals. Hillis, considered a throw-in in the Brady Quinn trade, has provided most of the Browns' offensive punch, rushing for 350 yards on 76 carries and catching 20 passes for 143 yards. But he is bothered by a recurring quadriceps muscle injury that limited his playing time against the Falcons and kept him out of practice most of the week.

When Steelers have the ball: After serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy, Ben Roethlisberger returns as the starting quarterback for an offense that has leaned more on the run (58 percent) than the pass (42 percent) during his absence. Roethlisberger had never lost to the Browns until last December when he was sacked eight times in a 13-6 defeat in Cleveland. In Roethlisberger's absence, RB Rashard Mendenhall was the NFL's second leading rusher before the bye week and had two 100-yard outings in four games. The Browns allow an average of 120 yards rushing per game -- 24.6 yards lower than last season -- and are the only team in the league to not allow a rushing TD.

Steelers (3-1)
vs. Cleveland Browns (1-4)
Where: Heinz Field.
When: 1 p.m.
Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5), WBGG-AM (970) and the Steelers Radio Network.
Favored: Steelers by 14.

WR/KR Joshua Cribbs ... He has three career kickoff returns for touchdowns against the Steelers, tied for most against an opposing team in NFL history. One of those was a 98-yarder at Heinz Field last year -- one of four kick returns for TDs allowed by the Steelers in 2009. But his longest return this season has been 34 yards because teams are game-planning against him.

The Steelers have won 12 of the past 13 meetings, including six in a row at Heinz Field, but the Browns interrupted that streak with a 13-6 victory in the last meeting in December. The Steelers are 32-6 lifetime at home against the Browns. .... Through five games, the Browns have played the second-toughest schedule in the league, facing opponents who are a combined 16-7. The Browns are second in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing four TDs in 14 possessions inside the 20.

Keys to victory
To win, the Browns must...
1. Have Colt be the real McCoy. It is never a good recipe for success when a rookie QB making his first NFL start has to face defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
2. Ward off Ward. Rookie safety T.J. Ward is the type of physical player the Browns have been seeking in their secondary to handle WR Hines Ward, who has just six catches for 57 yards in the past three games.
3. Send men at Ben. That's what the Browns did last year when they sacked Roethlisberger eight times and held the offense without a TD.
To win, the Steelers must ...
1. Not depend on Ben. The run-pass ratio in the first four games does not need to change just because Roethlisberger is back at quarterback.
2. Put the kibosh on Josh. Cribbs has 35 kick returns for 969 yards, an average of 27.6 yards, in 10 career games against the Steelers.
3. Put Peyton in his place. Hillis is a punishing 240-pound back who is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, but the Steelers haven't allowed an opposing back to gain more than 42 yards this season.

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10290/1095646-66.stm#ixzz12dAQeXNw

10-17-2010, 10:43 AM
Question of the day, you be the coach, if you win the coin toss- receive or defer? To make it more interesting answer from the perspective of of both coaches.