View Full Version : Not enough mistakes to lose to the Browns

12-09-2011, 06:25 AM
Not enough mistakes to lose to the Browns
Friday, December 09, 2011
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

This was fairly scholarly research the Steelers were engaged in Thursday night, a highly exacting attempted calculation they were ultimately unable to quantify.

How many mistakes, exactly, does it take to lose to the Cleveland Browns?

That was their little project, but don't ask any of 'em for the number, because whatever it is, they never quite got there.

It was not for lack of effort.

Marcus Gilbert contributed two false start penalties, and banished offensive line starter Chris Kemoeatu even came off the bench to contribute the always unhelpful holding penalty, then doubled down with his equally irritating illegal-hands-to-the-facemask act, but there were mere minor annoyances to the near constant ricochet of major Steelers blunders that kept this dreary prime-timer quasi-competitive well into a long winter's night.

Did you miss "The Vampire Diaries" for this?

"Obviously we were not perfect; we worked against ourselves," said a relieved Mike Tomlin after his club somehow cobbled together a 14-3 victory, its 10th, for a half-game lead on the Ravens in the neck-and-neck AFC North. "We accept responsibility for that, but we'll always take the win."

Kemoeatu eventually nailed the yellow flag hat trick with another holding penalty, but it was the Steelers defense that set the whole dissonant tone on the first Cleveland possession, when Lawrence Timmons failed to adequately track nondescript tight end Evan Moore, who beat him down the left sideline for 33 yards to the Steelers 34. Soon thereafter Joshua Cribbs shook loose in the secondary for 25 yards to the 5.

Had it not been for the technological intrusion known as instant replay, the Browns would have been up 7-0 on Colt McCoy's scramble, but the automatic review put the ball at the 1, where James Farrior and Larry Foote stopped Peyton Hillis on a third-and-goal play, forcing a field goal and a 3-0 situation.

For the proud defense, it marked the first time an opponent had scored on its first possession since the Houston Texans did it the first weekend of the October.

It took Ben Roethlisberger just 3 minutes, 10 seconds to flip that, pushing the offense 73 yards on just five plays, the last one a 11-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery off a brief scramble that established a 7-3 score that hung around on NFL Network graphics until after the start of the 11 o'clock news.

Mistakes made it all possible, and no one dared changed the theme.

Hines Ward, with the catch that moved him within nine of 1,000, fumbled it away at the Cleveland 10 early in the second quarter, and Heath Miller aborted the next possession in the very same way at nearly the same exact spot -- the Browns 9 this time.

That was a vicious mistake because it came in the moments after Troy Polamalu returned an interception 33 yards to the 10.

I know it's hard to believe, but the Browns had no problem matching the home team mistake-for-mistake. Even as former Steelers inactive Scott Paxson sent Roethlisberger to the locker room late in the first half with a twisted left ankle, the Browns naturally failed to capitalize.

Not satisfied to merely watch his veteran defenders try to coax the Browns into the lead -- yeah that was Farrior nailing McCoy with an out of bounds hit and James Harrison flooring him helmet-to-helmet (up to date Roger Goodell fine information as soon as it becomes available; the over-under is $50,000) -- Tomlin insisted on making a conspicuous contribution to the ever-expanding lake of mistakes.

Have I heard that somewhere?

Watching three plunges into Cleveland's goal line defense come up wanting, Tomlin eschewed an extra-point length field goal in the fourth quarter that would have given the Steelers a robust 10-3 lead, instead sending Rashard Mendenhall back into a dubious proposition. D'Qwell Jackson and Michael Adams stoned Mendy and took the ball away, leading to all kinds of late urgency that never needed to exist.

It was William Gay who bailed Tomlin out, stepping in front of Mohamed Massaquoi on the left border of the Steelers end zone for the interception that rejected Cleveland's last attempt to take the lead away.

Antonio Brown did everyone a favor by escaping the sideline tackle of Joe Haden and turning Adams inside out on a late 79-yard touchdown reception to make the final score of 14-3 look as if it might resemble real competence.

You know better.

Gene Collier: gcollier@post-gazette.com. More articles by this author

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11343/1195723-150-0.stm#ixzz1g2WT16Ed

12-09-2011, 06:47 AM
...nice read, and The Truth hurts, but ok, this was atleast a real factual representation of this game.
I hope Tomline reads this.
...and Gay (lucky or not), was the real show-stopper.!

12-09-2011, 06:56 AM
I'd love to give credit to who ever said it earlier in the week....

They mentioned that without turnovers we can beat anyone!

With them we can lose to anyone

12-09-2011, 07:05 AM
I'd love to give credit to who ever said it earlier in the week....

They mentioned that without turnovers we can beat anyone!

With them we can lose to anyone

that (whoever) quote is worth a "sticky" fer sure.

12-09-2011, 10:19 AM
Re: going for it on 4th down instead of kicking the field goal, I think Tomlin made the right decision. He always talks about "situational football," so let's go through the situation:

1) Your star QB is seriously hurt, and you want to get him out of the game ASAP.
2) your backup QB seems to have forgotten how to throw, and the Browns are loading up the box against the run. Not sure why Batch/Arians kept calling the delayed handoff, but in any case your running game has been shut down because Batch can't throw.
3) your defense has been playing outstandingly throughout the game, and you know that an 11 point lead probably wins the game.
4) if you kick the FG and the browns come back to score a TD, you're putting a lot of pressure on your hurt QB to try to engineer a game winning drive.

Tomlin was going for the win early in the fourth quarter because the situation demanded it. I'm not going to defend running the same play 4 straight times, but the running game was going pretty well last night, and you'd think the o-line could get enough push for one yard. Ben was obviously hurt badly, and given his style of play he could have really been hurt if he stayed in the game longer.

12-09-2011, 11:06 AM
First of all, the AFC North has (in my opinion) the most intense rivalries in all of football.

This goes all the way back to the 70's when Rutigliano was coaching Sipe and from those days to now, it has never mattered what anyone's record or playoff hopes were. All that has ever mattered between any of these teams - particularly the Browns and the Steelers - is that they basically beat the crap out of each other and fight as if their future depended on the outcome. So when it comes to any game between any two teams in this division, especially when one of them is the Steelers, I've never considered wins and losses as having anything to do with how these games are played and last night's game was no exception. Whether one of the teams is 11-2 or 2-11 doesn't mean beans because when it comes to these rivalries, it's all about the game and the moment and the record books don't matter.

If we played like that against a team like Jax or some other bottom-feeder from another division of conference that had no relation to us other than being on their schedule, I'd be concerned. But Cleveland / Pittsburgh has almost always been a matchup that was more about beating the crap out of each other just because it's fun to do and it has become more of a tradition than anything else. So when some talking head starts going on about how we - a playoff contender - performed against a 4-8 team, I just smile and think that this guy has no idea what drives these teams and that when it comes to rivalries like this, all bets are off.

It's like that with any two teams in this division and it always has been that way and that's one of the things I love most about this division. In fact, I often wish that just for these games the league would reinstate the rules as they were written in the 70's because that would make it authentic.

One of my fondest memories of this rivalry was back then when Sipe apparently said something to Lambert and he stormed over to the Cleveland sideline and actually punched Sipe in the side of his head resulting in a bench-clearing melee where the only thing missing was a piano player and a fleet of Paddy-wagons.

That was an era where a hit on a QB such as the one that Harrison laid on McCoy would not just be ignored by the refs, but would actually have been congratulated by most of the Cleveland players who would then have invited him out for beers after the game!

Ah! The good ol' days! :applaudit:

12-10-2011, 08:12 AM
we made plenty of mistakes to lose to the Browns. If it wasnt for an inept coaching staff and a QB who sucks and is a5 watt lightbulb in a 200 watt socket, we shouldve lost.

12-10-2011, 06:48 PM
plain and simple - don't turn the ball over and it could have been easily a 24 or 27 to 3 game.