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Old 12-24-2005, 06:24 AM   #1
steeler47
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Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

Browns DE Alvin McKinley vs. Steelers OLT Trai Essex
Essex, a third-rounder out of Northwestern, has filled in for injured OLT Marvel Smith (ankle) and has been given help from TE Heath Miller. McKinley had a sack against the Oakland Raiders and is having a decent year, but he's brought down by Jason Fisk's poor pla! y at nose tackle. The Steelers are almost unstoppable when rushing for 100 yards, and the Browns have been unable to stop anyone on the ground, ranking 27th against the rush (133.1). With DE Orpheus Roye having a great year on the other side, McKinley better be prepared for a healthy dose of RBs Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker.
Browns C Mike Pucillo vs. Steelers NT Casey Hampton
Hampton (6-1, 325) is one of the league's best at nose tackle and anchors a run defense ranked third (86.3 yards per game) in the NFL. Pucillo is a journeyman pressed into service by the s! eason-ending injury of C Jeff Faine (biceps). Pucillo (6-4, 300) held his own in starts at both guard spots and at center after Faine was hurt Sunday. But the Browns have struggled to run the ball lately as teams focus on RB Reuben Droughns to force rookie QB Charlie Frye to beat them. Droughns is averaging 72 yards over his last four games, including a 166-yard outburst against the Miami Dolphins.
Browns WR Antonio Bryant vs. Steelers CB Ike Taylor
Bryant offered some fightin' words the last time the teams got together when he said, "I don't think they have cornerback who can face me man-to-man. I think thei! r coaches know that; they know that. And when they wake up tomorrow morning, they'll still realize that." That was fine, because Bryant is known for shooting off his mouth, but Bryant said those words after the Steelers won the game, 34-21. In the game, Bryant lost a fumble after a big hit from Steelers FS Chris Hope. The key to the rematch may be making the Browns offense one-dimensional by taking away the passing game. That won't be easy, because Bryant has 56 receptions for 836 yards and three touchdowns this season. Taylor has been the Steelers' best cornerback in his first season as a starter. He has successfully kept Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Johnson from taking over the teams' two games. Of Bryant's trash talk, Taylor said, "! I saw the quotes. I didn't pay any attention to them. A lot of people talk. It's cool. I'm gonna talk back. He's a competitor. I'm a competitor. That's how it is." If Taylor keeps Bryant from hurting the Steelers, the Browns will lose.
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