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Old 12-07-2006, 12:13 AM   #1
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Default Game 13 matchup: Steelers vs. Browns

Game 13 matchup: Steelers vs. Browns
Gerry Dulac breaks down the game against Cleveland

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Game plan

What the Steelers will do: The Steelers are hoping Ben Roethlisberger will not have to throw 44 times as he did in Cleveland. The Browns have used a lot of two-deep zones to protect their corners, and that should allow Roethlisberger to throw a lot of underneath and crossing patterns. The Steelers, though, will be without starting WRs Hines Ward and Cedrick Wilson. The Steelers held the Browns without an offensive TD in the first meeting, and they will come after backup QB Derek Anderson, who is not mobile.

What the Browns will do: Anderson, who led Sunday's comeback victory against Kansas City, is expected to start for Charlie Frye (wrist). Anderson is taller (6-6) and has a stronger arm, but is very stationary. That might not be good thing for the Browns, who have allowed Frye to be sacked 70 times in 16 games, dating to last season. In addition, their best offensive lineman, RT Ryan Tucker, will not play the rest of the season because of an unspecified illness. The Browns have emphasized the run more the past since Jeff Davidson became the offensive coordinator. They are averaging 81.1 yards rushing and are 3-3 in that time.

Keep an eye on ...

TE Kellen Winslow: The Steelers held him to four catches for 36 yards in the first meeting, but they will also be without Pro Bowl SS Troy Polamalu. Winslow, who leads NFL tight ends with 67 catches and 675 yards, often lines up as a wide receiver or in motion to the outside in two-tight end sets. Without Polamalu, the Steelers have used more of their nickel defense and deployed ILB Larry Foote to assume some of his duties. Foote responded with his first INT of the season vs. Tampa Bay.


Game: Steelers (5-7) vs. Browns (4-8).

When: 8 p.m.

Where: Heinz Field.

TV: KDKA, NFL Network.

Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5), WBGG-AM (970).


The Steelers have won three of their past four. What's more, they are 10-2 vs. the Browns at home under Bill Cowher. After not scoring an offensive touchdown in 10 consecutive quarters, the Browns erupted for 31 points and came back from a 14-point deficit to beat Kansas City. That has restored a measure of enthusiasm to a team that was headed for disaster.

Keys to victory

To win, the Browns must ...

1. Attack the D-backs. They never tried to throw deep vs. the Steelers in Cleveland, a no-no vs. a team that has struggled to prevent big plays.

2. Gum the run. Opponents have been doing that to the Steelers, who have averaged just 58 yards rushing the past three games.

3. Keep Ben penned. After intercepting him three times in the first meeting, the Browns let Roethlisberger direct a 21-point fourth quarter.

To win, the Steelers must ...

1. Drill Derek. It doesn't matter which quarterback is behind center, the Browns have allowed 44 sacks this season, second most in the AFC.

2. Limit mistakes. They are 4-0 in games when they've won the turnover battle. The only game they won with more turnovers was in Cleveland.

3. Have Dibbs on Cribbs. They cannot allow Joshua Cribbs to do what he did last time -- return a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.


Last edited by 83-Steelers-43; 12-07-2006 at 12:30 AM.
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