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Old 12-08-2006, 04:33 AM   #1
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Default Parker, Steelers blow by Browns

By Scott Brown
Friday, December 8, 2006

Willie Parker set a Steelers' single-game rushing record, needing only three quarters and one play to do it, and Ben Roethlisberger accounted for two scores as the Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns, 27-7, Thursday night before an announced crowd of 55,246.
Parker's feat qualified as the most newsworthy thing to come out of the game. Afterward was a different matter.

Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter was still fuming over what he said was a late-hit attempt by Browns tight end Kellen Winslow on teammate James Farrior.

Porter several times called Winslow a slur that refers to a person's sexual preference in reference to the fourth-quarter play in which Winslow was called for a personal foul.

"It was late, that's what (slur) do," Porter said. "He's soft. He wants to be tough, but he's really soft."

Porter refused to shake hands with Winslow before and after the game.

Parker ran for 223 rushing yards and a touchdown in breaking the backs of the Browns as well a mark that had stood for 36 years. He eclipsed the 218 yards Frenchy Fuqua rushed for in 1970 on the first play of the fourth quarter and then got to watch the rest of the Steelers blowout and bask in his accomplishment from the sideline.

The Steelers (6-7) got within a game of .500 for the first time since the middle of October after beating the Browns for the 12th time in the last 13 meetings between the AFC North rivals.

"We had a good week of work," Cowher said. "It didn't surprise me the way we played."

Now comes the hard part for the Steelers: getting to back even for the season and beyond.

They finish with games at Carolina and Cincinnati sandwiching an anticipated rematch with the Baltimore Ravens on Christmas Eve.

The Steelers need to win all three of those games to give themselves any sort of a chance of making the playoffs.

If nothing else comes out of this disappointing season, the Steelers can at least say they swept Cleveland (4-9).

And they didn't need a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Browns this time.

They jumped to an early 10-0 lead, and that proved to be more that enough for a defense that was downright miserly considering this is the season of giving.

It didn't overwhelm Browns quarterback Derek Anderson, who made his first NFL start. But Anderson, whose shoe size (17) almost equaled the number of NFL passes (21) he had thrown coming into the game, only moved the Browns into scoring position one time in the first half.

Phil Dawson missed a 40-yard field goal that would have cut the Steelers' lead to seven points going into halftime.

The Steelers snuffed out any remaining suspense in the game in the third quarter, scoring a pair of touchdowns.

An offense that hadn't done much save for one quarter in the Steelers' previous three games broke out big-time against the Browns.

Roethlisberger completed 11-of-21 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown and looked nothing if not comfortable with young wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington.

Holmes, making his first NFL start, caught four passes for 81 yards, and Washington had a pair of receptions for 67 yards.

"I told Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes that they both grew up," Roethlisberger said. "I was really proud of the way they played."

The two played in place of injured starters Hines Ward (knee) and Cedrick Wilson (ankle).

Unlike the last two times the AFC North rivals met, the Steelers cranked up the passing game early.

On the Steelers second possession, Roethlisberger froze Browns cornerback Leigh Bodden with a pump fake and then dropped a perfectly thrown pass into the arms of Washington for a 49-yard touchdown.

The Steelers never looked back, and put the game away in the third quarter with a pair of long scoring drives.
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