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Thread: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

      
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    Default Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
    PUBLISHED 2 hours and 23 minutes ago
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    http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/stor...eveland-browns


    ..1. Rivalry game. For Browns fans, this is the biggest home game of the season. President Mike Holmgren has inspired hope that the Browns, though lost for another year, are going somewhere. The attitude has spread among the players. The one thing players hear from fans all year long: ďIf you do nothing else this year, beat Pittsburgh.Ē

    2. Personnel. One reason the Steelers keep landing in the playoffs is obtaining the right people and keeping them. The Steelers have won 13 of the past 14 against the Browns in which Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, Hines Ward and Ben Roethlisberger have been constants. The faces of the Browns are Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis on offense and Joe Haden and T.J. Ward in defense. All are first-year Browns.

    Three story lines to watch
    3. Eric Mangini. Mangini saved his job last December by beating the Steelers and ending the Brownsí 12-game losing streak to Pittsburgh. Before that game, the Browns were 1-11. Beating Pittsburgh triggered a 4-0 finish. One year later it appears Manginiís only hope to stay is to beat Pittsburgh again, and even then he might not hang on. A loss to Pittsburgh would give Mangini an 0-4 finish.

    Three key Steelers
    1. WR Mike Wallace. Wallace caught three passes for 90 yards in the first meeting, and his speed poses a threat to any Browns cornerback not named Joe Haden. He becomes more dangerous when Roethlisberger begins to scramble and look downfield.

    2. OLB James Harrison. Harrison has the power to force left tackle Joe Thomas be perfect to avoid being driven backward and the quickness to abuse aging right tackle John St. Clair. He and LaMarr Woodley wreaked havoc in the first meeting, both sacking McCoy twice.

    3. S Will Allen. Allen might fill in for Polamalu (Achillesí injury) for a second straight week. Allen is an adequate replacement. The Browns havenít won a game in which Polamalu played since his rookie year (2003). McCoyís life gets a whole lot easier if he faces Allen instead of Polamalu.

    Three key Browns
    1. C Alex Mack. Mackís strong second season has been wasted on a team going nowhere. Mack has the size, strength and quickness to contend with Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton. Look for Mack to hold his own.

    2. TE Ben Watson. Watson has the speed to abuse linebackers and the skill to evade safeties and find seams in zones. One of the highlights of his career year was a six-catch, 88-yard game at Pittsburgh. He has had to work with three quarterbacks but quickly adapted when McCoy returned from an injury with a seven-catch, 92-yard game at Cincinnati on Dec. 19. Itís a given Watson will be a focal point when the Browns are in a two-minute offense.

    3. CB Sheldon Brown. At 31, Brown remains competitive and competent, but he has lost a step and is susceptible to giving up big plays. If the Steelers can isolate Mike Wallace in man coverage against Brown, itís a safe bet Roethlisberger will take some shots there. If Haden locks on Wallace, the Browns like their chances, in which case Brown could have some interesting battles with Hines Ward.

    The bottom line
    The Browns are playing for their careers, each other and Mangini; the Steelers are focused on high stakes. A win gets them a first-round bye and a home game in the second round. Unless the Browns draw on some hidden reserve in support of Mangini, they have little chance in this game, and neither does he to keep his job afterward. Prediction: Steelers 24, Browns 17.

    Ė Sporting News correspondent Steve Doerschuk



    Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/stor...#ixzz19ShhfMVl

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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    When is 24-17 little chance? If you are going to say a team has little chance make the score 31-3 or something like that.

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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    Quote Originally Posted by LasVegasGuy View Post
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    When is 24-17 little chance? If you are going to say a team has little chance make the score 31-3 or something like that.

    obviously, the 24-17 score made the game appear to be a lot closer than it really was...final scores can be so misleading at times.

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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    The Clowns are getting no more (and, probably, less) than 17. The Clowns have no pass rush, so the Steelers should have a chance to mix the run and pass w/o much fear of reprisal. The key is not to make mistakes on O and to dominate TOP. If we do that, this game should be a cake walk. Everybody has a book on Hillis at this point and, at the end of the season, he might not have that much left in the tank anyhow. Either way, I don't see him doing much. They have no receiving corps and two tackles who have questionable ability at handling edge rushers. If the D comes as they are, we should have few problems w/the Clowns.

    Final Score: Steelers 28, Clowns 9
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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    Will Allen filled in for Troy last week? I didn't know that, I thought Mundy played again.

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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryGlanville View Post
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    Will Allen filled in for Troy last week? I didn't know that, I thought Mundy played again.
    You would be correct, sir. I think they punched in his name by mistake when they meant to type in Mundy's.
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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    Cleveland Browns Conference Calls

    BROWNS HEAD COACH ERIC MANGINI


    Do you expect to see Troy Polamalu play this weekend?

    I donít know. I am not sure. What do you guys expect?

    Weíre not sure. Thatís why we are asking you.

    I am not sure either. I tell you he makes a pretty big difference when he is in there. If he is there he is hard to deal with in so many different ways, whether itís the running game, blitzing, the disguise or the threat he is in terms of being able to create turnovers. So we are preparing like he is going to be, and we will see what happens.

    If he doesnít play, will that almost surprise your team?
    Itís easier to go that direction than to go the other direction. Itís a lot easier to deal with the looks when heís not in there as opposed to having two plans. Thatís a good problem to have.

    Re: Colt McCoyís progress:

    Heís done a really good job throughout the course of the season. It was interesting to watch because he struggled when he was the third guy or fourth guy in training camp and didnít get the reps. Thatís understandable too because itís a new system, a new coaching staff. All the things that go into being a rookie, and then when he did get the opportunity he just embraced it, and he broke down the huddle his first time. And the guys kind of laughed a little bit but they appreciated the fact that he stepped in to assume that role. And the same thing the night before the game, I had him speak to the team a little bit. He said that the guys could count on him and that heís going to play well. It wasnít bravado. It wasnít him trying to convince us of that. It was sincere, and heís had a much easier time transitioning back into the role of being the man than he had with coming out of that role. And I think thatís unique for a young guy. Each week weíve been able to give him more and build on his experience, the game plans heís executed and itís been real progress. And heís done a nice job recognizing looks, giving checks, running the offense and Iíve been pleased with him.

    Do you think you can run against the Steelersí defense?

    I think a lot of people think they can run against the Steelersí defense. But they are, what are they, top-10 in 19 different defensive categories? They are outstanding against the run, whether itís just the front they are playing or whether they are blitzing it, they are able to do a good job against everybody. So when we do run the ball itís going to be a challenge.

    Re: Finishing the season on a winning note:

    Itís important for us from a progress perspective and weíre just going through the steps that most teams go through, learn how to work, learn how to compete, learn how to win and learn how to win consistently. Weíve won some games but we havenít been able to win consistently. And last week against Baltimore we played an outstanding team. This weekend is Pittsburgh, playing another outstanding team. Itís a good way to finish the season. Itís a great opportunity to play a team like this at this point of the season, especially with all the things Pittsburgh has in terms of playoffs and seeding and things like that. Itís a great team that is highly motivated.

    Re: Beating the Saints and Patriots but losing late to the Jets:
    I think it is [where our season turned] in a sense that weíve had opportunities in a lot of games after that. We won some of them and didnít others. But it goes back to the developing and growth that you go through with a group of guys, the team. Itís understanding that you can play with anybody, and itís understanding that the level of preparation has to be the same week-in-and-week-out. And itís always impressed me how Pittsburgh is. The continuity they have, the consistency that theyíve had, and regardless of what the year is there are certain things that they believe in. And there are certain things that they do every single year, and itís a winning formula. And itís going to keep winning and Iíve always been impressed by the organization from that perspective.

    Re: Mike Wallace:

    Heís, God heís fast. And he hurts you in a lot of different ways. He hurts you on the deep ball. He can catch and run. And there are not very many people if you line them up against Mike they are going to win a foot race. And thatís huge. Then you have a guy like Ben Roethlisberger who has a strong, strong arm and can get the ball to him. And not only get to him in the plays the way that they are designed, but then he can buy some time and get it to him. And thereís no throw thatís out of his range. And he generates so many plays through his movement and pocket feel. It makes it difficult.

    Are you surprised Wallace is not in the Pro Bowl?

    The voting and things like that, sometimes it takes a couple of years to catch up with guys. I think heís played at arguably as high a level as anybody.

    Re: Maurkice Pouncey making the Pro Bowl?

    I think that is great. I think that itís really hard to a young guy to come in and play center or left tackle. And as the center you have the ball in your hands every play, and you have so much responsibility for coordinating the offensive line. And heís done it really well. The other thing I like about him is that heís been consistent and heís improved week-in-and-week-out. And I donít know him that well as a person, but just from the outside looking in, heís got to have a great work ethic. Thereís no doubt about that in my mind, because you donít make those strides without that. Heís not doing that on talent alone. Heís got to have a lot of the intangibles that are going to make him a special player for a long time.


    BROWNS QUARTERBACK COLT MCCOY


    Do you expect Troy Polamalu to play Sunday?
    We expect that he will play. Thereís so many challenges when heís on the field. Theyíre a tremendous defense and he has the capabilities of making plays across the field and all over the field. Youíve got to be accountable for where he is. Where heís lined up is not always going to be the place that he play on that down. Heís a great playmaker and youíve just got to know where he is at all times and be able to execute your offense.

    What was it like making your NFL debut against the Steelers and why were you able to play so well?

    Well I think there are things that I did well and things that I definitely learned from. It wasnít good enough because we lost but at the same time I think I took a lot away from that game as far as having confidence in myself that I can play and that I can do this and I went against a great defense like them. Thereís a lot of things. I think for one, my teammates saw me and the way that I played and the way that I handled myself. I just have to keep growing and keep getting better every day. That is my goal. I try to make as much progress as I can practice-to-practice, week-to-week and game-to-game. I hope I never lose that attitude and that mentality. I came a long way since that first game. I feel like I am doing more, seeing more. Last week, playing against defenses in this division is tough. Baltimore has a great defensive scheme. They have for years and they made more plays than we did. This week we went back to work, went back to practice, we all got on the same page and we just have to really push ourselves and understand their scheme and their blitzes and their pressures. If we can handle that, then I think we give ourselves a chance to win.

    How close are you guys to breaking through and becoming a contender in this division?
    Well hopefully we are close. I think the one good thing, and again, I am just rookie and this is my first year here, but there are a lot of high character guys in this organization, in that locker room. And there are a lot of guys that have the fire and desire to win. We havenít got it done this season and it has stretched over the last four or five weeks that we havenít been able to find a way to win games and that is something we have to do down the stretch. I think we are close. I think we are real close. We are thankful for one more opportunity in our place and in our stadium, to go out there and play and compete. What a great opportunity in the Pittsburgh Steelers. For me, individually, they are a great defense. Tons of playmakers, very talented, great scheme, great coach and across the ball you have a guy like Ben Roethlisberger, who has been there and done it and has won Super Bowls and won this division over and over. Just what a great opportunity it is to go out and compete and play. That is how I look at it and I know there are a lot of guys on my team that look at it that way. But after saying that, we are ready to win. We need to win. This town, this city, this organization, we need to turn it around.

    Re: The fans needing the Browns to be good:

    A lot of people say that and write that and talk about that. We need to do better, our organization as a whole, our team, all of us. We fight our tails off every week and we do. There is not a guy in this locker room that quits or that doesnít want to win and doesnít work to win. We practice hard every day. It will turn around. It will change.

    The Browns upset Pittsburgh late in the year last year. Anybody talking about that game at all?
    No, not really. We know who Pittsburgh is and what they do and what is on the line for them. We are excited about one last game at home for us. Thatís how we look at it. We really donít talk much about last year.

    Do you think there is more pressure on the Steelers knowing that they have to win this game to win the division?

    I hadnít even thought about it. I really havenít. I know for us in our locker room we had a great practice today. We worked hard. We will be prepared for this game and we will go out there and play our hearts out and fight to the very end.

    What would it mean for you guys to knock the Steelers off and potentially make their road in the playoffs much more difficult?

    We look at it for our team and for our organization. We prepare every week like we want to win and like we are going to win and like we expect to win. This week, itís no different. It is our last home game. We realize we arenít making the playoffs. We realize the opportunity that we have to play one more time at home and we are really looking forward to that.

    Has this been tough coming from a program that is so use to winning and then dealing with a season where your team has lost ten games?

    You canít compare it to college. Our team in college was very successful. We won a lot of games. As a competitor, as a guy who has been on teams that have won, obviously this is my first year in the NFL and it is different, but yeah, winning is what drives me as a player. It is what drives a lot of guys in this locker room. It is what we do. We play to win. When you have some setbacks and you lose some games, it gets frustrating and for me it just pushes me that much harder. That is was fuels it. You want to win. You are a competitor. It is going to get better. That is for sure.

    http://www.steelers.com/news/article...9-1c0d7b07e4d9

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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    I'm looking at the picture of Harrison dumping that Cleveland fan, Goodell wasn't the commisioner then was he ?

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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    Quote Originally Posted by BATMAN View Post
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    I'm looking at the picture of Harrison dumping that Cleveland fan, Goodell wasn't the commisioner then was he ?

    no, Goodell succeeded Paul Tagliabue on Aug. 8, 2006 and Harrison sacked this Cleveland Browns fan during our 41-0 victory over the Clowns on Christmas Eve of 2005.

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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    Quote Originally Posted by BATMAN View Post
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    I'm looking at the picture of Harrison dumping that Cleveland fan, Goodell wasn't the commisioner then was he ?
    Nope. If Goodell was the commissioner when that happened, he probably would have kicked Harrison out of the league.

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    Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns By Sporting News

    Browns potentially could ruin Steelers' season

    Published December 29, 2010
    Associated Press


    PITTSBURGH Ė A game the Pittsburgh Steelers were hoping would mean nothing now means everything, and they know it.

    The Steelers (11-4) wanted to have the AFC North and a playoff bye wrapped up by now. They don't, and that means Sunday's game at Cleveland has the potential to significantly damage their chances of winning the Super Bowl even before the playoffs begin.

    The neighboring cites have been rivals for 60 years but, since the NFL merger in 1970, the Steelers haven't traveled to Cleveland during the final week of the regular season for a game that meant so much to them.

    Win, and the Steelers will take the division, earn a playoff bye and own home-field advantage for at least the second round of the playoffs. Lose to the Browns (5-10) in a major upset and the Steelers likely will be relegated to being seeded sixth in the AFC, with no chance for a home game and no time off before they open the wild-card playoffs next week.

    "You definitely don't want to play next week, because anything can happen in the NFL, anybody can beat anybody," nose tackle Casey Hampton said Wednesday.

    Even if they survive that game, they'd have to win at New England (13-2) the following week just to reach the AFC championship game.

    While the Steelers (2005 season) and Giants (2007) both won the Super Bowl as sixth-seeded teams that went on the road for three consecutive weeks of conference playoffs, no one else did it in the Super Bowl's first 44 seasons. Few came close.

    With key players such as Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith slowed or sidelined by injuries, and lacking the late-season momentum they seized by winning their final four games in 2005, the Steelers understand that taking such a circuitous path might prove too difficult this season.

    The Steelers and Ravens (11-4) are tied for the AFC North lead, but Pittsburgh owns the tiebreaker based on a better division record. All that vanishes if the Steelers lose in Cleveland and the Ravens beat the Bengals (4-11), a scenario that gives Baltimore the division title.

    "That's more motivation than anything else," Hampton said. "You want to have a week off, you don't want to play in anybody else's home stadium for the first round. You get a lot more rest (with a bye), especially us being an older team."

    Normally, the Steelers have little trouble beating the Browns; they've won 13 of the past 14 in what has been a rivalry in name only since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999.

    But everybody in the Steelers locker room knows about the lone defeat, 13-6 last season to a one-win Cleveland team. That loss finished off a five-game Steelers losing streak and eventually kept them out of the playoffs.

    That's why the Steelers' more experienced players are making sure the rookies understand what can happen when a team lets down in a game it figures to win easily.

    "The players, the coaches, everybody's mentioned it," center Maurkice Pouncey said. "They know what happened last year and we're trying not to let that happen again. They're saying we can't have that again. We know what we want, and it's right in front of us to get."

    While coach Mike Tomlin is 6-1 against the Browns, he considers them to be a rival because the cities are so close. Even if they're often far apart in the standings; the Steelers are in the playoffs for the fifth time in seven seasons, while the Browns were last in the AFC North six of the previous seven seasons.

    "Any time in the National Football League you're getting on a bus to go play a game, mean, that's a pretty heated rivalry," Tomlin said. "Not many bus trips in the National Football League. Just from a proximity's standpoint, it's unique."

    The Browns frustrated the Steelers last season by holding them to 75 yards in the first half and sacking Ben Roethlisberger eight times. Roethlisberger came back this season to throw three touchdown passes in his season's debut, a 28-10 win over Cleveland on Oct. 17 that followed his four-game suspension.

    "The motivation's the AFC North and trying to get this win and get a bye," Roethlisberger said. "We've got a lot of motivation. Yeah, last year was a bad loss up there so we've got a lot of fighting to do, and we know that."


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2010/1...#ixzz19ZQ0MIPJ

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