The Browns have lost 11 straight games to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have one win to show for their last 18 meetings. Tim Couch was the last Browns quarterback to beat the Steelers on Oct. 5, 2003. So the question is, can the Browns actually win on Sunday and break this curse?
Of course they can. The real question is WILL they – ah there's the rub. In order to win this game the Browns will have to do everything right. The only problem is that is something we have yet to see from the 1-4 Browns.
Okay, enough fantasizing about Cleveland victories agaisnt the hated Steelers. The fact is that the Browns could very easily get shut out in this game. Polamalu is back for the Steelers and James Harrison looks possessed lately. Granted, the injury to DL Aaron Smith is a blow to this defense, but DA and crew don't exactly strike fear into opposing defenses these days. The matchups are in the Steelers favor on both sides of the ball this week and in the stands as well.
But hey Browns fans, it's still a Steelers game – so this is about as excited as we are likely to be able to get for any week other than our BYE week this season. The weather will be a factor, as it could be cold, windy and wet in Heinz Field. This can only help the Browns as they try to pull the rabbit out of their hat.
The Defense hasn't played all that poorly this year. Yes, they have tired repeatedly in the 4th quarter, but that has been largely a product of the new 3 and out offense the Browns have been running this season. NT Shaun Rodgers has been dominant when his head is in the game and he along with CB Eric Wright, S Abram Elam and LB Kamerion Wimbley have provided the Browns with some playmaking on the defensive side of the ball.
One can only hope that a healthy Jamal Lewis can bring his A game and keep the Browns out of countless 3rd and long situations. We can pray that Anderson can get the ball into his WR hands more than 2 times this week. Hopefully Mangini has recognized that Jerome Harrison has to see the ball more in space. Also, Lewis shouldn't be toating the rock 31 times again any time soon if he has any hope of making it through this game let alone the end of the season. It would also be nice to see Brian Robiskie step up and show that he was not a total waste of a 2nd Rd pick and Chanci Stuckey provide something because otherwise talented but raw Mohammed Massaquoi doesn't stand a chance in constant double coverage.
Special Teams figures to once again be the one place that the Browns can and will be able to consistently win the battles. Joshua Cribbs could make a strong case for that new contract with a standout game as field position will go a long way to deciding how long the Browns are able to stay close in this one.
In closing, I am sure most die-hard Browns fans heard the news that former QB Bernie Kosar was brought back by owner Randy Lerner to be a spy…uh I mean consultant to the owner. He has been working closely with DA and the coaching staff this week and Mangini said all the right things about having him around the club.
Bernie's off the field troubles have been well documented this year. A bitter divorce and personal bankrupcy obviously finally was enough to get Bernie back into the fold. Lerner has long wanted to bring Bernie back in some role, but he never wanted to leave Florida until now. Welcome back Bernie! Hopefully you can take DA aside and try to impart what it takes to win games at this level – guts, determination and a willingness to lead.
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Written by Ryan Carey