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Super Ben and Hard Hitting D Leads Steelers To 14-3 Win Over Browns

Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns is stopped by the Pittsburgh Steelers defense

Am I the only one that is glad that’s over?

It was nail biting and hair pulling for about 57 minutes Thursday night, but in the end, it’s the usual outcome for these Steelers – Browns affairs, as the Steelers won it with a couple big stands and big plays 14-3.

The play of the night, a hobbled Ben Roethlsiberger hitting Antonio Brown on a 79-yard touchdown with 2:52 to play to put the dagger in the hearts of Browns fans to send Cleveland to 4-9.

The Steelers improve to 10-3 on the season, and will get 10 days to get a beat up Ben healthy, as well as center Maurkice Pouncey, who left the game with a high ankle sprain.

Roethlisberger ended the night 16-for-21 for 280 with two touchdowns and a pick. His QB rating on one leg for the entire second half was 129.6.

The Steelers D stopped the Browns after their opening drive. They allowed Cleveland to get to the half yard line, when Colt McCoy was stopped on 2nd down. 3rd down the team went to Peyton Hillis, and he was stopped for a one-yard loss.

The Browns kicked the three instead of going for 7, and it helped the Steelers as their offense came out red hot. They passed the way down the field, and Roethlsiberger hit Jerricho Cotchery for an 11-yard TD just three and a half minutes later to make it 7-3.

The rest of the first half was a turnover fest, as the Steelers put the ball on the ground twice in the red zone, stopping scoring chances, and McCoy threw a pick to Troy Polamalu.

It was three turnovers in seven plays, as neither team wanted to take control of the game. The Browns had some chances in Steelers territory in the second quarter, but went nowhere against the NFL’s number one ranked defense.

Charlie Batch relieved Roethlisberger, and did nothing, as the half ended with the Steelers up by four.

The Browns appeared to have a shot after they stopped the Steelers on the one-yard line early in the fourth quarter. After a Greg Little drop forced a punt, Mike Adams picked off Roethlisberger and took it to about midfield.

The Browns got to the 19, but McCoy threw a bad pick in the end zone to Willie Gay on third down from the 15, and two plays later the Steelers finished them off with the big pass play from Roethlisberger to Brown that went 79 yards.

The win continued the Steelers dominance in the rivalry – they have won 15 of 16 and 21 of the last 23.

Up next for the Steelers – a break. They will get 10 days off, and then head out west to take on the San Fran 49ers on Monday, December 19th.

Interesting to note though, with the 49ers already having clinched the division, they may by that game already have the shot to rest some players as they likely are not going to be able to catch the Packers for home field in the NFC.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Thomas Crowley

    December 9, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Wrong loede the niners won’t catch greenbay. But they still have to hold of the saints to get the number 2 seed, so i doubt they rest their starters.

  2. DrGeorge

    December 9, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Here’s the situation: it’s 1st and goal from the Browns’ two yard line. You have two RBs: Mendenhall, a shifty, run to daylight runner, who runs standing up, and Redman, a power runner who keeps his pads low and moves the pile. If you are B. Arians, who do you choose to carry the ball? Why Mendenhall, of course. Four times. And Mendy runs into the line standing up and predictably gets stonewalled four times. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. But don’t blame Mendy. He shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place. Blame Arians (and Tomlin, too, since he’s seen this act before) for ignoring Redman, the designated power back. The coaching decisions in that red zone series simply defy logic. To my mind, the team won this game in spite of the coaches.

    Give a big gold star to our veterans on D, especially Keisel, Polamalu, Farrior, and Hampton. Like The Tony, I give Gay credit for improving his pass coverage technique; his interception was big. Give Curtis Brown credit for redeeming himself after running out of bounds.

    On offense, give our solid receiving corps a standing ovation. And give Kemoeatu a seat on the pine; he proved once again why Legursky was promoted over him. On special teams, give a gold star to Al Everett; special teams’ play was our weakness for years — but not anymore.

    Give Ben credit for gutsiness in coming back to play, with the side note that he played better after the injury than before BECAUSE he couldn’t scramble — the same scenario we saw with him against the Titans earlier. When Ben has to throw short and rely on his teammates to make plays, the whole offense works better. It’s too bad it takes an injury to get him to play with discipline.

    Ben’s injury also demonstrated once again the deficiencies of Arians’ offensive strategy. Without Ben to pull the trigger, the aerial circus does not work. The team’s success hinges on one player. That’s not good coaching.

    Finally, give thanks that we have 10 days to heal and prepare for the 49ers! I said before the game that the march to the Super Bowl looked like a war of attrition for the Steelers. Well, it has already begun.

    • david

      December 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      It was ever so plain on that goal line sequence.Bruc Arians must GO.
      I’ll bet most fof Steeler Nation knew what that Idiot would call.Whats even harder to except is that Tomlin Blessed it?? Yes we won despit the coaching and I hate to see our play off hopes go down the tubes because of it.This game also exposed the fact that our bakup quater back must not Practice running the offense between games.Batch looked pathetic.Kemoeatu needs to ride the pine somewhere
      else he is a liability and we really need to pick up someone with good football skills.Thanks to the Defense for plugging a gaping wound that was there while Ben was out it really could have gotten ugly. Nuff said Great aticle you hit the nail right on the head Thomas.

      Black and Gold Forever

    • jay

      December 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      I don’t know, Doc, I agree with most everything except questioning mendy in lieu of Redman. As it was happening, I found myself asking if they should go with Redman but then said, Nah, Mendy has a nose for the endzone. I just think the execution and blocking schemes by the guys up front was horrible and then that sentiment was verified by the analysts on NFL network! I don’t like Arians, that’s well documented on here but sometimes he’s neither the reason for a win or a loss—i.e., he just calls plays that are good, bad, indifferent and everywhere inbetween. Sometimes, our talent, or lack thereof, in the trenches is exposed. If they block better on those calls, they get in! Mendy got hit by Gocong two or three times—Gocong had a running start and is close to 270 lbs! Someone has to put a body on him. Watch the second down play where suck ass Kemo was supposed to pull, which he did but unbelievably poorly, and MISSED Gocong! If this team doesn’t draft an interior O-Linemen in one of the first two rounds in this upcoming draft, then, well, I don’t know. Ya got Colon coming back and maybe they even consider giving Starks a year to year mostly incentive-laden contract even if it is to be the other “swing” tackle next to J. Scott. I surmise that Gilbert starts at one of the tackle spots next year, Pouncey at Center and Foster/Legursky at one of the guards (Hey, maybe Pouncey is the future LG while Legursky plays better at center as Mark mentions here on this post), —get rid of Kemo and draft some talent next to Pouncey and Gilbert!!!!

      We need to generate a better pass rush with our down linemen (and one edge guy which makes four) so I would not be surprised to see them grab a d-linemen or ILB in one of the first two to three rounds.

      All in all, EVERYTHING being considered, it was a GREAT, GREAT WIN!!!!!!

      • DrGeorge

        December 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm

        Reasonable minds can differ, Jay, about which RB should carry the load. No doubt Mendy is the primary back because his top speed is greater. But Redman is supposedly our designated power runner; in the red zone, which was the subject of the comment, Mendy and his upright running style are simply a liability UNLESS the line makes a hole for him. Redman runs low and moves the pile. He is far better in the red zone. To be honest, neither one of them has made us forget Bettis. We simply haven’t got an RB who can make his own holes like Jerome, and we never will if Arians has his way. At present, Redman is the nearest thing we’ve got.

        Although kicking the field goal is the textbook play, I did not criticize Tomlin’s decision to go for the TD on 4th down, as many in the media have. That was a defensible gamble. But I do question the choice of ball carrier.

        I’ve been a Legursky fan for some time. He was a center at Marshall and is probably more comfortable there, but he isn’t going to displace a #1 pick and a Pro Bowl selection at Center. When Pouncey recovers, Legursky will move back to LG. Because he can play both positions, he is uniquely valuable, and he is a smart and disciplined player (unlike Kemo). However, I was a little surprised Kugler didn’t use Trai Essex at center, since Legursky was playing so well at G. The Steelers have used Essex at center before, and he played well there. Perhaps they were concerned about the Center-QB exchange in a game that close.

  3. Mark

    December 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Its hard to fathom how 1 person can impact a team so positively and 1 person can do so so negatively. When Ben came back out to play, it had to show the team what a football player is supposed to be. Guts,heart,skill and just an innate ability to WIN. Now the other side, If Kemoeatu continues to play on this line, then shame on the Steelers. He tried so hard to sabotage the offense last night and almost succeeded if not for Ben’s heart and a defense that held up. I dont know what else to say about last night that hasnt been said here or anywhere else. I guess I can say that I didnt have a problem with going for the TD in the 4th quarter. Even when they didnt get in, its hard to imagine the Browns going 99 yards and they didnt.In a nut-shell, The defense held, got the ball back, Kemo threw a wrench in the drive and then Ben got picked. Antonio Brown is a beast and should be a starter now even if Ward starting is more ceremonial than anything. If Pouncey is hurt, rest him because Legursky really does a better job at center than at gaurd it seems. Gay is improving and so is the pass rush. Worilds had a nice game. Timmons has looked rather slow the past few games,unless Im missing something? Anyway, its a win. Sloppy with questionable coaching decisions and one Giant Superhero at QB. Lets see where they go from here?

  4. Peter

    December 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

    The defense has only given up 1 touchdown in the last 3 games. The Bengals were the only team the Steelers played with any kind of offense but that is still impressive. Especially considering the way the league has stacked the deck for the offenses. I think 92 is going to get suspended for a game for the hit Mccoy. Hope not, winning in SF is going to be tough with or with out him…

  5. Mark

    December 10, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Anyone else notice how bad the crew from NFL network is?? I mean, Deon Sanders and Marshall Faulk had facts wrong,back peddled on previous statements and made Michael Irvin sound like a seasoned reporter! Terrible job by them!

  6. Peter

    December 10, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I agree on the NFLN studio crew but i could listen to Mike Mayock talk football all day. He is so good at the scouting combine and then again at the draft.

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