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12 and Counting: Browns Can’t Stop the Losing to Pittsburgh in 27-14 Setback

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The Browns have not had much luck this season, and Sunday in Pittsburgh their defense took a nap against the Steelers high powered offense in allowing 543 Steelers yards in a 27-14 setback. The Browns were torched by Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 417 yards and two touchdowns.

Big Ben, who is now 10-0 lifetime vs Cleveland, was 23-for-35 for the 417 yards and two scores. The Steelers had two players (Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes) with each over 100+ yards receiving, and tight end Heath Miller had 80 yards. They also had 140 yards on the ground, this despite the Browns desire first to stop the ground game.

“Defensively there were just too many big plays,” Browns coach Eric Mangini said. “Same thing with the turnovers in the scoring zone. We turned the ball over and we had a chance to make it a one score game there late in the fourth and had the turnover there.”

The Browns made it interesting, as after falling behind 14-0 they got a 98-yard kickoff return for a score by Josh Cribbs to make it 14-7, then took the opening kickoff of the second half and went 66 yards in six plays and wrapped it up with a one-yard pass from Derek Anderson to fullback Lawrence Vickers to make it 17-14.

Anderson was better than his 2-for-17 outing a week ago against the Bills, but did have to put up with some heavy pressure against the Steelers, and didn’t complete his first pass till about five minutes had passed in the first half. He was 9-for-24 for 122 yards with a pick and a touchdown. Cribbs played quite a bit for Cleveland in the “wildcat” and also threw a pick in going 0-for-2 with an interception.

After the score to make it 17-14, the Browns defense though allowed a quick Steelers drive which went six plays and 79 yards, and it wrapped up with RB Rashard Mendenhall going over from two yards out to make it 24-14. “I don’t even think we know how good we can be,” Roethlisberger said about the offense. “Truth be told, I think we have to keep striving for excellence.

They were able to get things under control in the fourth quarter, as they added a field goal to their 24-14 lead to make it 27-24, then Ryan Clark picked off an Anderson pass to end the final Cleveland threat.

It’s now 12 in a row the Browns have lost to the Steelers, and the next game between the two will be in Cleveland on Thursday, December 10th. The Browns host Aaron Rodgers and the Packers next Sunday.

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