Monday, October 18, 2010

Back in Black: Steelers Win


The Steelers announced the offense out of the gate and Ben got a great cheer from the crowd. The Browns won the toss and elected to give Cribbs the ball.

Reed tried to kick it short of Cribbs, but he still got his hands on it and put together a good return that the Steelers bottled up at the 35.

Colt McCoy came out throwing, and led the Browns to two first downs up to midfield before LeBeau dialed it up. Woodley breaks through and brings the hammer down on Colt.
To try to make up for the lost yards, Colt tries to go downfield, but the ball gets deflected and lands in the waiting hands of Ryan Clark.

The Steelers come out easing Ben into the game, leaning heavily on Mendenhall to plow through the Browns defense. Ben takes his first shot downfield for El Yeah who draws a pass interference call to get into field goal range. The Steelers work it to 3rd and 4, but Ben overthrows it and the ball gets picked off and returned all the way back to the Steelers 35.

With a short field, the Browns didn't need much to get into field goal range, and an offsides penalty on 3rd down gave them a free first down. LeBeau dials up the Fire-X blitz and Farrior blows the gap, forcing McCoy to step up into the waiting arms of Lawrence Timmons. McCoy scrambles for a few on 3rd down bringing out the field goal unit.


The Steelers stick with Mendenhall carrying the load, picking up a 3rd and short with Redman as the quarter expires.

Second Quarter

Near midfield, Ben hits Emmanuel Sanders to convert a big 3rd and long and keep the drive alive. Two plays later, Ben goes deep and hits Mike Wallace in single coverage on Grant Street.


The Browns come out and hit a screen pass in the face of a blitz for a big gain. They try to go Wildcat the next play, but Harrison lowers the BOOM of Cribbs, laying a big hit that leaves Cribbs out cold. He eventually got up and was able to walk off the field but he was done for the game. Cleveland can't do anything with it after losing Cribbs, and their punter pins the Steelers back at the 2.

Mendenhall gets us out of trouble by bouncing a run back to the left and taking it up the sideline for 25 yards. The drive stalls out at the 40 when Ben can't hit Hines on 3rd down.

Peyton Hillis grinds out some yards for the Browns, but once again they stall out near midfield and their punter pins the Steelers inside the 10.

With a minute to go in the half and Cleveland having 2 timeouts, the Steelers run 3 times, enabling the clock to run down to 6 seconds before they punt and the half expires.

Third Quarter

Ben starts to find his groove after halftime, hitting Hines twice for 9 and 26 on a deep in route. On their first play in Browns territory since the touchdown, Ramon Foster gets called for holding, setting the drive back far enough that the offense can't recover.

The Browns come back and start moving the ball, mixing Hillis runs and passes to Chancey Stuckey. The defense bears down at midfield and Lawrence Timmons blows things up once again with a 3rd down sack. What a year he's having. He needs to go to the Pro Bowl.

Another great punt by the Browns punter pins the Steelers back at the 4, but Arians opens things up, going play-action for Wallace down the right side on the first play from scrimmage.
After the 50-yarder to Wallace to get us out of trouble, Ben goes to Heath on a deep out-post for 36 to get the ball down to the 9. Two plays later, Ben finds Hines over the middle at the 5. Hines makes a move, cuts between two defenders and dives for the goal line...


Couldn't decide which picture we liked better, so we used them both.


That was Hines' 81st touchdown as a Steeler, putting him alone in 2nd place on the Steelers all-time TD list. Franco Harris is #1 with 100.

Ben Watson started to quickly become McCoy's favorite target and they hooked up for a big gain down the middle. Cleveland does nothing else. Punt.

Mendenhall runs twice as the quarter expires.

Fourth Quarter

Facing a 3rd and 8 at their own 10, Ben finds Emmanuel Sanders for another big-time 3rd down conversion. We like what we've seen from Sanders so far, he's got a chance to be very, very good. Mendenhall pounds out some more yards, but the drive stalls out, forcing another punt. Sepulveda crushes it 60 yards into the end zone.

Cleveland sucks. Punt.

With 7:50 to go, the Steelers start pounding the rock, and the O-line responds, springing Mendenhall and Redman for 13-yard runs. With the ball at the 40, the Steelers take two shots downfield, but Ben overthrows a wide open Mike Wallace on 2nd down and Hines on 3rd down.

What happened next was a sequence that defines Cleveland Browns football. The Steelers took 2 procedure penalties on Sepulveda punts, each time Cleveland opted to have the Steelers re-kick. On the 3rd attempt, Stuckey muffed the punt and Keyaron Fox falls on the ball.
The Steelers look to be playing for 3 as they go to the Motif Offense, but Ben is able to find Mendenhall on the sideline who scampers down to the 2 to pick up the first down. Raise Some finishes the deal on the next play.


In garbage time, McCoy came out and had his best drive of the game, going 4 for 5 and leading the Browns 70 yards for a touchdown to Ben Watson. That drive got started when Ryan Clark tried to throw a shoulder into Watson rather than wrapping him up. That might work against RBs and WRs but against a 260-pound Tight End? Not happening. 


Cleveland tries an onside kick, but the Steelers are able to recover. The motif offense goes 3-and-out and punts back to Cleveland with 2:30 to go. 

Starting on their own 3, McCoy makes a few throws to move the Browns out to the 20, but Harrison rips his way into the backfield and sacks McCoy. On the next play, McCoy tries to go back to Ben Watson but Will Allen steps in the way, knocking the ball into the air where Lawrence Timmons is able to cap off another great game with an interception.

Taking over at the 18, the Steelers keep it conservative with Mendenhall on first and second down, forcing Cleveland to use their last 2 timeouts. On 3rd down, Ben puts the icing on the cake, hitting Heath in the end zone to drive the nail in the coffin.

Take it to the bank.


Cleveland comes out and runs some plays or something. Game was already over. 

Ben is back.

Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Ben Roethlisberger
Defensive Game Ball: Lawrence Timmons

Honorable Mentions:
Rashard Mendenhall
Hines Ward
Mike Wallace
Heath Miller
Emmanuel Sanders
LaMarr Woodley
James Harrison

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

You always hate to see guys get injured, especially star players. It's always disconcerting to see a guy laying motionless on the field like both Josh Cribbs and Mohammed Massaquoi were today after being hit by James Harrison. Both were legal hits, but it still sucks to see guys get hurt.

Final Thoughts
  • Colt McCoy actually looked decent. Cleveland should start him the rest of the year to get him the experience.
  • Lawrence Timmons is an absolute monster. Like we said, he needs to go to the Pro Bowl.
  • Harrison had 1.5 sacks and Woodley had 1, giving the tandem 7.5 on the season.
  • Mendenhall is having a very solid season as well. Glad to see we didn't totally abandon the run with Ben back in there.
  • Ben played a great game, good to have him back.
  • The game completely changed when Josh Cribbs got knocked out. 
  • Back in first place in the division with Baltimore's loss to New England.
  • Steelers were 7-for-14 on 3rd downs, good conversion rate.
  • Another multi-turnover game for the defense.
  • Good to see us converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns rather than field goals.
  • Miami beat Green Bay this week, going to be a good game next week.
  • We're entering the gauntlet of the schedule. Get yourself ready.

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