Cleveland hosts Pittsburgh Thursday night in a nationally televised game with a lot on the table for the Steelers. At 6-6 they cannot afford another loss. If they can’t beat the 1-11 Browns, they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs any way. Cleveland’s playoff hopes have long since faded but a win over Pittsburgh would be so sweet.
In a season where the Browns have threatened team and NFL records for ineptness, they might just be starting to play their best football. Say what you want about Eric Mangini but his team hasn’t quit. Most teams with Cleveland’s record would just mail it in the rest of the way but not the Browns. Maybe they are playing for their jobs or maybe it’s just pride but they are still playing hard.
Last weeks game against San Diego may have just been loss number eleven on the season or it could prove to be a turning point for this franchise. The Browns fought back after being down 27-6 entering the fourth quarter to make it close, 30-23, at the end. They could have just rolled over and but not doing so says a lot. Much maligned Brady Quinn led the comeback and looked like he just might be able to play QB in the NFL. Cleveland may have found a tight end in Evan Moore. Newly acquired Matt Roth had his second straight good game since joining the Browns. Brian Robiskie emerged from the inactive list to catch four passes. Jerome Harrison scored two touchdowns while replacing Jamaal Lewis, who’s on injured reserve. Wide out Chansi Stuckey is continuing to improve with each game. I know a loss is still a loss but I saw a lot of positives in that game.
It has been over six years and 12 straight losses since Cleveland has beaten Pittsburgh. The Steelers are reeling, coming off four straight losses. They probably think playing Cleveland is just what the doctor ordered. Although their record says different, these Browns are primed for a big win. You take a team that has experienced losing the way Cleveland has and a little confidence can go a long way. What a great early Christmas present a Browns win over the Steelers would be.