The Cleveland Browns defeated Pittsburgh 13-7 ending the 12 game losing streak to the Steelers. Once again the 2-11 Browns proved there is no quit in this team. As Josh Cribbs said after the game, this is an “early Christmas present” for the Browns and their fans.
The Browns turned the tables on Pittsburgh and beat them at their own game, smash mouth football. In the blustery, bone chilling weather at Cleveland Stadium, the Browns rushed for 171 yards and held the Steelers to just 75. Led by Cribbs 200 all purpose yards including 89 rushing, the Browns weren’t going to be denied. Rookie running back Chris Jennings carried 20 times for 73 yards and also scored on a ten yard run. You have to give credit to the Cleveland offensive line, they owned the line of scrimmage. Brady Quinn, playing his first game against the Steelers, did not turn the ball over while throwing for just 90 yards.
On defense, its been a long time since Cleveland dominated Pittsburgh the way they did in this game. Sacking Ben Roethlisberger eight times while keeping the Steelers out of the end zone, the Browns hit often and hard. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan deserves as much credit for this win as anyone with an excellent game plan. Playing without Shaun Rogers, D’Qwell Jackson, Eric Barton, Brodney Pool, C.J. Mosley and Kenyon Coleman, Ryan somehow managed to will his defense to a great effort in the biggest win for the Browns in many years. Rookie Marcus Bernard and Corey Williams each had two sacks while fellow rookie Brian Schaefering had one and a half sacks. Cleveland’s much maligned secondary had without a doubt their best game of the year. Cornerback Eric Wright was outstanding. Not having to look at Hines Ward smiling after the game was priceless.
With the win, Cleveland put a serious hurt on the Steeler’s playoff hopes. At 6-7, Pittsburgh has now lost five straight. Like Josh Cribbs said, Christmas has come early in Cleveland.