Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Live Blog: Play-by-Play Analysis
Cleveland vs Pittsburgh, nothing in the NFL sounds more violent, passionate and more appropriate. Two Rust Belt blue-collar, working-class cities that simply hate each other.
Hate is a polite word whenever the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns play, and another dark chapter was added back in Week 6 when Steelers LB, James Harrison would lead with his helmet knocking Browns wide receiver, Joshua Cribbs out of the game with a concussion.
Harrison would also lead with helmet again and give Browns wide receiver, Mohamed Massaqoui a concussion in the following play, Pittsburgh would go on to win 28-10, spoiling Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback, Colt McCoy's one touchdown, 281 yard NFL debut.
For The 5-10 Cleveland Browns and their fans, Sunday has come down to this; ruining Pittsburgh's playoff seeding and improving upon their win total from one year ago.
For Pittsburgh, they hope to win up in Cleveland and along with a loss by bitter rival, Baltimore to Cincinnati at home would give the 11-4 Pittsburgh Steelers a much-needed bye for themselves.
Without question, Pittsburgh needs and wants this game for a variety of reason, but the main reason is to give starters such as strong safety, Troy Polamalu a chance to heal up and come back in time for the playoffs.
Pittsburgh would also love to exact some revenge on Cleveland for knocking them out of the playoffs last year as the Browns would sack Pittsburgh Steelers QB, Ben Roethlisberger, eight times in a 13-6 win that would all but dash Pittsburgh's playoff hopes last year.
While some will argue that the reason why Pittsburgh lost to Cleveland was mainly due to the absence of Polamalu, Cleveland played with literally four players they signed as street agents and played with mostly practice squad guys.
That was 2009 and this is now 2011 and the Browns are playing for nothing more than pride and possibly Eric Mangini's job as the Browns who were once the talk of the NFL after upsetting NFL heavyweights, New England and New Orleans in back-to-back weeks has since gone 2-5 in their last seven games including losses to NFL doormats, Buffalo and Cincinnati have really cast doubt about Mangini's future in Cleveland.
For Pittsburgh, locking up the #2 seed in the AFC playoffs not only means a bye and getting Polamalu back, but will also give Pittsburgh time to heal and get all of it's other players healthy in time for a expected deep run in the playoffs and another shot and Steelers nemesis, Tom Brady in Foxborough with a trip to the Super Bowl most likely at stake.
Enjoy the game and check back in for live updates. Happy New Year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers behind a 280-yard two touchdown performance from quarterback, Ben Rothlisberger clinch the #2 seed in the AFC and win the AFC North with a resounding and thoroughly convincing 41-9 throttling over arch-rival Cleveland.
Pittsburgh from the start took a very methodical and business-like approach in clinching the AFC's #2 seed by simply man-handling Browns rookie QB, Colt McCoy who would be picked off three times and made him look like a rookie in corralling the former Longhorn to a 20-of-41, 201 yard day with one touchdown coming in garbage time as Pittsburgh pulled most of it's starters.
Pittsburgh was lead by wide receiver, Mike Wallace who would start the game of for Pittsburgh on a 56-yard touchdown strike from Rothlisberger, Wallace would finish the game with three receptions for 105 yards.
For the Browns, so many questions will swirl over the off-season as this may have been Mangini's last game as head coach in Cleveland and with a embarrassing half-hearted display by his players today, it looks like Browns president, Mike Holmgren will look to make some sweeping changes in the off-season.
One of them will be to go after former Tampa Bay head coach, Jon Gruden as widely rumored and in the draft go after defense, mainly defensive line and linebackers, as the Steelers exposed that need clearly on the field today.
Despite another rough day, Browns quarterback, Colt McCoy shows flashes of promise and the need for the Browns to go after a wide receiver in free agency and possibly in the upcoming draft in April.
While some might agrue that Mangini should be given another year,However, after today's 41-9 rout at the hands of the hated Pittsburgh Steelers, It is very much beginning to look like Holmgren will go in another direction.
At least Cleveland can hang their heads on at least scoring a touchdown, albeit in garbage time, Browns quarterback, Colt McCoy would find wide receiver, Brian Robiskie for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Initially, Robiskie's catch was ruled incomplete but after a reversal by officials ruled the catch a touchdown.
But to no avail, Pittsburgh will lock up the AFC's #2 seed and win the AFC North.
In the event that Browns head coach, Eric Mangini is dismissed, one player that may quickly follow him out of Berea is Cleveland Browns tight end, Robert Royal who on the day has dropped two prospective touchdown passes thrown to him.
On the latest, Royal had what looked like a TD completion, but juggling the ball during the catch and was later ruled incomplete.
The Browns would eventually score on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Colt McCoy, the Browns would fail on a two-point conversion.
With Byron Leftwich under center, Pittsburgh is content on running the ball and getting out of Cleveland with a win,
With some key starters resting now, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Byron Leftwich would lead the Steelers down the field on a 10-play, 52-yard drive that would culminate with a Shaun Suisham 24-yard field goal.
Pittsburgh, now resting it starters for the playoffs look in complete control of this game right now and with the end of the third quarter.
Pittsburgh has completely dominated this game from start to finish and going into the fourth quarter, back-up QB, Byron Leftwich will take over the controls from under center for Pittsburgh.
With the #2 seed in the AFC payoffs firmly secured coupled with a 38-3 demolishing of their arch-rivals in Cleveland,38-3.
Pittsburgh has pulled starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger and starting strong safety, Troy Polamalu.
For Pittsburgh this was the absolute best scenario that needed to happen, a convincing victory on the road that can give themselves a chance to pull key starters and with the up-coming bye.
Pittsburgh looks for real.
This may have been the proverbial "punking" on Cleveland, as Pittsburgh reached into its old bag of tricks to pile on in a game that is clearly a rout at this point.
Following a Ben Roethlisberger QB sneak on fourth down, Steelers wide receiver, Antawn Randel-El would throw a wide receiver touchdown pass to fellow wide receiver, Hines Ward to extend Pittsburgh's lead to 38-3.
This game is beginning to turn into another bad comedy of errors for the Browns.
What else can be said except that Pittsburgh has the look and attitude of a playoff team that is not only well rested, but focused on going deep into the AFC playoffs and possibly all the way down to North Texas for Super Bowl XLV.
Cleveland looks and is quite frankly embarrassing themselves and their fans with such a shoddy performance, half of Cleveland browns Stadium is already empty, save for the 25,000 Steelers fans who have once again turned Browns Stadium into Heinz Field West.
Roethlisberger looks sharp in spreading the ball out, Roethlisberger has gone 11-of-18 for 208 yards for two touchdowns including a 56 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver, Mike Wallace and a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end, Heath Miller.
Steelers running back, Rashard Mendenhall has also added two touchdowns on the ground along with 29 yards rushing.
For Cleveland, not much can be said except that Mangini may want to start updating his resume, as the Browns look like they have laid down and mailed this game in. Colt McCoy is getting a up close and personal education of playing Pittsburgh as he has gone 9-of-21 for 108 yards and three interceptions.
The lone bright spot for the Browns has been the play of wide receiver Mohamed Massaqoui and tight end, Benjamin Watson, other than that the Pittsburgh defense has played lights-out.
After Colt McCoy's third interception, Pittsburgh is actually FORCED to settle for a 41-yard field goal,and considering the way Pittsburgh has been exploiting Cleveland's defense, this is a small victory.
Pittsburgh is simply dominated the hapless Browns and are priming themselves for the playoffs att his point. Cleveland is just hoping to get off of the field with some dignity intact.
It looks like the Steelers have figured Colt McCoy out as they have picked him off for the third time now, this one by Steelers cornerback, Anthony Madison, and during the throw McCoy to a legal hit from Steelers linebacker, James Harrison.
McCoy who only had three interceptions his first six games has now thrown six picks in his last six quarters. McCoy was also slow to get up after being dumped to the turf by Harrison.
Following the Ryan Clark interception and a completion to Hines Ward, Ben Roethlisberger would find, Steelers tight end, Heath Miller for his second passing touchdown of the game as the Steelers are just pouring it on in Cleveland as they lead 28-3.
The Steelers have the look of a rested and focused team going into the playoffs and barring a miraculous Cleveland comeback, Pittsburgh has all but locked up the #2 seed in the AFC.
Roethlisberger for the day is 7-of-10 for 185 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Look for the Steelers to start pulling starters later in the game.
Browns QB, Colt McCoy has just thrown his second interception of the game, this one to Steelers defensive back, Ryan Clark after the Browns were flagged for illegal forward motion.
It looks like the Browns are mailing in this game and just want the season to end at this point as they have the look and attitude of a comply de-moralized and defeated team.
The ruling on the field of a interception was confirmed and upheld as Cleveland loses a timeout.
Methodical, is the word word that can best be described in what Pittsburgh is doing to the Cleveland browns on offense, in all facets of this game, Pittsburgh is simply the more dominant team.
Steelers running back, Rashard Mendenhall has just rushed for his second touchdown of the game to go along with 25 yards on nine carries.
The Browns decision to go for a field-goal instead of a touchdown on fourth down is already receiving plenty of backlash from the fans and even on the field as the Browns morale and body language signal a total sub-servience at this point.
It is not looking good for Cleveland.
After a promising drive, Cleveland finally gets on the board with a Phil Dawson field goal, Browns QB, Colt McCoy was 5-of-9 for 71 yards, but missed tight end Robert Royal on two passes off of a pair of bootleg plays.
For the Steelers this is a big moral victory as it appeared that Cleveland was finally beginning to gain some momentum, but instead held the Browns to a FG.
After a slow and rough start, Browns QB has Cleveland moving the ball down the field, after being sack one and hurried four times by the Steelers ever-agresssive defense.
McCoy has completed eight of his last passes included a deflected completion to Brian Robiskie and a big 33 yard completion to Mohammed Massaqoui down to the Pittsburgh three yard line.
McCoy on the current drive is currently 5-of-7 for 71 yards, he has also run for nine yards.