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  1. #1
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    Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Week 6

    The Cleveland Browns' recent struggles against the Pittsburgh Steelers have been well documented and much discussed. Suffice it to say that Pittsburgh has treated the Browns, in the words of former coach Rob Chudzinski, like a "kid brother."

    The Browns made a statement in the season opener in Heinz Field by erasing a 27-3 deficit, but in the end Pittsburgh's statement was louder because it won.

    As Browns coach Mike Pettine said, the word for almost winning is losing.
    The Browns started this week favored for only the fourth time in 20 years against Pittsburgh, and Brian Hoyer and Pettine give the Browns their best chance in a long time to make a more real statement.

    ESPN NFL Nation Browns reporter Pat McManamon and Steelers reporter Scott Brown discuss Sunday's game at FirstEnergy Stadium.

    McManamon: Scott, the Browns saw Pittsburgh in the opener. Pittsburgh dominated the first half and held on in the second. What happened to the Steelers after that first half? The Browns came back, nearly stole a win and the Steelers are 2-2 since.

    Steelers at Browns: Stats of the Week
    137.6
    Running back Le'Veon Bell's average yards from scrimmage through the Steelers' first five games. Bell is the first player in Steelers history to gain at least 100 yards from scrimmage in the first five games of a season. The second-year man piled up 197 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in a 30-27 win over the Browns on Sept. 7.

    143.3
    The average number of rushing yards for the Browns per game, fourth in the league. This is a team that was horrid running a year ago, but with rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell contributing and Ben Tate rushing for a career high in Tennessee, the Browns are running the ball well.

    Brown: In talking with Maurkice Pouncey a couple of weeks ago, the Pro Bowl center strongly hinted that the Steelers -- or at least their offensive line -- got a little overconfident after Pittsburgh rolled to a 27-3 halftime lead. I think the entire team had a letdown to some degree but the second-half charge that the Browns made also exposed some of the Steelers' weaknesses. They are no longer the defense that opponents didn't try to bother to run against when the Steelers played in three Super Bowls and won two of them from 2005 to 2010. Nor do the Steelers harass quarterbacks the way they did during that span, and the lack of consistent pressure could be a problem for them Sunday since Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer has been sacked only once this season.

    Looking back, the game provided a perfect microcosm for the Steelers' season so far. They have been very up and down and are searching for the consistency that will translate into the Steelers stringing together wins.

    Pat, I think when the NFL schedule was released that a lot of us looked at it and figured Johnny Manziel would be starting by the time the Steelers and Browns met for the second time this season. Hoyer obviously had other ideas. How much respect has he earned from his coaches and teammates for the job he has done, and is this his team now or just for now?

    McManamon: There has been one Manziel question for this preview every game; why should Pittsburgh be different? The only thing is if the backup played like Manziel did in preseason and his name were Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr, there would be no questions because everyone would figure he played like a rookie, so he should sit.

    To answer your question, though, Scott, Hoyer has done everything right from the moment he hurt his knee just about one year ago. He attacked his rehab. He was in the facility every day in the offseason learning a new system. He chafed when coaches held him back in OTAs to protect his knee, saying he needed to be on the field to make his mistakes and learn the system. He competed in training camp, though not always well. Once he was named the starter he prepared the way he learned to from his mentor, Tom Brady, and he's played extremely well.

    To say the team respects him is an understatement. Hoyer has rewarded the faith shown in him by his coach, and he's made a group of receivers that seemed average when the year began effective. He studies, protects the ball and plays well.

    He gives the Browns their best chance in years to avoid the collapses that have plagued them recently. If he can get a win at home against Pittsburgh -- and the stadium will be energized -- he'll have three games awaiting against Jacksonville, Oakland and Tampa Bay.

    This job is Hoyer's. The coach has made that clear by sticking with him despite huge road deficits. He showed his feelings about Hoyer when he sent him a personal note a year ago after Hoyer's injury, and Hoyer has justified the decision with his play.

    Pittsburgh's defense has been shredded by injuries. Will this catch up to Pittsburgh, or can the Steelers ride out the storm with guys like James Harrison, who came out of retirement to rejoin his old team?

    Brown: Well, they don't have a lot of options, which is why they not only talked Harrison out of retirement but also have the 36-year-old playing a significant amount of snaps at outside linebacker. The Steelers were thin at the position before starting right outside linebacker Jarvis Jones went down with a dislocated wrist and Arthur Moats, who is filling in for Jones, started 12 games last season at inside linebacker for the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers' secondary has held up well since starting cornerback Ike Taylor broke his forearm and Sean Spence has been OK at inside linebacker with Ryan Shazier out because of a sprained knee.

    The defense, however, was flawed even before it lost three starters and it doesn't appear to be capable of carrying the Steelers as it often did in the past. That is why the Steelers have to fix their red zone problems on offense. I think they are going to have to put up a lot of points more often than not to win and that could be the case Sunday in Cleveland.

    I didn't think I'd be saying this but Cleveland might be the most balanced offense that the Steelers have faced with Hoyer playing well. How much of the Browns' success has been because of the offensive line, starting with perennial Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas?

    McManamon: That group has been excellent, as the numbers show. The Browns are averaging 127 yards per game rushing -- 4.5 per carry -- and 265 passing. They have scored 21 points in each of the first four games, something they haven't done since 1969. The line has a large role in that, as the assembled group has a perennial Pro Bowler in Joe Thomas, a soon-to-be perennial Pro Bowler in Alex Mack and a born natural at guard in rookie Joel Bitonio. Right guard John Greco is underrated, and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz has played well.

    The key to the line is their athleticism and ability to move, which makes them an excellent fit for Kyle Shanahan's zone blocking scheme. That requires lateral movement and allows a back to find his hole. The pass protection is helped by Hoyer's ability to get rid of the ball quickly, but the group has played well there, too. This is a line that should get more and more notice as the season goes on, because it is a cohesive, talented group.

    Cleveland is favored in this game, which is something that has not happened in a long, long time. Did the Steelers come away from the opener feeling that they fell asleep on the Browns, or do they have a healthy respect for them? Because if Pittsburgh respects the Browns, it's also the first time that's happened in a long time.


    Brown: If the Steelers don't have a healthy respect for the Browns they are crazy and that is something that will fall on coach Mike Tomlin and the veteran leaders. It is absurd to think that the Steelers can overlook any opponent following a home loss to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks ago after coming off a resounding win at Carolina. I get the sense that the Steelers are impressed with the talent that the Browns have assembled and Hoyer, at least so far, has provided the strong quarterback play that has too often eluded them since the NFL returned to Cleveland in 2000.

    If Tomlin senses that the Steelers are taking the Browns lightly because of the recent history between the AFC North foes, all he has to do is run the second half of their Sept. 7 game on a continuous loop at team headquarters.

    I think the Steelers' offense is poised to break out. How do you think they will try to attack the Browns based on where they are vulnerable?

    McManamon: Pick your spot. It is surprising to think that with a defensive head coach and talented defensive players that the defense is holding the team back. But it is. The Browns have not stopped anyone for an entire game yet this season. They have for one half in Pittsburgh and Tennessee, but not for an entire game.

    The Browns are especially vulnerable against the run, where they are giving up the ungodly number of 152.5 yards per game. If the Steelers don't use Le'Veon Bell to take advantage of that, Joe Greene may appear on the sidelines to remind them.

    The other issue is at cornerback. Joe Haden has not gotten his hand on a ball this season, and Buster Skrine has not taken the next step. To complicate things, rookie first-round pick Justin Gilbert has struggled to the point he's been replaced by undrafted rookie K'Waun Williams. If Ben Roethlisberger doesn't notice the Browns' corners, Terry Bradshaw may drop by the sidelines and remind him.
    http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth

    The Cleveland Browns start the week favored to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    The Browns are a two-point favorite, an unusual occurence in the recent history of the “rivalry.”

    In the last 20 years, the Browns have been favored to beat the Steelers three times prior to this week.

    Pittsburgh won all three games. The first was last season, when Jason Campbell's fumble during a sack was the turning point, though it was clear Campbell had been hit in the head and no call was made. The others: Nov. 23, 2003, the (in)famous Dennis Northcutt end-around game, called on fourth-and-1 from the Steelers 1-yard-line; and September 11, 1994, a 17-7 loss in the second-to-last week of a playoff season with Bill Belichick as coach.

    This marks the first time the Browns are favored to beat Pittsburgh in consecutive seasons since 1990 and 1991.

    Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information for the info.
    Sadly I might take the 2 points.

    If Haden can't go, not that he had a great game to begin with against Brown earlier, but afraid that Ben might have a field day against the secondary. K'Waun Williams on the outside on an island is a little scary and we obviously saw what Skrine does on the outside last weekend. Gilbert still seems to not be there so will be interesting.

    Still the Browns offense is clicking and hopefully the run game can get started early instead of the team falling behind by 24 this time.

    28-27 Browns. Taking the 2 and hoping for a W and a betting W.

    HOYERMANIA!!!

  2. #2
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    I think Haden will be good to go for the game. Pettine said he is "cautiously optimistic" that Haden will be able to play. I know that it was the theme of last week's game (and they failed to do so in the first half) but the Defense will step up this game. I still see Antonio having a decent game just because they will find ways to get him the ball. Keep him under 100 and off the scoreboard is a win in my book.

    I'm going to maintain my Browns Optimism and say that the Browns will thrive with the crowd's energy and we finally win a game that doesn't have us on the brink of a heart attack by the fourth quarter. Steeler's defense is banged up. Tate has another 100 yard game, Hawkins finally scores a TD and Cameron has his best game of the season.

    Browns - 24
    Steelers - 10

    PS- did anyone else see the video on ESPN with three panelists who had to answer the following question: "What team currently not winning their division has the best shot to win the division?" The first two guys chose the Saints and the Broncos. The third guy, Jerome Bettis, said "As much as it pains me to say it, the CLEVELAND BROWNS". The national guys are starting to feel this Hoyer vib as well. Pretty exciting time to be a Cleveland fan

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruzor12 View Post
    I think Haden will be good to go for the game. Pettine said he is "cautiously optimistic" that Haden will be able to play. I know that it was the theme of last week's game (and they failed to do so in the first half) but the Defense will step up this game. I still see Antonio having a decent game just because they will find ways to get him the ball. Keep him under 100 and off the scoreboard is a win in my book.

    I'm going to maintain my Browns Optimism and say that the Browns will thrive with the crowd's energy and we finally win a game that doesn't have us on the brink of a heart attack by the fourth quarter. Steeler's defense is banged up. Tate has another 100 yard game, Hawkins finally scores a TD and Cameron has his best game of the season.

    Browns - 24
    Steelers - 10

    PS- did anyone else see the video on ESPN with three panelists who had to answer the following question: "What team currently not winning their division has the best shot to win the division?" The first two guys chose the Saints and the Broncos. The third guy, Jerome Bettis, said "As much as it pains me to say it, the CLEVELAND BROWNS". The national guys are starting to feel this Hoyer vib as well. Pretty exciting time to be a Cleveland fan
    This is the scary thing for me. Farmer needs to be talking to Joe Linta everyday and finding a way to get Brian signed for the next two years IMO after this year before Brian continues to excel. Get him locked up till 2016-2017 and then allow Johnny to sit or have the chance to beat him out in the offseason. If he beats him out then you still have a great backup option in Hoyer (even though Brian is probably looking for guaranteed money and guaranteed starting job).

    Will be interesting if Hoyer and Linta play out the year and the possibility of him digressing his value later on or the possibility of an injury or if they can come to a consensus with Browns FO. Banner and his non-stop tweeting seem to be stating the other day that the Browns and Hoyer were very far apart when they started talks last season. Wonder if winning and Farmer can change that.

    HOYERMANIA!!!

  4. #4
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    Haden not practicing again today.

    HOYERMANIA!!!

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    Both teams are inconsistent. But the Steelers always play well against Cleveland.

    If the defense shows up finally, we may have a shot.

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    I think the D will be better. Coming in as a rookie coach, Pettine/Shanny/O'Neil were out schemed by the Steelers. It seemed like they figured it out at halftime. If they are able to play anywhere near as good as they did in the second half, I think the Browns win big. Otherwise, I see another 3 point game.

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    Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Week 6

    Browns: 23
    Steelers: 21

    **** the Steelers

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownies236 View Post
    If they are able to play anywhere near as good as they did in the second half, I think the Browns win big. Otherwise, I see another 3 point game.
    What if you look at the flip side? What if Pittsburgh plays as well as they did in the first half against us? Then we lose by 40+ points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FearTheRoo View Post
    What if you look at the flip side? What if Pittsburgh plays as well as they did in the first half against us? Then we lose by 40+ points.
    **** the flip side!...and **** the steelers!....go brownies
    ....pleasing the casual fan,while telling the hardcore fan to go to hell since 2006

  10. #10
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    Puck Fittsburgh BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FearTheRoo View Post
    What if you look at the flip side? What if Pittsburgh plays as well as they did in the first half against us? Then we lose by 40+ points.
    It is becoming more and more evident...THESE AIN'T THE SAME OLD BROWNS!!!!! We have seen 2nd half adjustments from OUR coaching staff, we have seen a consistent running game, we have seen the same QB play each week. And...don't overlook the fact that they are doing this WITHOUT their best offensive player!!!

    Hopefully the injuries to Armonty Bryant and Alex Mack aren't too serious...and...hopefully...we take care of the games that we SHOULD win leading up to Josh Gordon's return!

    HERE WE GO BROWNIES....HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. #12
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    doubters take notice...6-2 going into cincy could be reality
    Last edited by krazylegz; 10-12-2014 at 05:48 PM.
    ....pleasing the casual fan,while telling the hardcore fan to go to hell since 2006

  13. #13
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    Great game by the O-Line.. Great win...

    On the injury front... Alex Mack sustained a broken leg.. will be out a minimum of six to eight weeks, maybe longer.. Results of xrays mri etc will be known Monday...

    Armonty Bryant sustained a severely strained knee. The extent of the damage wasn't known, but, he is expected to be out of action for a minimum of three weeks or more..

  14. #14
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    That was a great game to see live. Perfect weather and they just stood on the throats of the Steelers the entire game.

  15. #15
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    Statement beatdown of the ********s burg Squeelers. It felt soooo amazing... I'm proud of the entire team. Travis Benjamin has been playing like a bonafide receiver.

    Only bad thing about the game were the injuries... but we got mad depth on the defensive line and Greco filled in nicely at center. Feeling really good about our team!


    BELIEVELAND 2014 WE PUSHIN

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