Loss to Cleveland in '09 still fresh
That loss last year to them in Cleveland that dealt the killing blow to our playoff chances just stings. We've beaten them 12 of the last 13 times and 18 of the last 20 but that one hurt last year. Sure we stunk up the joint pretty much all year but still. Our divisional record last year was horrific, the worst that I can remember in a long time. The Steelers certainly have not forgotten that loss either, I expect them to come out next Sunday firing on all cylinders and rip the hearts out of the Browns right from the onset.
None of this letting them hang around, playing down to the competition, settling for FG's all day long in the redzone. We need TD's, big time passes from Ben, Mendy running wild, and the defense playing lights out all day. It's time to send a message to the league that even though we are 3-1, we are just getting started.
On the Steelers: Loss at Cleveland in '09 bitter
Monday, October 11, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Mark Duncan/Associated Press
The Browns sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger eight times in last year's game in Cleveland.
The NFL provided the Steelers a break even as its commissioner suspended quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the first four games of the season.
The league at least tossed the Steelers a bone by allowing Roethlisberger two weeks to practice before playing his first game, and by making sure he had a soft landing by scheduling the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field for his comeback.
It does not get much easier than the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers have won 12 of the past 13 times they have played the Browns, 18 of the previous 20. Under normal circumstances, the Browns would be a dress rehearsal for Roethlisberger in preparation for the next three grueling games on the road at Miami, New Orleans and Cincinnati.
Except for one thing. That one loss to the Browns in their past 13 meetings occurred in their most recent one, Dec. 10, on a bitter, cold, windy night in Cleveland. The Browns, 1-11 at the time, upset the Steelers, 13-6, to provide the final blow to their playoff hopes that had hemorrhaged during a five-game losing streak.
Thanks to that game (and other losses to some of the worst teams in the league such as Oakland and Kansas City in that five-game skid), the Steelers missed the playoffs. And, thanks to that game, they will look at their contest against the Browns a whole lot differently Sunday at Heinz Field.
"That was the fifth straight game we lost. That was like really the bottom of the barrel there," linebacker James Harrison said. "That was a big letdown. We hit the bottom. We didn't think we could get any lower, but we could have. That was like the lowest of the lowest point. All we could do was go up from there."
Somehow, the Steelers rebounded to win their final three games to finish 9-7, only to lose a tiebreaker to Baltimore, which earned a wild-card playoff spot. The memory of losing in Cleveland to punctuate that five-game nosedive, however, remains strong for many.
"It was pretty bad," Hines Ward said. "Losing to Cleveland is always depressing, not only for this city but the players, too.
"The weather was crazy. It was probably the worst weather game I ever played in."
It was a game in which Steelers coach Mike Tomlin strongly had suggested he would make lineup changes after a four-game losing streak, although he made none. It also was the second game into Tomlin's threat for the Steelers to "unleash hell in December" only to lose their first two of the month, Oakland at home and then Cleveland.
Nothing was worse than that loss to the Browns, who entered with a seven-game losing streak and ranked last in the NFL on offense and defense.
It was so bad that Ward said right afterward, "To lose five straight coming off a Super Bowl from last year, it's embarrassing for me. It just hurts, it hurts a lot."
Those bitter memories, plus a rested, healthy football team playing in the mild October weather at home should provide all the incentive the Steelers might need to avoid another upset by the Browns.
"I think it was a big wake-up call," linebacker James Farrior said. "We all know we can't take any opponent lightly, but going through those games that we lost, it hit home and it really got the point across that no matter what team's out there, when you're out there to play on Sunday any team can beat you."
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