POST GAME REPORT BY HOUSE OF STEEL
Cleveland at Pittsburgh, Heinz Field
Good Evening everyone and welcome to the post game show here at Heinz Field and what a beautiful game it was for the Steelers as they push past the Browns 27-7 to sweep the series for the season and to pull within a tie in the rivalry history. The big story was, of course, the weather being nasty, windy, and miserable. For Willie Parker, it was a record cold night.
Big Congratulations goes out to Parker for breaking the Steelers' single-game rushing record with 223 yards-- a game better than either Franco Harris or Jerome Bettis enjoyed--and Pittsburgh excelled as usual in inferior weather by roughing up the offense-less Browns.
Parker, tonight becomes the first player in Steelers history to have two 200-yard games in a season, broke John "Frenchy" Fuqua's record of 218 yards against Philadelphia in 1970, two years before Fuqua was the intended receiver on Harris' famous Immaculate Reception against Oakland.
The Steelers (6-7) withstood temperatures in the teens, a wind chill that was below zero in the second half, and an occassional snow flake to win their seventh in a row against their Rust belt rival, following up a 41-0 rout in Cleveland last December and a comeback 24-20 victory last month in Cleveland. Pittsburgh is one of the NFL's best clubs when the weather gets bad and the games usually are more important and intense, going 21-6 past Dec. 1 since 2001.
For the Browns (4-9), this time of the year simply is a case of going from bad to worse. Assured now of their fourth consecutive losing season, they are 2-11 in December in the last three seasons.
Parker, a undrafted free agent three years ago, ran for 26 yards on five carries during a 97-yard drive ended by Ben Roethlisberger's 49 yard TD Pass to Nate Washington that made it 7-0 during the opening tilt.
Later, Roethlisberger (11-21, 225 yards) finished off a 91-yard drive with a 2-yard bootleg TD run, crossing up a Browns defense that was expecting Parker to get the ball.
Cleveland never did find a way to slow down a Steelers running game that only two weeks ago was limited to 21 yards in a 27-0 loss to Baltimore. Pittsburgh gained 303 yards on the ground for the night to the Browns a misery 18.
Parker also had a 3-yard TD run on a 74-yard drive during the third quarter as the Steelers continued to dominate Cleveland.
On the last notes for this game, fittingly enough given Parker's big night, it was this week a year ago that Bettis, in one of the most memorable runs of his long career, ran through the Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher during a 5-yard TD run on a snow-covered field. That score keyed a 21-9 Steelers victory that began their drive to the Super Bowl.
It was a beautiful night here in Pittsburgh. The Steeler Nation going home as happy campers in one of the season's best played game. Congratulations, once again to Willie Parker on this Record-Breaking Night. For Steeler Addicts, I am HoS, thanks for reading this post and have yourself a very Happy Holiday Season. Good Night.