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Thread: Steelers Notebook: Regular season has familiar finish against familiar foe

          
   
   
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  1. #21
    Starter Goodfrom55's Avatar
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    Bottom line boys (and girls), playoffs start Sunday in Cleveland. As long as the offense doesn't come out and try to do too much, and the defense gets off the field on 3rd down, Steelers win. Cleveland played real hard this year, but they are on the downturn. Cribbs is not 100%, Hillis is banged (playing against J. Stewart last was a good tune up for dealing with Hillis), Browns defense is also banged up. I look for it to be a competitive 1st half, Steelers pull away in 2nd half, steelers win 27-14.
    Last edited by Goodfrom55; 12-28-2010 at 08:46 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #22
    Assistant Coach coldrolled's Avatar
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    Haden and his teammates absorbed a third straight loss. However, the rookie from the University of Florida has not lost an ounce of confidence in the players he lines up next to every day.

    “It’s definitely disappointing, but at the same time, you know that everybody on the team wanted to win,” he said. “That’s the one thing that hurts even more. We’re going out there, playing hard, playing our hearts out. One thing that I like a whole lot, we’re not giving in. We’re just going hard; we’re just still fighting, still trying to come out on top.”

  3. #23
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    On the Steelers: Few, if any, signs of rivalry

    Mike Tomlin tried. He tried real hard Tuesday to push two points at his weekly news conference.

    Point one, he talked about the 2010 Cleveland Browns as if they were the 1964 Browns, the last major Cleveland sports team to win a championship.

    Point two, he continued to portray Browns-Steelers as a "rivalry."

    The 2010 Browns lug a 5-10 record and three-game losing streak into their final game of the season Sunday against the Steelers in Cleveland. And they represent a little more of a rivalry for the Steelers than the Carolina Panthers.

    "We're excited about the opportunity to end our season against an AFC North team in the Cleveland Browns, one that we respect," Tomlin said. "We understand what's at stake here. What better way to have to go about winning the division than to go on the road and have to do it in a rival's home."

    Give Tomlin credit for trying to turn lemons into lemonade. There is plenty at stake here for his team, the difference between a No. 2 seed and a bye into the second week of the playoffs vs. the No. 6 seed and a road you wouldn't want to drive. He did his best Tuesday to make the Browns sound like the New England Patriots.

    The Browns can beat the Steelers. They beat them last December, essentially providing the final blow to their playoff chances. They also own a victory against the Patriots back on Nov. 7, stunning as it was.

    A Cleveland upset is not out of the question, and that's what needs to happen more often before this again approaches rivalry status. There was no fiercer rivalry in the NFL from the 1950s through the mid-1990s than Browns-Steelers. But when the Browns moved to Baltimore in '96, the rivalry went south with them and, perhaps, the best rivalry in the NFL since then has been Steelers-Ravens.

    "We have a rivalry vs. the Ravens, vs. the Bengals, and the Browns as far as I'm concerned," Tomlin insisted. "That's the nature of AFC North football. Their perceptions of the rivalry I can't control."

    But, if playing a team more often than others is considered a rivalry, then the Harlem Globetrotters have one with the Washington Generals; Steelers-Browns results have been similar since Cleveland rejoined the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1999.

    The Steelers have won 13 of their past 14 games against the Browns, 19 of the past 21, including one playoff victory (2002) -- the only time the New Browns have made the playoffs.

    But there is that close proximity, a two-hour bus ride from Pittsburgh.

    "Anytime in the National Football League you're getting on the bus to go play a game, man, that's a pretty heated rivalry," Tomlin actually said.

    Maybe he meant the bus was pretty heated, not the rivalry.

    "Not many bus trips in the National Football League," Tomlin continued. "Just from proximity's standpoint, it's unique. History is what it is: two storied franchises, the fans. I think the close proximity and history makes it what it is."

    What it is, what it has been stretching back to the previous century, is a cakewalk more than a rivalry. Even when the Old Browns were good, the Steelers mowed them down. Before they moved to Baltimore, the Browns lost six consecutive games to the Steelers, including three times in 1994, the third one a playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium. Counting those, the Steelers have won 26 of their past 30 games against the Cleveland Browns.

    The Browns would love nothing better than to turn that into 26 of 31 by pulling their second consecutive upset of the Steelers in a December game at home that meant little else to them but ruins the season for their "rivals."

    "We have to go into an AFC North city and do the job, and I'm sure they're not for us doing it, so it's going to make it interesting and exciting,'' said Tomlin.



    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10363...#ixzz19WKv7wk3

  4. #24
    steelersbabex25's Avatar
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    There aren't many things that Tomlin says that I would classify as stupid, but this

    "Anytime in the National Football League you're getting on the bus to go play a game, man, that's a pretty heated rivalry,"
    is one of them.

  5. #25
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    The Steelers/Browns is still a big rivalry, and one of the better ones in sports. However it's more about the fans these days than the players mainly because it's been so one sided for so many years now. Except for last year we normally win every time we play them. We fans still love to hate each other and sticking one to the dog pound is always a nice feeling for us, but overall the Ravens rivalry is much more heated, like the Browns used to be.

    Make no mistake, rivalry or not, if these guys don't get up for and win this game, we are in serious, serious trouble.

  6. #26
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    Stakes high for Steelers in regular-season finale vs. Browns

    PITTSBURGH -- A game the Steelers hoped would mean nothing now means everything, and they know it.

    The Steelers (11-4) wanted to have the AFC North title and a playoff bye wrapped up by now. They don't, and that means Sunday's game at Cleveland has the potential to significantly damage their chances of winning the Super Bowl even before the playoffs begin.

    The neighboring cities have been rivals for 60 years, but, since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, the Steelers haven't traveled to Cleveland during the final week of the regular season for a game that meant so much to them.

    Win, and the Steelers will take the division, earn a playoff bye and own home-field advantage for at least the second round of the playoffs. Lose to the Browns (5-10) in a major upset, and the Steelers likely will be relegated to being seeded sixth in the AFC, with no chance for a home game and no time off before they open the wild-card playoffs next week.

    "You definitely don't want to play next week, because anything can happen in the NFL, anybody can beat anybody," nose tackle Casey Hampton said Wednesday.

    Even if they survive that game, the Steelers would have to win at New England (13-2) the following week just to reach the AFC Championship Game.

    While the Steelers (2005 season) and the New York Giants (2007) both won the Super Bowl as sixth-seeded teams that went on the road for three consecutive weeks of conference playoffs, no one else did it in the Super Bowl's first 44 seasons. Few came close.

    With key players such as Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith slowed or sidelined by injuries, and lacking the late-season momentum they seized by winning their final four games in 2005, the Steelers understand that taking such a circuitous path might prove too difficult this season.

    The Steelers and Baltimore Ravens (11-4) are tied for the AFC North lead, but Pittsburgh owns the tiebreaker based on a better division record. All that vanishes if the Steelers lose in Cleveland and the Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals (4-11), a scenario that gives Baltimore the division title.

    "That's more motivation than anything else," Hampton said. "You want to have a week off, you don't want to play in anybody else's home stadium for the first round. You get a lot more rest (with a bye), especially us being an older team."

    Normally, the Steelers have little trouble beating the Browns; they've won 13 of the past 14 in what has been a rivalry in name only since Cleveland returned to the NFL in 1999.

    But everybody in the Steelers' locker room knows about the lone defeat, 13-6 last season to a one-win Browns team. That loss finished off a five-game Pittsburgh losing streak and eventually kept the team out of the playoffs.

    That's why the Steelers' more experienced players are making sure the rookies understand what can happen when a team lets down in a game it figures to win easily.

    "The players, the coaches, everybody's mentioned it," center Maurkice Pouncey said. "They know what happened last year, and we're trying not to let that happen again. They're saying we can't have that again. We know what we want, and it's right in front of us to get."

    While Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is 6-1 against the Browns, he considers them to be rivals because the teams' cities are so close. Even if they're often far apart in the standings; the Steelers are in the playoffs for the fifth time in the last seven seasons, while the Browns were last in the AFC North six of the previous seven seasons.

    "Any time in the National Football League you're getting on a bus to go play a game, I mean, that's a pretty heated rivalry," Tomlin said. "Not many bus trips in the National Football League. Just from a proximity's standpoint, it's unique."

    The Browns frustrated the Steelers last season by holding them to 75 yards in the first half and sacking Ben Roethlisberger eight times. Roethlisberger came back this season to throw three touchdown passes in his season's debut, a 28-10 win over Cleveland on Oct. 17 that followed his four-game suspension.

    "The motivation's the AFC North and trying to get this win and get a bye," Roethlisberger said. "We've got a lot of motivation. Yeah, last year was a bad loss up there, so we've got a lot of fighting to do, and we know that."

    Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
    http://http://www.nfl.com/news/story...e=HP_headlines

  7. #27
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    That's the way I want it! I don't want us laying down to Cleveland for any reason. I was us to kick there azzes and make them eat dawg pupe! Them and there inbred, hillbilly redneck fans.
    Cleveland Browns suck!

  8. #28
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    Coach Mike Tomlin on the Browns

    Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at this week’s opponent – the Cleveland Browns.



    Q. During the week of preparation, did the Turnpike rivalry take a back seat to the playoff picture?



    A. No it didn’t. We realize what’s between us and where we want to go. This stage is as big or bigger than any. We’re a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other type of group, and it makes it important that we go to Cleveland and play well.



    Q. Is Steelers-Browns still a big rivalry?



    A. It is, because it’s important to our fans. Our fan base touches and overlaps with their fan base, and we’re in the business of entertainment. It’s important to our fans, so it’s important to us.



    Q. What do remember most about the first game between these teams – on Oct. 17 when the Steelers won, 28-10?



    A. That we ran around and made the necessary plays to win. I thought James Harrison provided a James Harrison-like performance. When we need quality plays from a big-time performer, guys like him and Troy usually deliver.



    Q. What do you remember about Colt McCoy from the first meeting between these teams, and what impresses you about him?



    A. He doesn’t make a lot of the critical mistakes that young quarterbacks typically make in situational football. In the red zone he doesn’t get them beat, on third down he doesn’t get them beat. He’s a pretty poised guy. He has great mobility and escapability, and I think those are some of the reasons why he was good against us and why he has been good since.



    Q. Peyton Hillis hasn’t practiced all week because of a rib injury. Besides his imitation of a steam-roller, what abilities does he bring to the football field?



    A. He has extremely soft hands, underrated hands. A lot has been written and said about the way he plays from a running style standpoint, and rightfully so, but we’re also talking about a guy who has 60-plus catches and is really a vital part of their offense in the passing game as well.



    Q. Their offensive line has a nice pedigree on the left side with tackle Joe Thomas and guard Eric Steinbach. Does that make them a left-handed offense?



    A. No it doesn’t. They do run a significant number of plays over the left side, but they’re also a power-run football team. They run a lot of powers and counters that involve a pulling guard, and when they go to pull a guard it’s usually Steinbach. A significant number of their plays go to the right.



    Q. Do you expect to see a lot of wildcat from the Browns on Sunday?



    A. I don’t know. It could depend on a number of things. Peyton Hillis’ health is one thing. The wildcat is a run-game alternative, and so if their feature runner is banged up or if they want to limit the exposure of their young quarterback to the defense, we could see a lot of it. But if Hillis is doing well and the quarterback is doing well, we might see very little of it.



    Q. What makes rookie Joe Haden so good as a cornerback?



    A. Ball skills and general football awareness. He can catch the football. He’s had interceptions at every level – in high school, at the University of Florida and now here in the National Football League, where he has six interceptions already. His general football awareness – he doesn’t see the game through a straw. He can see the big picture. Backfield action, he can feel route depths and break points. He has the overall general awareness of a top cornerback.



    Q. Marcus Benard had 3.5 sacks last year and 7.5 already this year. What’s the difference?



    A. He’s getting more opportunities. They’ve put some packages in for him where he’s consistently playing on third downs. Last year, he was a spot guy where he might have weeks of inactivity at a time. It’s probably just the natural maturation process of a young guy and getting the reward of playing time that comes with it.



    Q. Are there any similarities between the Jets and Browns because of the Ryan brothers?



    A. No, not specifically defensively. I think if you coach football, particularly defensive football, you do what your guys are capable of doing and do it well. I think they are working with two different types of units, outfits and I think they cater their assault to fit their people.
    http://http://www.steelers.com/news/...8-3f0bbbda83c9

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