Behind Enemy Lines: Cleveland Browns
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Steelers at Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, OH, Sunday 1:00 p.m. CBS
Spread: Pittsburgh (-1)
All-time regular season series: The Steelers lead the all-time series 64-56, but the Browns leads all-time in Cleveland, 35-24. Pittsburgh has won 16 of the last 17 meetings
Last Meeting: Jan 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Steelers won 13-9.
PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — The Cleveland Browns have been the typical Cleveland Browns during the 2012 season. With a record of 2-8, only Jacksonville and Kansas City have worse records this season. The Browns have been in position to win multiple games this season, including last week in Dallas, but have collapsed and failed to hold late leads. The Browns have jumped out to early leads in some of their losses, in others they have had late leads, but the result has been the same in all of them, disappointment. The Browns are playing better at home this season, with their only wins coming in Cleveland. Cleveland Browns Stadium has also been a bit tougher venue for the Steelers in this rivalry over the past few years. In the last 4 years, the Steelers owns a 3-1 record in Cleveland, however two of those wins were 4 point victories that were in doubt until the last whistle. The Browns have played all of their other division games this season, splitting the season series with in-state rival Cincinnati, and losing both games to the Baltimore Ravens.
Offensive Player to Watch: Trent Richardson, Running Back
Rookie running back Trent Richardson has been one of the few bright spots for the Browns this season. The 3rd overall pick in last April’s NFL draft, Richardson has run for 670 yards and 5 scores in 10 games so far, despite battling some rib injuries. Richardson seems to be getting stronger as the season goes as well, running for 122, 105 and 95 yards in his last three games respectively.
Defensive Player to Watch: Jabaal Shear, Defensive End
Former Pitt Panther, Sheard is tied for the team lead in sacks with 3 this season for the Browns. Sheard is in his 2nd year in the NFL. Last season he recorded 8.5 sacks and he picking up the pace recently, recording 1 sack in each of the last two games for Cleveland. Lining up on the left side of the Browns defense, Sheard will be lined up against Mike Adams most of the game on Sunday.
The Browns have been building and rebuilding every year it seems, but this year it looks a little different from years past. The Browns used their first 2 draft picks in April to address gaping holes at the running back and quarterback spot. The team’s top two receivers are also young and up and coming players. The problem with young teams is growing pains, and the Browns have had not shortage of those this year. Rookie QB Brandon Weeden has thrown 12 interceptions this year, leading the way in the “growing pains” category.
With starting CB Joe Haden out with an oblique injury the Browns struggled to stop the Cowboys passing attack last week. Even with a beat up wide receiving crew and a 3rd string QB, the Steelers should still be able to exploit this weakness of the Browns.
He Said It:
“It’s absolutely a huge game for us. From a coaching standpoint, it’s because it’s our next game and also because it’s a division game, and not to mention the fact that it’s the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers.” – Pat Shurmur, regarding the rivalry between the two franchises.