By Chaz Bolte AFCNT.com Writer (Originally published December 11th, 2009)
The unthinkable happened Thursday night in the wintery mess of Lake Erie, the Cleveland Browns defeated the reigning Super Bowl champs and hated rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Rob Ryan’s defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger 8 times and held the Steelers offense to 6 points. Their constant attack made the Steelers offensive line like foolish and rendered them ineffective.
The Browns hung on although Brady Quinn couldn’t get the passing game on track, going 6 of 19 for 90 yards. Former CFL star Chris Jennings had 20 carries for 73 yards and scored the Browns first rushing touchdown of the season. The Browns used their wildcat package which allowed Josh Cribbs to gain 87 yards on 8 carries, including a phenomenal 37 yard run in the 2nd quarter. The Browns gained a total of 171 yards on the ground against a Steelers defense that showed little resemblance to the one that helped win the Super Bowl last season.
The Browns offense did nothing spectacular but managed to not lose the game and in the end that’s all they needed to do. The Browns defense looked as if it dominated the Steelers offensive line for a majority of the game. Ben Roethlisberger went 18 for 32 gaining 201 yards and the running game sputtered with Rashard Mendenhall picking up only 53 yards on 16 carries.
With their win the Browns took advantage of two of their bright spots on a roster of has been’s and never will be’s by using Josh Cribbs in the wildcat formation and by letting Rob Ryan “unleash hell” on the Steelers offense and their fans. I think it would only benefit the Browns to continue to use Cribbs under center because he is truly their only legitimate big play threat and Brady Quinn has shown to be ineffective at getting him the ball through the air.
The defense was brilliant and showed promise. Last night proved the Browns have the right defensive mentality and an excellent system in place but lack the players to make it truly dominating. This is even more reason the Browns should use the 2010 NFL Draft to replenish their defense with young talent. Their primary targets should be Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh or Tennessee S Eric Berry with their probable top 5 pick.
In one wintery mess of a Lake Effect night the Cleveland Browns held their own against a depleted Pittsburgh Steelers and held on to get their 2nd victory of the season. The victory was also a moral one and gave the Dog pound something to cheer about after sitting through this horrendous year of blunders and atrocities. It wasn’t a brilliant performance but it was a win over the hated Steelers and it helped the people of Cleveland sleep tight through the cold blustery night.