Browns

Stealing A Win From The Black And Bruised: Browns 20, Steelers 14

By DARYL RUITER, 92.3 The Fan Browns Beat Reporter
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Cornerback Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after an interception with Tashaun Gipson against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. / (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Cornerback Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after an interception with Tashaun Gipson against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. / (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Cleveland Browns beat writer and member of the Pro Football Writers of...
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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - Owner Jimmy Haslam would love to see the rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers dialed up a notch and returned to the level it used to be – when the Baltimore Ravens were the Browns.

Sunday’s 20-14 win was a step in the right direction as the Browns’ defense came away with 8 turnovers and beat a battered and bruised Steelers squad.

“We want to re-establish the rivalry,” Haslam said. “This is a great place to start. The biggest thrill was seeing who was leaving early. It was great to see our crowd. It was a tremendous crowd and they were standing and cheering.”

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said what was well known – the Steelers don’t respect the Browns.

It showed after the game as the Steelers angrily limped back to their locker room after the clock hit 0:00.

“A lot of them didn’t want to shake our hands,” Jackson said. “And I’m OK with that. I love to beat those guys. I don’t like them. They don’t like us.

“It’s great to beat up on them.”

Players were thrilled not just about the win but not seeing Steeler fans cheering and waving their terrible towels in the stands as the final seconds wound off the clock – which had become customary over the years.

“Pregame I saw a lot of Steelers fans and that really [ticked] me off,” returner Josh Cribbs said. “When I came in here {after the game] I was like, ‘Get out of here. Go back across the boarder.’

“It means a lot for this organization, this team and this city to beat Pittsburgh. I want to beat them when all the guys on their team are healthy.”

It wasn’t pretty but they’ll take it.

“One game never counts more than another one, but our biggest game every year is against the Steelers,” Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas said. “They’re our biggest rival. They’re in our division. To get a win against them is awesome.”

Weeden’s Noggin: For the second straight game against the Steelers, a Browns quarterback sustained a concussion – this time he didn’t return.

Brandon Weeden went down with 5:20 to play forcing Colt McCoy to come in for the final 2 series. McCoy was knocked out last December 8 by linebacker James Harrison.

Weeden appeared to bang his head on left tackle Joe Thomas’ leg as he fell awkwardly after throwing an incomplete pass. Thomas thought Weeden collided with Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds, who was applying pressure on the play.

“I thought his helmet hit another guy’s helmet,” Thomas said. “But anytime you’re getting whipped down like that and getting that whiplash effect, it’s not good on the noggin.”

“He’s good,” Shurmur said. “We had a good conversation. He’s being treated for a concussion, but we’ll see where that goes. Some guys come back quickly, some guys don’t, so we’ll just have to see where’s that’s at.”

Weeden finished 17 of 26 for 158 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

McCoy did not attempt a pass as the Browns ran the clock down by handing off 6 times to Trent Richardson.

If Weeden can’t play next week at Oakland, McCoy would start and the Browns are confident he could step in and succeed.

“We’ve got Colt and Colt is going to do whatever he does,” Richardson said. “We’re going to make sure Colt knows we believe in him. But I’m pretty sure Weeden’s going to be back. Weeden’s a warrior. He’s been around for a while, including to his age. But he’s a warrior.

“Weeden’s one of the guys that don’t want to get out. He didn’t even want to go out then. They had to hide his helmet from him. So I’m pretty sure he’ll be back. But if it comes down to it, we’ve got Colt and Colt makes smart decisions and Colt’s been ready to play all year.”

Ball Hawks: The Browns’ defense forced 8 turnovers Sunday afternoon – 5 fumbles and 3 interceptions.

“Everybody was out there just trying to make plays and we knew how they run the ball,” defensive tackle Phil Taylor, who recorded a sack and recovered a fumble said. “They keep the ball out, so we were just trying to strip the ball.”

Safety T.J. Ward forced 2 fumbles to become the first Brown to do that in a game since defensive back Chris Crocker did it Oct. 9, 2005 against Chicago.

After forcing just 18 turnovers a season ago, the Browns’ D has forced the opposition to cough it up 25 times in 11 games.

Cornerback Joe Haden, who came away with his team-leading 3rd interception of the season, sees it starting to come together on his side of the ball.

“We have really talented players that are starting to develop and everybody understands their role and they play their roles really well,” Haden said. “I think that the defense sometimes might be giving up stuff, but as a whole, our defense really steps up and makes plays.

“This game was something that at the end we always do well the first three, or we do good in two quarters. But this game we played a full four quarters.”

The last time the Browns came away with 8 turnovers in a game was also against the Steelers on Sept. 10, 1989 – a 51-0 blowout in the season opener.

Stopping The Run: Aside from creating turnovers, the other impressive facet of the defense was the run defense.

With 3rd-string quarterback Charlie Batch starting, it was clear Pittsburgh wanted to run the ball – a fact the defensive line was well aware of and took very personally.

“They were going to come in and run the ball anyway,” Taylor said. “They had Charlie Batch starting. I mean, he can still throw the ball, but we knew that they were coming in the run so we knew we had to ball our fists up and go out there and play.”

4 Steelers running backs combined to net 49 yards on the ground and they coughed up the football 5 times.

“Upfront we had to show up and we did,” defensive end Jabaal Sheard said. “Everybody showed up in the box and stopped the run. That was the biggest part. Once you stop the run and get them in third and long then you can just go get him and our db’s were great tonight too once we got them in third and long.”

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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