Johnson Girds for Steelers

Cleveland wide receiver Kevin Johnson continues to put up impressive numbers in his fifth season with the Browns despite their 1-3 start. In the recent loss to Cincinnati he caught five passes for 89 yards and passed Eric Metcalf (297) for seventh place on the all-time Browns receptions list (299).

The Browns face their arch-rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday night and are hoping they can put up the offensive numbers they did the last time they faced Pittsburgh in the playoffs last season. The Browns scorched the Steelers for 429 yards through the air in 36-33 loss on Jan. 5.

Johnson who caught four passes in that playoff game for 140 yards doesn't expect it to be that easy this time around.

"No, I don't think it will be that easy."

But the Browns will try to take the same approach that worked for them in January.

"We were just trying to take advantage of some of the things that they were giving us," Johnson stated. "We knew Chad Scott was out, and we just tried to take advantage of that opportunity. They are a great football team; let's take nothing away from those guys. We just saw some opportunities that we wanted to try to take advantage of."

The Browns who limp in at 1-3 are hoping for a different outcome against Pittsburgh (2-2), but the Steelers have had their way with the Browns lately.

"Pittsburgh has been one of those teams that have been a thorn in our side the last couple years," Johnson explained. "They beat us every single time. Hats off to those guys."

Johnson is looking for some answers to the Browns woes.

"Obviously, I feel that if we knew, we could fix the problem," Johnson said. "But, it is just one of those things where we all just have not been on the same page. We are still trying to find answers and hopefully we can find some this weekend."

There was a quarterback controversy in Cleveland during the preseason, before Kelly Holcomb won the job. Tim Couch will start this week because of Holcomb's injured ankle. Johnson doesn't think the quarterback controversy has had a lingering affect on the team or the offense.

"I don't think it hurt us as much because we are very familiar with both guys," Johnson explained. "I think it did nothing for us. We just know we have two quarterbacks who are very good and can win for us. I think we are in a situation right now where either guy can step in and play well for us. When you have that type of players at quarterback and that type of feeling and chemistry with both quarterbacks, you know you have a good team."

The rivalry with Pittsburgh moves center stage on Sunday night and Johnson considers the Steelers as the Browns chief rival.

"Yes, I think so, Johnson said. "I just think for us to play the playoff game last year and be up by 17 points in the fourth quarter and lose the game, it definitely hurt us. I think those guys have been a thorn in our side and we definitely feel that we match up with those guys very well. We just can't say that we beat those guys. It is just one of those things where it is a rival. You have to hand it to those guys. You have to beat them, and we have not beaten them yet."

The playoff loss stung Johnson and he is eager for another crack at Pittsburgh.

"Oh, definitely. It is on prime time. The whole country will be watching. It is a great opportunity for us to go out there and get a win."

The OBR Top Stories