Browns-Steelers Game Notebook

Mike brings us news from the locker room and the record books

CLEVELAND - At least the Browns defense showed up to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In what might have been the defense's best showing of the season, it limited the Steelers to 168 yards of offense and 11 first downs. Pittsburgh quarterback Tommy Maddox completed nine of 24 passes for 73 yards, with just three of the receptions going to receivers Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress.

The 168 yards are the fewest allowed by the Browns this season and the fewest allowed since yielding 127 to New Orleans in 1993.

It would have been easy for defensive players to play the blame game and single out the offense's lack of production. That probably wouldn't have bothered offensive tackle Ryan Tucker.

"We get down to the red zone and stutter," Tucker said. "You can't beat a high school team with five turnovers in the red zone. We can't put our defense in that situation. It's on us. Obviously, there's an awful lot of room for us to improve."

Browns cornerbacks Daylon McCutcheon was one of several defensive players that stood out. He played a big role in limiting Ward to one reception for 13 yards.

"There are no moral victories for me," McCutcheon said. "I'm not walking away from this game feeling any better. We lost. The only statistics that mean anything to me are wins and losses.

"I just want to win games. I'm tired of losing. It's frustrating going out there and losing football games."

At 4-7, the Browns are remarkably still alive in the race for the AFC North Division title. They trail division co-leaders Baltimore and Cincinnati by two games.

"Like coach (Butch) Davis, until the league calls us and says you guys are out, we're going to keep battling and try to find a way to win," Tucker said. "That's what we're paid to be here for is to believe and think we can win games. No one is throwing in the towel here. If they do, they don't need to be here."

COSTLY MISCUES: One of James Jackson's two fumbles came when he failed to pull in a handoff from Kelly Holcomb.

"I was expecting him to cut back in," Holcomb said. "Obviously, someone showed up and he kind of stayed straight. I kind of double-clutched the ball. I thought he got it, but when I let it go I knew he hadn't. It was probably more my fault."

LOSING RECORDS: Holcomb completed his first three passes to go with 13 straight completions to end the game the previous week. The 16 straight completions tied the team record set by Bernie Kosar.

Kicker Phil Dawson made two field goals to move into first place on the Browns' career accuracy list at 81.55 percent (84 of 103). Matt Stover is second at 81.20 percent.

FAINE HURT: Browns center Jeff Faine left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury and didn't return. The team didn't announce results of X-rays. Melvin Fowler played in Faine's absence. Jackson left in the second quarter with an eye injury but returned in the third quarter. He said he was seeing triple.

The Browns opened in a three-receiver set. Dennis Northcutt joined Quincy Morgan and Andre Davis in the starting lineup.

Receiver Frisman Jackson was activated for the first time this season. Jackson broke a bone in a foot during the offseason. He opened the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Inactive for the Browns were cornerback Lewis Sanders; fullback R.J. Bowers; linebacker Ben Taylor; offensive linemen Chad Beasley and Enoch DeMar; and defensive linemen Felipe Claybrooks and Antonio Garay.

Out for the Steelers were running back Dante Brown; tight end Matt Cushing; offensive lineman Keydrick Vincent; defensive lineman Chris Hoke; receiver Freddie Milons; tight end Jay Riemersma, and linebacker Alonzo Jackson.

The OBR Top Stories