Browns Report Card Vs. Steelers

I know, I know. If you're like me, you really don't want to revisit that mess last Sunday any more than you have to. For those who can't put it to rest, however, here is the report card on the sad and depraved affair, made available for your reminiscing and regret.

The Browns are putting a good face on their dwindling playoff hopes.

Sunday's 13-6 loss to Pittsburgh was disheartening, but in the pathetic AFC North the Browns are still alive. Barely.

Baltimore and Cincinnati are in first place at 6-5, and the Browns are two games back at 4-7.

"Until the league sends the letter saying 'You are absolutely out of this deal' we have five games left," Davis said. "We'll try to win all five, win nine games and see what happens."

It's a tall order.

The Browns' remaining schedule takes them to Seattle, Denver and Cincinnati and has home games against St. Louis and Baltimore.

Every one of those teams has a winning record.

"Hey, it's like Coach Davis said," offensive tackle Ryan Tucker said. "Until the league calls us and says we're out we're going to keep battling."


PASSING OFFENSE: D -- The Browns moved the ball fairly well, but when it counted most they struggled -- in the red zone. The Browns moved up and down the field, but threw an end zone interception and failed to score a touchdown on four tries inside the red zone. As Kelly Holcomb said, the Browns moved the ball well, but "What does it get you? It got us six points."

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Turnovers marred a good day, as James Jackson ran hard and well but lost two fumbles -- though Kelly Holcomb took the blame for one -- and Jamel White lost another. Pittsburgh scored all its 13 points off turnovers provided by Browns running backs.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- Tommy Maddox threw for all of 73 yards. That's 73, as in less than 100 -- and Pittsburgh won. There wasn't much more the Browns defense could have done, except win the game.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Pittsburgh never put together a sustained drive, but Jerome Bettis had some big runs. At times, Bettis looked like the bus of old.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- A holding penalty on Roosevelt Williams wiped out a punt return for a touchdown by Dennis Northcutt, and that turned out to be a crucial score. Had the Browns got that score the game might have been different. This was the kind of play the Browns have been hoping for all season -- and when they get it they get a penalty.

COACHING: D -- The Browns followed an uplifting win over Arizona with a lousy game against Pittsburgh. After scoring 44 points against the Cardinals, the Browns scored six against Pittsburgh, and four times failed to get in the end zone after moving inside the Steelers 20. This was not the way to follow up a big win, and it continued a frustrating trend for fans that has the Browns playing very inconsistent football.


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