Dave Burkey on the Browns

There's nothing like a Browns-Steelers matchup. It's a unique entity
unto it's wn.

     The emotion, the intensity,the rivalry...

     Thanks to Bernie Kosar and others, the at one time seemingly never
ending Three Rivers jinx was finally ended. It proved that superior players
triumph over other great players, regardless of stadium, drinking water, or
uniform colors.

     Now, the House of Horrors is no more, with pieces of it buried here,
there and everywhere. No more jinxes, just plain old-fashioned rock'em
sock'em smash-mouth football between two teams from blue-collar towns.

     Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw, Lambert and Mean Joe Greene are long in
the past, yet, the rivalry is the same. Like an Ohio State-Michigan game.
Another Browns-Steelers matchup with plenty on the line.

     Ironically, both clubs are coming off bitter losses last Sunday, the
Steelers tough loss to the Ravens, and the Browns' horror story in Chicago.
And make no mistake, it was a real horror story in Chicago.    Twenty-eight
seconds worth of it.

     In fact, it's still rather hard to fathom that the Browns actually lost
that game.

     It defies description.

     The Browns failed to deliver the knockout punch that would have iced
the victory. It was a game they obviously thought they had won, but they
turned out to be sadly mistaken.

     Coaches and players alike share the blame for a loss that never should
have been.

     Can the Browns put it behind them and stop the Steelers' bus in
Cleveland, despite the loss of Keith Mc Kenzie for the season and injuries
to both Wali Rainer and Corey Fuller ?

     It's now a near must-win situation if the guys with the orange helmets
expect to maintain dreams of a playoff berth. And while the key to victory
may be stopping "The Bus", Jerome Bettis, the Browns had better be prepared
for the runninng and passing of Kordell Stewart, as well as a group of
dangerous receivers.

     They might very well need a repeat performance of Courtney Brown's
dominance against the Bears.

     If Wali Rainer is unable to make the call in the middle, there will be
added pressure on both Jamir Miller and Dwayne Rudd to take up the slack,
something they are both capable of doing.

     Which Browns offense is going to show up on Sunday, the inconsistent
group who struggled mightily against the Bengals and Seahawks, or the
big-play steady unit which manhandled the feared Ravens ?

     The Browns have got to be able to throw the ball with some consistency
against a tough, physical Steelers defense. However, they are not facing the
"Steel Curtain".

     If they are fortunate enough to have the lead late in the game this
week, the Browns had better pack a knockout punch or two to finish the job.


     E-mail :
daveywriter@hotmail.com

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