OFFENSE VANISHES IN 15-12 OVERTIME LOSS

There are no moral victories in the NFL. The Browns played another tough game, only to fail when it mattered most.

CLEVELAND, Ohio: The Browns knew that they had to stop Jerome Bettis. They couldn't. They didn't think Kordell Stewart could beat them alone, he didn't have to.

Jerome Betts rushed for 163 yards, Kordell Stewart passed for 188 yards and rushed for65 yards in defeating the Browns 15-12 in overtime, Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

After missing a potential game-winning 45-yard field goal with 1:40 remaining in the game, Kris Brown nailed a 32-yard field goal, 5:22 into the overtime session to send the Browns to yet another tumbling defeat.

Unable to match the strength of the Steelers at the line of scrimmage, the Browns were fortunate to be in the position to battle for the victory late in the game.

Dominated statistically in net-yardage, 428-186, of which 247 of those were rushing yards and losing the time of possession battle, 35:59 to 29:23, the Browns defense held-up, but in the end couldn't let the air out of the bus' tires.

The effort of this Browns team was again what Browns fans have become accustomed to. The defense keeps the team in the game, but wears down due to the inability of the offense to move the football with any consistency.

The Steelers moved the ball at will against the Browns defense after struggling to gain one-yard with their intial two series of the game.

Following a Chris Gardocki punt touched down at the Pittsburgh one-yard line, defensive lineman Orpheus Roye would jump-start the Browns.

Roye tackled Bettis in the endzone for a safety and the Browns were up 2-0 with 8:45 remaining in the first quarter.

The ensuing free-kick was returned to the Steelers 49-yard line by Dennis Northcutt, the Browns were excellent field position,

Led by another solid effort from Tim Couch (18-33 for 160 yards and one touchdown) the Browns took a 9-0 lead on Couch to Santiago touchdown pass covering 12-yards with 6:43 remaining in the first quarter.

Looking comfortable, the Browns offense moved the ball well, little did they realize that the Steelers would dominate play from this point of the game forward.

Missed opportunities marred the Steelers offense throughout the game, held to three field-goals by a tough and determined Browns defense.

In what could have been a turning point in the game, the Browns came up big when the Steelers managed their biggest threat of the game.

Following a 62-yard Stewart pass completion to Amos Zereoue, the Steelers had the ball first and goal at the Browns two yard line.

From the two yard line, Stewart rolled out and raced Browns defensive end Tyrone Rogers to the endzone. Rogers knocked the ball from Stewart, through the endzone for a touchback.

The Browns dodged a bullet abd regained possession of the ball on the 20 yard line, still in front of the Steelers 12-9.

Unable tp move the ball, the Browns were forced to punt and the Steelers wasted little time in tying the game.

Covering 39 yards in eight plays, the Steelers knotted the game at 12-12 on a Brown field-goal from 32-yards out.

The relentless Pittsburgh defense went into attack mode, pressuring and sacking almost at will, forcing the Browns to punt on every series in the fourth quarter, while allowing three first downs to the Browns.

Taking the ball from their 41-yard line, the Steelers drove to the Browns 27-yard line before Brown missed a 44-yard field goal with 1:40 remaining in the game.

Given new life following the miss, the Browns had 1:37 to generate a game-wining drive against a very good Steelers defense.

Moving the ball from the Cleveland 35-yard line to the Pittsburgh 48-yard line, the Browns were in position to get into field-goal range.

Sacks on consecutive plays by rookie defensive tackle Casey Hampton ( 4 tackles, 1 sack) and defensive end Jason Gildon (7 tackles, 3.5 sacks) squashed thoughts of a Browns victory in regulation.

The Browns offense would never see the ball again.

Pittsburgh won the toss and elected to receive to start the extra session. One the first play of overtime, Bettis rumbled for 27-yards and the Steelers were off to the races.

Bettis carried the Steelers on their final drive, seven attempts for 48-yards, the last being a one-yard run to the Browns 14-yard line that setup the game winning kick.


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