Browns-Steelers: Report Card

If you lose 41-0 at home to your biggest rival, you know what's coming on Tuesday. Is a grade of "G" available?

The Browns embarrassed themselves in the 15th game of the season.

Their 41-0 loss was shameful, and reminiscent of the 1999 expansion season when Pittsburgh beat the Browns 43-0 in the season opener.

Seven years later, the Browns had cut the margin by two points.

The Browns were outgained 196-1 in the first quarter -- a margin that has to be historic. They also could have lost by more than 41 had two fumbles not been recovered by Cleveland.

The Browns did not hide from the loss, with coach Romeo Crennel saying there were no excuses and players calling it embarrassing.

The Browns said they had one more chance to end on a positive note, but it's hard to envision the putrid defeat not being the game that defines the season.

Cleveland has a long, long way to go before it can think about challenging in its division.

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Charlie Frye never had time to throw, so coach Romeo Crennel said it wouldn't have mattered who played quarterback. Pittsburgh's mix of blitzes and rushes confused Frye, who was sacked eight times. He fumbled four times, losing one. There were dropped passes and "hot" routes not noticed. There were no big plays. This was a brutal day.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- Ten carries, 36 yards for Reuben Droughns. Fifty-five yards as a team for Cleveland. That wasn't a rushing offense. It was an offense that was overmatched in every way when it tried to run the ball.

PASSING DEFENSE: F -- The Browns hadn't given up many big plays this season, but they all seemed to come against Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger completed 13 of 20 for 226 yards and a touchdown. He completed throws of 32, 46, 21 and 20 yards. And when Roethlisberger went out, Charlie Batch threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Morgan. The Browns' effort and performance was pitiful.

RUSHING DEFENSE: F -- Willie Parker had 130 yards by the early stages of the third quarter. He was untouched on an 80-yard touchdown run. Verron Haynes, a fourth-string back, averaged 5.7 yards on his 10 carries. Jerome Bettis carried LB Ben Taylor 4 yards into the end zone. It was a pitiful performance by Cleveland.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- Kyle Richardson had a punt blocked, and Antwaan Randle El almost returned another punt for a touchdown. The Steelers' kickoff coverage almost knocked Joshua Cribbs to Youngstown on some of the tackles. Like every other phase of the game, the Steelers dominated.

COACHING: F -- Crennel admitted it: When a team loses that bad, everyone accepts responsibility. The Browns never seemed to be into the game, which is baffling given the alleged rivalry between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Evidence: Hines Ward fought through three Browns tacklers to make a first down after being hit 3 yards shy. No team that is ready and prepares allows that to happen. The Browns left the field with shame on their faces, and the coaches had plenty of it.

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