Browns & Steelers Notes

A quick peek at both sides of this weekend's Rust Belt clash

CLEVELAND BROWNS

HOT TOPIC

Braylon Edwards will never be known as shy.

Edwards had a message for the Pittsburgh Steelers in light of Pittsburgh's 41-0 drubbing of Cleveland last Christmas Eve.

"We're coming after their ass," Edwards said.

He said this even though he did not play in the 41-0 loss. Edwards had already hurt his knee and was done for the season. He did watch with his family at home, though.

"This is not a situation where they say the past is the past," Edwards said. "No. The hell with that."

Surely the Steelers will notice Edwards' remarks, but he didn't seem to care.

"We're coming after their ass," he said. "You don't beat somebody 41-0 at their own house. We're coming for the Steelers. Point-blank, period."

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Charlie Frye had his best rating of the season - and for the first time was over 100. He also had his first game without an interception, which is key to his success.

--RB Reuben Droughns continues to average just more than 3 yards per carry. Droughns' 472 yards have him looking like back content that he earned a big contract last season.

--WR Braylon Edwards got his third touchdown of the season, but his 33 catches are fewer than one would expect from the third overall pick in the draft - especially one who talks as good a game as Edwards does.

--WR Joe Jurevicius is in the starting lineup, but not exactly a prime target of Charlie Frye. Two of his receptions in Atlanta were passes where Frye threw to Jurevicius at the line. This is a curious decision given Jurevicius is not known for elusiveness or speed.

--TE Kellen Winslow is solidifying his status as a potential Pro Bowl player. Winslow's fourth quarter catch was one for the highlight reels, a catch not many players can make.

--S Sean Jones has five interceptions, which ranks second in the league behind Rashean Mathis, who has six. Jones has come from nowhere to be a defensive leader this season.

--DE Orpheus Roye was flagged for a personal foul in Atlanta, but said the referee later admitted it was a bad call. Roye was victimized by perception. It appeared he hit Mike Vick in the head with a forearm, but did nothing more than fall on Vick as he was falling.

--LB Andra Davis had his best game as a Brown, with nine tackles and several pressures of Mike Vick. Davis has good games when the defensive line in front of him plays well, and that was the case in Atlanta.

--WR Dennis Northcutt actually lined up in the backfield and ran a draw play against Atlanta. That's the first sign the Browns are starting to recognize Northcutt's versatility. He's been a lost player in Romeo Crennel's tenure.

--PK Phil Dawson remains as dependable as ever. Dawson has made 15-of-17 field goals, and missed only one less than 40 yards. When he lines up to kick the points are virtually certain.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

HOT TOPIC

Troy Polamalu is in jeopardy of missing his first game since he took over as the starting strong safety in 2004 and changed how the Steelers play defense.

Polamalu is questionable with a concussion he received while tackling Reggie Bush in Sunday's second series. He remained in the game for the series because no one realized he had a concussion. He was pulled from the game for good when he came to the sideline.

Polamalu has made each of the past two Pro Bowls playing the position like no one has played it before him. He lines up everywhere, often jumping to another position as the ball is snapped. He leads the Steelers with three interceptions.

Pittsburgh can't afford to lose good players on defense because they've allowed 62 points in the past two games and allowed 614 net passing yards during that time. Starting cornerback Deshea Townsend, who also left the game with a concussion, is listed as questionable this week too with an ankle injury.

"I'm concerned about it. I don't like it," coach Bill Cowher said of the points allowed the past two games. "Some of it has been field position. Some of it has been that we have to do a better job in the red zone holding people to field goals instead of touchdowns. I have a lot of confidence that we'll be able to do that ... but we've given up way too many points."

They have not put much pressure on the quarterback lately either. Sandwiched around a six-sack game in Oakland are four games in which they managed just one sack in each.

"We had some breakdowns," Cowher said of the play on defense in their 38-31 victory against New Orleans Sunday. "We had some third downs of nine or 10 that you have to get off the field on.

"One time we had a blitz coming, Drew (Brees) did a good job of recognizing it - we didn't hold the disguise long enough -- he slid the protection over there and they picked it up and hit the in-cut on the backside."

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Ben Roethlisberger has a 101.4 passer rating in his past five games, when he has thrown for 1,474 yards, 10 touchdowns, seven interceptions and completed 70 percent.

--RB Willie Parker is fourth in the NFL with 847 yards rushing and his eight TD runs are twice what he had last season. He's also converted four of five chances on third-and-one.

--TE Heath Miller scored his third touchdown of the season and has moved into fourth among Steelers receivers with 22 receptions.

--WR Cedrick Wilson scored his first touchdown in the regular season with the Steelers, from 38 yards. He continues to hold off rookie Santonio Holmes as the starting split end.

--WR Hines Ward's six touchdown catches are tied for first among AFC receivers. He's caught 28 of his 46 receptions in the pat four games.

--FS Ryan Clark recovered two fumbles Sunday, giving him the team lead. He's also third on the club with 55 tackles.

--CB Ike Taylor has 12 passes defensed to again hold the team lead. It's an indication how often teams are throwing at him and also how often he's covered the opponent's best receiver.

--LB James Harrison's status has improved for the first time in six weeks. He missed the past five games with a high ankle sprain and is listed as doubtful this week.

--PR Willie Reid will miss his sixth consecutive game with a mid-foot sprain. The rookie has played in just one game.

--C Jeff Hartings, who missed the past two games with a knee injury, improved to questionable on the Steelers' injury list this week.

--FB Dan Kreider, the only pure fullback on the roster, is listed as questionable with a hip injury. If he could not go, RB John Kuhn likely would replace him.


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