Browns Frozen Out in Pittsburgh

The Browns most recent opportunity on the national stage wound up like many of the others, with the team blown out against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fred Greetham documents the horror witnessed by those people unfortunate enough to have access to the NFL Network this evening...

They might not get invited back for awhile.

The Browns had their first chance to play in front of a prime time national television audience and didn't make a very good showing as the Steelers pounded the Browns 27-7.

The Browns record dropped to 4-9 and 0-5 in the division. Meanwhile, the Steelers improved to 6-7.

Looking at the bright side—at least it wasn't 41-0.

The story of the game was the Browns couldn't stop Willie Parker and the Steelers running game on frozen Heinz Field. Parker had 114 yards in the first half and finished with 223 yards, including a touchdown. Parker set a franchise record previously set by Frenchy Fuqua. The Steelers combined for 305 yards rushing to the Browns' 18. The Steelers had over 500 yards on offense.

The Browns found themselves down in a similar fashion to last week early in the second half against the Chiefs when they were down by two touchdowns and Derek Anderson rallied the offense for an overtime win.

Not this time.

The Steelers got on the board first as they drove 97 yards on eight plays in the first quarter after Dave Zastudil punted the ball to the Steelers' three. After a steady diet of Parker running the ball, Ben Roethlisberger hit Nate Washington as he beat Leigh Bodden for a 49-yard touchdown to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead with 3:18 to go in the first quarter.

The Steelers added to their lead in the second quarter as Jeff Reed kicked a 23-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 9:15 left in the period. The Steelers went 83 yards on 15 plays for the score.

Just prior to the half, Phil Dawson missed a 40-yard field with three seconds to play as he hooked it just left. The Browns had their best drive of the first half as they moved to the Steelers' 23 but the Steelers took a 10-0 lead into the half.

The Steelers added to their lead in the third quarter with another long drive of 91 yards to make it 17-0 with 5:32 to play. Roethlisberger ran a bootleg around left end from two yards out. The Steelers took 7:29 off the clock on the drive.

Parker scored his first touchdown to make it 24-0 late in the third quarter and the Steelers added another field goal by Reed to make it 27-0.

The Browns avoided the shutout with 5:20 to play in the game as Anderson hit Braylon Edwards on a slant for a 45-yard touchdown on fourth-and-3.


No Running Game: The Browns had just 13 rushing yards on seven carries in the first half and it wasn't much better in the second half as they finished with just 18 yards. RB Reuben Droughns had just six yards on five carries. Meanwhile for the Steelers, RB Willie Parker had 18 carries for 114 yards in the first half and finished with 32 carries for 223 yards, including a touchdown.

AFC North Blues: The Browns are 0-5 now in the AFC North with next week's game at Baltimore the only division game left. The Browns have not gone 0-6 since they returned in 1999 within the division. Romeo Crennel's record within the division is 1-10 in his two year tenure with the Browns.

Big Play: RB Willie Parker had a 20-yard run, but was hit by CB Leigh Bodden from behind jarring the ball loose and LB Kamerion Wimbley recovered it. The Browns gave it right back as QB Derek Anderson fumbled as he ran up the middle on a third-and-3 play with 5:37 to play in the first half at the Browns' 48.

Big Block: The Browns blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt by K Jeff Reed. DL Alvin McKinley got his hand up and knocked it down. The block came after QB Derek Anderson fumbled the ball.

Sack-less: The Browns had no sacks against the Steelers. On the other side, the Browns held the blitz-happy Steelers to no sacks.

Too Many Drops: QB Derek Anderson didn't have a lot of help from his receivers as there were about a half a dozen balls dropped. WR Dennis Northcutt dropped a swing pass that should've been a big play and then couldn't hang on to a ball in the second quarter. WR Braylon Edwards had at least two balls he couldn't hang on to.

Anderson's Debut: QB Derek Anderson made his first NFL start against the Steelers. Anderson hit his first four passes for 40 yards, including two to WR Joe Jurevicius for 34 yards. Anderson was 14-of-24 for 147 yards in the first half and finished 21–of-37 for 276 yards, including a touchdown and an interception.

Say It's So Joe: WR Joe Jurevicius had four receptions for 70 yards in the first half and finished with seven catches for 111 yards.

Ward, Polamalu Out: WR Hines Ward and S Troy Polamalu missed the game with injuries. QB Charlie Frye was the third quarterback for the Browns.

Chipmunk Line: The Browns starters on the defensive line could be called the ‘Chipmunks' as ALVIN McKinley, SIMON Fraser and THEODORE (Ted) Washington were the starters. Fraser started in place of Orpheus Roye. Washington started his 200th NFL game.

Zastudil Delivers: P Dave Zastudil continued to pin the opponents inside the ten-yard line. His first punt was downed at the Steelers' three. Zastudil was shaken up after he was hit after his second punt. The Browns picked up a first down after the penalty.

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