Blown Opportunities Result in 16-13 Overtime Loss

Although no helmet-throwing was involved, the Browns managed to lose a game they could have won to the Pittsburgh Steelers. After missing a potentially game-winning field goal, the Browns allowed ex-XFL quarterback Tommy Maddox to conduct a game-winning drive to defeat the Browns 16-13.

With four minutes left, the Browns led the Steelers 13-6, and had forced the Steelers to insert retread quarterback Tommy Maddox in for an ineffective Kordell Stewart.

With two minutes left, the Browns had an opportunity to drive for a game winning field goal.

In Overtime, the Browns' Andra Davis intercepted a Maddox pass, yielding a chance to win the game with a 44-yard field goal.

In Overtime, Plaxico Burress fumbled a pass near mid-field.

In Overtime, the Browns blocked the Steelers field goal attempt.

In short, the Browns had a number of opportunities to defeat the Steelers, but simply failed to do so.

With the Browns failing to capitalize, the Steelers eventually managed to defeat the Browns in overtime as rookie kicker Todd Peterson booted a short second-chance field goal through the uprights. With the field goal, witnessed by a jubilant Heinz Field crowd, the Pittsburgh squad crept to a half-game of the 2-2 Browns in the AFC North.

The teams exchanged field goals in the first half, as neither team was able to convert opportunities in the red zone. The Steelers came closests, as Jerome Bettis nearly scored on a three-yard run. Browns head coach Butch Davis challenged the touchdown call by the officials, however, and the Steelers wound up settling for a field goal.

Cleveland's first and only touchdown came in the fourth quarter, following a blocked Steeler punt which gave the Browns possession on the Steeler 48-yard line. The Browns drove down the field, keyed by a 15-yard Couch-to-Northcutt pass, eventually scoring as Jamel White raced untouched for a touchdown from the Steeler five yard line as the fourth quarter began.

Following an exchange of punts, Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher inserted journeyman QB Tommy Maddox in for a mistake-prone Kordell Stewart. With his drop-back style operating within a no-huddle offense, the loosely playing Browns defense quick found itself on its heels as Maddox completed an efficient 7-play, 77-yard touchdown drive to tie the score.

After neither team was able to score in regulation, the Maddox promptly threw an ill-advised pass intercepted by rookie LB Andra Davis. With the ball on the Steelers 34, the Browns moved the ball eight yards to set up a game-winning 44-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. On the field goal attempt, however, the ball appeared to graze the helmet of a Steeler defender. The resulting kick bounced off the left cross-bar and gave the Steelers new life.

Taking advantage of the opportunity, the Steelers marched 67 yards behind Maddox against a depleted Cleveland Browns secondary. On third down, a Steeler field goal attempt was blocked, but the Pittsburgh squad retained possession, setting up the final 31-yard field goal by Peterson.

The final score ruined a strong performance by starting running back Jamel White, who gained 105 yards on sixteen attempts. Conversly, the Browns defense, led by Orpheus Roye and Gerard Warren, effectively neutralized the Steelers running game. No Steelers running back gained more than 30 yards.

Tim Couch and the Browns attempt to spread the field was less effective than expected against the Steelers, who had two weeks to prepare for the game. Couch wound up with 16 completions on 24 attempts for 144 yards. Couch didn't not complete a touchdown pass, and had two interceptions.

Look for more game analysis this evening on Bernie's Insiders!

- AB


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