Browns-Steelers: Game Notes

Tidbits, items, and various other portents of doom from Cleveland Browns Stadium...

Worth Quoting

"We were expecting a lot more. We dug ourselves a tremendous hole and in the NFL, when you dig yourself a hole, it's hard to get out. We weren't able to come out of it at all. That's why it ended up the way it did." Romeo Crennel on the opening loss.

"This is the NFL and you never know what's going to happen. You're playing with the best, it's what you do. We felt we would play a lot better going in, but we turned the ball over, put the defense in a short field and then finally they wore down. The guys could have played a lot better. When that happens and you are playing a good football team, you're going to lose." Crennel on the bad first quarter.

"Well, they both need to play better and I don't know yet. We have to go back and look at it and evaluate it." Crennel on who will be next week's quarterback.

"The defense is supposed to bend, not break. Even though we were put in those positions, during the preseason we turned those into field goals and that's what we have to do in the regular season." LB Antwan Peek on the bad field positon.

"We dug ourselves a hole real quick versus a good team like Pittsburgh and it's tough to dig back out. We never got the momentum back on our side. We didn't give up at all, and we never got anything going. We killed ourselves tonight, so we need to go back and work hard this week and get back out there Sunday." Hank Fraley on the loss.

"Well, I did some good things, but obviously I made some mistakes. It was not the way to start the season. I thought I did a pretty good job in preparation. I knew everything pretty well, but I have to execute the throws. Overall, it just wasn't good." QB Derek Anderson on his performance.


Mistakes, Mistakes: The Browns made many mistakes that contributed to the loss. The Browns turned the ball over five times, they had six penalties for 51 yards and allowed six sacks. Add a botched punt and that is a formula for a 34-7 loss. The Browns lost the turnover battle 5-1, as they fumbled three times and had two interceptions.

For Starters: The Browns received the opening kickoff and started at their own 20. RB Jamal Lewis rushed for three yards and then they had an incomplete pass to WR Joe Jurevicius. QB Charlie Frye was sacked on third down forcing the Browns to punt. DE Aaron Smith ran over RT Kevin Shaffer for the sack.

Switch to Anderson: The Browns switched to QB Derek Anderson with 6:34 to play in the first half. Charlie Frye started and was 4–of-10 for 34 yards but was intercepted and sacked five times. His QB rating was 10. Frye's first completion was to TE Kellen Winslow for a first down for 15 yards. The Browns had moved to Steelers' territory but after Jurevicius caught a pass for an apparent first down, Winslow was called for offensive pass interference and Frye was sacked for the second time in the first quarter. Frye was sacked on third-and-two for the third time. He was sacked five times in the first half. Anderson moved the ball on his first series at quarterback to the Steelers' 40 before stalling. Anderson was stripped of the ball by DB Ryan Clark and it was recovered by DE Aaron Smith. Clark's sack was the sixth of the first half. Anderson was 3-of-7 for 34 yards and a sack on his first series and 4-of-10 for 34 yards in the first half. His QB rating for the first half was 41.2 and he finished with a rating of 65.2. He was 13-of-28 for 184 yards with one touchdown and one sack. In contrast, Roethlisberger's QB rating was 114.3 as he threw four touchdowns to four different receivers.

Good Start for Coach: Rookie head coach Mike Tomblin won his first game as a NFL head coach. He was defensive coordinator with the Vikings last season.

Slow Day for Jamal: RB Jamal Lewis finished with just 35 yards on 11 carries (3.2 avg.). His longest run of the game was just seven yards.  The Browns wanted to rush the ball but were able to gain just 46 yards on 16 rushes for a paltry average of 2.9 yards.

Nice Start for K2: One of the few bright spots for the Browns was TE Kellen Winslow, who caught four passes for 83 yards in the season opener. He had a 30-yard catch and a 20-yarder. Winslow had eleven 20-plus yard receptions in 2006, fourth best amongst NFL tight ends.

Bad One For Braylon: WR Braylon Edwards caught three passes for 49 yards, but he fumbled the ball to the Steelers after his second reception, a 21-yarder. All but nine of his yards came in the final moments when the Browns were down by 27 points.  

Return of Big O: DL Orpheus Roye returned and had six tackles. Roye had missed the majority of the preseason after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee. LB D'Qwell Jackson led the team with seven tackles.

First Time: FB Lawrence Vickers scored his first NFL touchdown as he caught a one-yard pass from Anderson in the third quarter. It was also the first touchdown of the season for the Browns.

A Bright Peek: LB Antwan Peek had the first sack of the season for the Browns. He also recovered a fumble and batted down a pass. Officially, the sack was credited as a half between Peek and LB Chaun Thompson. He finished with three tackles.

Slowing Willie: RB Willie Parker had 223 yards in the second game against the Browns in 2006. The Browns held him to 43 yards on 11 carries in the first half, but he had 47 yards in the third quarter and finished with 109 yards on 27 carries.

Holly Down: DB Daven Holly was injured in the third quarter trying to make a tackle on RB Najeh Davenport. He suffered a concussion and missed the remainder of the game.

Tough Field Position for D: The Steelers started in Browns' territory four times in the first half and scored 17 points as a result of the good field position. For the game, the Steelers average starting point was their own 47. Meanwhile, the Browns average starting point was their own 20.

Fumble Man: S Sean Jones caused a fumble by RB Willie Parker and LB Antwan Peek recovered at the Browns' 26 to stop on drive.

Carter Sighting: WR Tim Carter was the third wide receiver and he dropped the first ball thrown to him. Anderson hit him in the third quarter for a 22-yard pickup.  

Bad Start: P Paul Ernster made an immediate impact after joining the Browns on Saturday. He fumbled the snap on the Browns opening punt and got off a 15 yard punt. A penalty gave the Steelers the ball on the Browns' 22. The miscue set up a touchdown for the Steelers and a quick 7-0 lead. Ernster finished with seven punts for a 36.6 average, including a long of 43 yards and two inside the 20.

Inactives: The Browns inactives was made up of: P Dave Zastudil, DB Gary Baxter, FB Charles Ali, LB Willie McGinest, OL Isaac Sowells, OL Kelly Butler and WR Travis Wilson. Brady Quinn was the third quarterback meaning he could only play if Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson go down with injuries. Zastudil was made inactive with a back injury and replaced by P Paul Ernster, who was signed on Saturday. Ernster punted last year for the Broncos. To make room for Ernster, the Browns waived DB Jereme Perry. Zastudil was the holder for K Phil Dawson and Ernster assumed those duties. For the Steelers: WR Willie Reid, CB Ricardo Colclough, RB Gary Russell, LB Marquis Cooper, OL Darnell Stapleton, OT Trai Essex, LB Arnold Harrison and third QB Brian St. Pierre. Carey Davis started at FB for Dan Kreider.

Hickerson Honored: The Browns honored Gene Hickerson for being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. Hickerson was wheeled onto the field by his son and he received his Hall of Fame ring. Hickerson was wearing his gold Hall of Fame blazer.Former teammates Dick Schafrath and Paul Warfield were with him on the sideline during the pregame. Joe "Turkey" Jones was a visitor in the press box before the game. He was best known for tossing Steelers' QB Terry Bradshaw upside down on his head in the 1970s.

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