The Pittsburgh Steelers put a stamp of ownership on the AFC North this afternoon with a strong performance at Cleveland Browns Stadium. RB Amos Zereoue, starting in place of the injured Jerome Bettis, rambled for 111 yards, much of it late against a tired Browns defense, and Tommy Maddox threw for 239 yards against a depleted Browns secondary.
The Browns were again unable to mount a consistently effective offensive attack, with the team again having a horrible showing on the ground. The Browns managed only 36 yards rushing on the day, which would indicate a terrific job by the Pittsburgh defense if it wasn't a rather typical performance by the team in 2002. The Browns starting running back, Jamel White, left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.
The Browns offensive showing certainly was the key element in their defeat today, but the team also found itself hammered by penalties all game long. The Browns were penalized eleven times for eighty five yards in contrast to three penalties for a mere twenty-one yards for the Steelers. Heavy-handed officiating, particularly in the games closing moments, left the Browns faithful in the Stadium in a sour mood.
Also souring the day were Steeler fans, again present in force throughout Cleveland Browns Stadium, many of whom elected to chant various slogans through a moment of silence for late Browns owner Al Lerner.
It was a disappointing day for the Browns, who started with hopes of ascending to first place in the AFC North. The Browns now have a bye week before they return to action November 14th in Cincinnati against the Bengals.