Every dawg has his day

The Cleveland Browns and their fans can tell you all about hard times. But few can bounce back as well and as often as Butch Davis' new brand of Kardiac Kids. Just when you think they are down and out, this time after a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Cleveland, they come back and completely whip the Pittsburgh Steelers, 33-13, in Pittsburgh.

All is right in Cleveland tonight, just as all is right in Chicago after the Cubs beat the Braves, with the Cleveland Browns staking claim to a season-satisfying victory over the suddenly hapless Pittsburgh Steelers.

QB Tim Couch looked flawless, going 20 for 25, 207 yards and 2 TDs. Couch also ran for a score, the Browns' first rushing TD of the season. The Steelers chose to blitz Couch, but the Browns' much-maligned offense line picked it up. Couch easily picked apart the overmatched Steelers secondary.

The other quarterback, Tommy Maddox, didn't even finish the game, throwing two interceptions, another one going the other way for six courtesy of Daylon McCutcheon, and fumbling once. Maddox weathered bad games before, but few fans of the Black and Gold will forgive this one.

If the Steelers couldn't get any pressure on Couch, the Browns had no problem getting in the face of Maddox. Sometimes only rushing 3 or 4 players, the Browns created havoc in the Steelers backfield while blanketing the receivers down the field. Even if Maddox did escape the rush, there often wasn't a player to throw to, at least wearing a black jersey.

The only thing that looked right in Pittsburgh was the Steelers run defense, but even that fell apart towards the end of the game, with RB William Green amassing 115 yards on 33 carries.

The lone bright spot for the Steelers might have been the spirited play of Hines Ward. But there are not enough Wards to go around for the Steelers and the mistakes piled up one after another on Sunday night.

The Steelers are 4th and 2 and sniffing the end zone and deciding to go for it and get back in the game. Instead, a false start by Plaxico Burress kills that idea and the Steelers once again settle for 3 instead of 7.

Then there is the 3rd and 1 on the Browns' side of the field and the Steeler pitch to Amos, playing to the strength of a fast Cleveland defense. The ESPN camera flashes to the sidelines before the play fails, showing Antwaan Randle El and Hines Ward standing on the sidelines. The Steelers don't have many money players, at least it looks that way now, but what few they have should not be on the sidelines during crucial plays.

You have the off sides by the kickoff return team that gives Andre Davis another chance, and he responds with a big return, putting the Browns in scoring range. Then there is the punt return by Randle El for a touchdown that is called back thanks to a holding penalty by Clark Haggans.

But even without those mistakes, the Steelers simply were not good enough to beat the Browns. Butch Davis had his team fired up, after the rumors this week floating around Cleveland that Davis was losing this team, and better prepared to play. If Cleveland had any weaknesses, the Steelers could not exploit them.

The Steelers have long been the team that many have admired and tried to imitate. Now, Bill Cowher looks like a dinosaur, flailing to catch up with the times. Meanwhile, the parts of the game in Pittsburgh that you could count on, such as strong play on special teams and a dominating offensive line, have evaporated.

Hines Ward, playing his typically tough and spirited game, looked like a relic out there. He didn't even recognize his team.

Now Cowher, Ward, and the rest of the Steelers need to grab a page from the book of Butch Davis. There were plenty of Browns fans giving up after a humiliating loss to the Bengals in Cleveland. Now the Steelers are hanging their head in shame after losing to the Browns in Pittsburgh.

All is not lost and the season is not over. The Browns never quit and now the Steelers and their fans will find out if they can follow in Cleveland's footsteps.

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