Apparently, Bill Cowher got into the act by giving Stewart the ultimatum to limit mistakes or ride the pine.
This leaves me very nervous about the game. I never thought that the fate of a season would hang in the balance on Week 4, but should the Steelers lose this week to the Cleveland Browns, the following things will happen.
- Kordell Stewart will be benched: Tommy Maddox will start the rest of the season barring injury and Kordell Stewart will in all likelihood never play another meaningful snap for the Steelers again.
- The Season will be over: The Steelers would fall 3 ½ games behind the Browns heading into Week 5. Considering the upcoming schedule and the inability of this team to overcome adversity, I doubt that a wild card birth would be realistic goal.
- The Steelers will be labeled Chokers: A Pro Bowl quarterback, Pro Bowl linebacker, top tier Running Back, top 5 offensive line, and two 1,000-yard receivers and this team starts 0 – 3? GAHHHGGHHHGK!
However, if the Forces of Good prevail, all should be well in Steeler Country. This team would feel rejuvenated and refreshed when they visit New Orleans and, in all likelihood, pull out a win in the Bayou, riding the confidence that the victory over the Browns would bring. The faith of the masses would return and the road would once again be lined with Black and Gold.
On the surface, the Steelers can't stop the pass and the Browns can't stop the run. But when you look at the facts a little closer you will see that the Steelers did an admirable job in the second half against the Raiders and in the first half against the Patriots.
The Browns allowed Kansas City 194 yards of rushing and Cincinnati 156 yards but allowed Tennessee only 86 yards of rushing. Now I don't think Eddie George is 100% so I've got to believe the Browns of Weeks 1 and 2 are the real "Slim Shady."
Advantage: Steelers…I hope.
The Steelers continue to search for an identity when everyone else in Pittsburgh knows exactly how to make the attack prosper: Run The Bus. I'm assuming that Coach Cowher will cave in on his plans for an all-out air attack this year and go back to the tried and true strategy of running up the gut.
The Browns have had no problems scoring points in their first 3 games, but they seemed a little anemic until the last 3 minutes against the Titans. They also have two quarterbacks playing well right now in Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb.
Advantage: Until I see some points and consistency, the Brownies take the cake.
Kordell Stewart has looked fantastically putrid. He's put together all of 3½ quality drives in the first two games. Yet his completion percentage of 69.2 is just below last year's rate of 70.2. He's on pace though to throw 560 passes this year, smashing his career high of 458 in 1998. He's also thrown 4 interceptions to only 3 touchdowns. He could be worse. With the amount of times he's thrown, he should be worse, yet his numbers aren't all that bad. Can anyone say "Lame Duck"?
Tim Couch missed the first two games and responded in fashion by leading his team to a come from behind victory in Tennessee. His backup Kelly Holcomb shredded Kansas City and Cincinnati's defense - not exactly powerhouses - but he is a backup.
Whatever pressure either of these quarterbacks feel right now is conjecture, but every eye in Pittsburgh will be watching Stewart's first half with great scrutiny.
Advantage: Browns (with Couch) Browns (without Couch).
Outlook: I picked against the Steelers last time and was right. I'm picking against the Steelers again this week. As I mentioned before, I have no faith in this team right now. Well, thankfully I still have the Sopranos to look forward to…the Browns win it by 10.