Haden succeeds with skills, ‘personality’

Posted by Vic Carucci on November 30, 2012 – 2:47 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

So what is it? What makes Browns cornerback Joe Haden one of the NFL’s very best at his position?

Well, there’s his size. At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Haden has the frame that allows him to hold up physically against any wide receiver in the league.

Then, there’s his tremendous strength. And his excellent quickness. And his outstanding footwork. And his superb ability to close on the ball. “And then his explosion out of breaks,” Browns secondary coach Tim Hauck says. “Phenomenal.”

Those are the football qualities.

But there’s more. So much more.

Leave it to a wide receiver, Mohamed Massaquoi, to capture the essence of what puts Haden in the upper echelon of NFL cornerbacks. As Haden’s teammate, Massaquoi has had plenty of up-close encounters to develop a thorough understanding of the player and the person who has lined up at left cornerback for the Browns since joining them as a first-round draft pick from the University of Florida in 2010.

“It’s the personality of Joe,” Massaquoi says. “Just the confidence. It’s not cocky at all. It’s almost like the boyhood, fun nature that he brings to the game. He just enjoys it.

“Then you have his competitive nature. He’s always looking for the big play. And he’s not one of those prima-donna type guys. He’ll get in there, he’ll do the dirty work, he’ll tackle.

“When you wrap all that up, you get the man.”

Now, add to that the extra incentive of wanting to overcome a major career setback, and you have a player driven to perform at a consistently high level.

After the first week of the season, the NFL suspended Haden for four games for violating its substance abuse policy. Since his return, he has redoubled his efforts to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he excels at what he does. Although Haden has played in only six games (he missed a fifth with an oblique injury), he leads the Browns with three interceptions for 64 yards in returns. His third came in last Sunday’s 20-14 victory over the Steelers.

“Definitely, I missed the game a lot,” Haden says of his suspension. “I had a lot of time to sit back and just realize how much the game really meant to me and just how much me playing meant to a lot of other people. It gave me a lot of time to grow up and I realized that my play on the field impacts a lot more people than just me. And I’m going out there and playing like that now.”

Browns safety T.J. Ward, a second-round pick in the 2010 draft and one of Haden’s closest friends on the team, believes the suspension had a profound impact on Haden.

“I think he’s just really focused right now,” Ward says. “He feels he missed out on an opportunity to become better and become the player that he wants to be and help this team win. He’s doing everything in his power to help this team win and become a great cornerback.”

That was Haden’s intention entering the 2012 season. He could feel himself moving closer to greatness. During the offseason, Haden concentrated on improving the weaker parts of his game.

One of the biggest steps he could feel himself making was finding comfort with the transition from the primarily zone-coverage scheme the Browns played in his rookie year, when he made six interceptions, to the man-to-man emphasis that began when Dick Jauron became defensive coordinator in 2011. Haden had no interceptions that year, but did an excellent job of keeping the ball away from receivers.

And he entered this season determined to make his cover skills even better.

“I trained, practiced a lot harder,” Haden says. “I just wanted to come in and be established. I wanted to be known as one of the best corners from everybody’s point of view, not just inside of the Browns’ organization. I wanted to be known nationally as one of the top corners.

“And knowing the game a lot better, it’s slowing down a lot more. I’m a lot more comfortable. I’m starting to feel like the receivers have to beat me instead of me going against them. It’s just a whole different mindset.”

As Ward points out, being a great player in the NFL means you can do everything that your position requires. Excelling at only one aspect of the job isn’t good enough.

When Ward looks at Haden, he sees the completeness necessary to be regarded as something much more than ordinary.

“He’s an all-around good cornerback,” the safety says. “He can be physical with you, he can be finesse with you, he can run with you, or he can get up on the line and pressure you.”

To keep Haden on the right track, Hauck makes a point of constantly harping on him about the importance of being properly aligned for each snap. That’s because sometimes, when Haden expects the play to go away from him, he’ll just stand up in the secondary rather than lean forward in a “ready” position. His immense talent allowed him to usually get away with that in college. That doesn’t work in the NFL.

Haden also takes lessons from Browns right cornerback and 11-year veteran Sheldon Brown “all the time.”

“So now Joe is able to really go out there and play off of not only his talent, but just his understanding and technique of the whole game,” Massaquoi says. “Joe can hold his own against anybody throughout the course of a game. He is one of the elite corners.”

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/browns_daily, Twitter.com/viccarucci, e-mail: Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com, or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Five keys for Browns vs. Raiders

Posted by Vic Carucci on November 29, 2012 – 3:19 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

Here are five keys for the Browns in Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders:

>>Jump out to an early lead. The common thread in the Raiders’ lopsided losses in their last three games is opponents building early big advantages and Oakland being unable to rally. For instance, last week the Bengals took a 24-0 halftime lead on the way to a 34-10 triumph. If the Browns are to end their 12-game road losing streak, they need to take an aggressive, first-strike approach.

>>Put together another physical, attack-oriented defensive performance. The Browns beat the Steelers last week and nearly beat the Cowboys in Week 11 because of the dominance of their front seven. They absolutely pounded the Steelers to the tune of five forced fumbles (among the eight turnovers they caused). And they sacked Dallas quarterback Tony Romo seven times. The Browns should be able to turn up the heat on Carson Palmer, who was sacked four times last week. Another reason for them to do all they can to rattle Palmer is the fact he has thrown an interception in seven consecutive games.

>>Continue to stuff the run. The Browns have played the run exceptionally well the past two weeks. They need to continue the trend against the Raiders, who are getting No. 1 running back Darren McFadden back from an injury and have a talented reserve in Marcel Reece. The Raiders are likely to use both players extensively as runners and receivers. Browns defensive tackles Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor have to maintain their disruptive ways in the middle of the defense, and that should help talented end Jabaal Sheard and standout linebacker D’Qwell Jackson to have an impact.

>>Don’t allow the Raiders to get anything going through the air. The return of cornerback Joe Haden last week from an oblique injury made a massive difference for the Browns’ defense. He was a big part of the tight coverage that helped result in the Steelers’ Charlie Batch throwing three interceptions. Haden should be up to the task of keeping wide receiver Denarius Moore, who is a dangerous deep threat, in check. The Browns need to do the same against Darrius Heyward-Bey, another big-play receiver, and tight end Brandon Myers, who is Palmer’s go-to target.

>>Get long gains on the ground. The Raiders do an effective job of clogging the middle of the line, but they’ve had issues preventing chunk plays against the run. That should present an opportunity for Trent Richardson to rip off some long runs, something he is capable of doing every time the ball is in his hands. And the ball is in his hands a lot; he has averaged nearly 31 touches per game in his last four games.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/browns_daily, Twitter.com/viccarucci, e-mail: Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com, or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Playing hard, physical not new for Browns

Posted by Vic Carucci on November 29, 2012 – 12:03 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Norma – They need to play that hard and physical all the time. The coach has to have fire in the belly and not stand back and be so passive.

Norma, I think the Browns actually have played as hard and as physical against other opponents as they did against the Steelers.

In fact, one of their stronger efforts and more physical games came at Pittsburgh last season. Remember that impressive goal-line stand? You can’t get much more physical than that.

As for the coach needing to have a fire in his belly, I couldn’t disagree more. Pat Shurmur is extremely fiery and far from passive. Although he might not always show a tremendous amount of emotion on the sidelines or during news conferences, he is every bit as passionate about his job and his team as anyone connected with the Browns.

Frankly, I think it’s a plus that he maintains a fairly even keel most of the time. That tends to help in the many decisions that coaches face during a game.

Josh – I’m still jacked out of my mind about the win. I say win out, show some heart; 8-8 is a huge building block for such a very young team.

Love the way you’re thinking, Josh.

Winning out would be a tremendous way for the Browns to end the season. Is it possible? Anything’s possible. Is it likely? Who knows?

The schedule offers some significant challenges, especially with three of the final five games on the road, beginning Sunday at Oakland and including back-to-back games at Denver and Pittsburgh to end the year.

But I would disagree with your point about winning out being an indication of the Browns showing “some heart.” I think this team has shown heart all season, and, despite a losing record, has competed at a high level through the vast majority of its games.

Robby – Steeler fan here, congrats on the win. YINZ deserve it. Just don’t ever do it again!

Thanks, Robby. We truly appreciate it.

Your final comment is being ignored, of course.

Scotty – I think Brandon Weeden will be fine as the Browns’ quarterback. The games are at least fun to watch now, much better than it was last year.

I agree, Scotty.

Weeden will be fine. He’s a talented player who has had his share of ups and downs, but that’s typical of what you see in a rookie quarterback. The same can be said for Andrew Luck and other rookie quarterbacks from the present and the past.

You’re also right about Browns games being fun to watch, and that is largely due to an offense that is capable of generating more big plays through the air. Weeden’s arm allows for that, along with the dynamic skills of running back Trent Richardson and of wide receiver Josh Gordon.

Even on a day when the Browns were far from explosive offensively, they still managed to generate 20 points against a Steelers defense that entered last week’s game ranked first in the NFL.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Putting win vs. Steelers in perspective

Posted by Vic Carucci on November 27, 2012 – 10:12 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Karen – Let’s face it. Beating the Steelers was our Super Bowl!

I get where you’re coming from, Karen.

It was a massive win for Cleveland and for Browns fans everywhere. It has made just about everything in and around the community look and feel just a little bit better. This is the most excitement in the aftermath of a game than anyone who roots for this team has experienced in a very long time.

So, in many respects, yes, the victory did serve as a Super Bowl of sorts, especially because it came at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

But that is not how the coaches or players on this team see it. They are still very cognizant of the fact it was only the third triumph in 11 games, and that doesn’t translate to a successful season.

For Pat Shurmur and his team, the Steelers’ game is merely a building block for the Browns rather than their entire foundation. And there are five opportunities left – beginning at Oakland on Sunday – to add to it.

All of the euphoria and excitement generated last Sunday will be quickly forgotten if the Browns are unable to generate some traction. As well as they performed defensively, they have every reason to believe they can do exactly that.

Now, they have to go ahead and do it.

Darla – All the turnovers against Pittsburgh were nice! Gotta stop the holding calls, though.

You are so right, Darla.

Although I think, to some degree, the officiating crew might have been a bit overzealous with the holding calls, the fact is the Browns had far too many of them.

After drawing so many penalty flags (on defense and special teams) against the Cowboys in Week 11, the Browns needed to be far more disciplined against the Steelers. And, on offense, they weren’t.

This is part of the maturing of a team that I believe is coming into its own and learning what it takes to perform at a consistently high level.

The time has come to severely cut down on penalties in all phases.

Michael – Can’t tell you how good it is to turn on “Sports Center,” and see them say the Browns won! Not to mention that we beat Pittsburgh!

I had the same feeling when I turned on the television Monday morning, Michael.

It’s called being relevant. It occurs when you win.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Browns defined by their defense

Posted by Vic Carucci on November 27, 2012 – 3:30 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Jason – Always been a fan of great D. The pick six at the beginning made it look like it was going to be just another loss, but the defense stood tall only allowing seven points to the Steelers. Tasty rival win for the Browns.

As a fan of “great D,” you are rooting for the right team in the Browns, Jason.

It’s clear that this team is defined by its defense, which has highly talented players on the line (tackles Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin, and end Jabaal Sheard), at linebacker (D’Qwell Jackson), and in the secondary (cornerback Joe Haden and safety T.J. Ward). And this unit doesn’t only have the ability to make stops, it also makes big plays.

Although I don’t expect the Browns to routinely force eight turnovers every game, as it did against the Steelers, I do think they will have many more multiple-turnover games. Separating opponents from the balls is something defensive coordinator Dick Jauron and the rest of the team’s defensive coaching staff constantly preach and teach.

Jauron also designs exceptional schemes that confound the opposition. That had plenty to do with why the Browns sacked Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo seven times in Week 11. And it had plenty to do with why Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, a 15-year veteran, wound up throwing three interceptions on Sunday.

Lee – With that many turnovers, the game shouldn’t have been that close. But I’m glad they won.

You’re right, Lee. It shouldn’t have been that close.

The Browns’ offense should have been able to enjoy more success given the relatively short fields the defense provided throughout the game.

Some of that was because quarterback Brandon Weeden didn’t play particularly well. Some of that was because the Browns didn’t run the ball all that effectively. And some of that was because the offense drew far too many penalties, especially for holding.

It’s also worth noting that the Browns faced the top-ranked defense in the NFL and one of the greatest defensive coordinators the game has ever seen in Dick LeBeau.

However, it’s reasonable to think that, with greater experience, the Browns’ offense will steadily do a better job of cashing in on opponents’ turnovers.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Final thoughts from Browns-Steelers

Posted by Vic Carucci on November 25, 2012 – 10:23 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

Here are some final thoughts on the Browns’ 20-14 victory against the Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium:

>>It’s true what they say about everything being better in Cleveland after a win against the Steelers. All of a sudden, it was a much happier Thanksgiving. And the sting of eight losses feels a little less painful. And the weather seemingly got a whole lot warmer (despite the 34-degree reading at kickoff). And the promise and hope that several young players have provided on both sides of the ball became a little more believable. Yes, it’s true: A win against the Steelers is the best salve of all.

>>The Browns gave one of their best defensive performances of the season, if not multiple years. It started with the forcing of eight turnovers, the most by the Browns since a 1989 victory against Pittsburgh. Five were fumbles resulting from crushing hits. The Browns’ front seven consistently won the battle up front, getting good penetration on run and pass plays.

>>The Browns knew they had to force the Steelers to put the bulk of their offense on the shaky, 37-year-old throwing arm of third-string quarterback Charlie Batch. That effort began by stuffing the run and making the Steelers one-dimensional. After that, the Browns played mostly sound coverage, giving Batch few open spots to attack. That, and the pressure the Browns were able to generate, went a long way toward Batch throwing three interceptions.

>>Brandon Weeden had a rough outing. It began with the pick-six he threw on the game’s fourth play. Weeden also struggled in the second half. He does deserve some credit for fighting his way back from the interception-turned-touchdown. And Weeden did make a nice throw on his touchdown to Jordan Cameron, who ran an excellent route to get open.

>>Major props for the Browns’ special teams. This bunch did an excellent job in coverage. Phil Dawson was money on a pair of field-goal attempts. And Reggie Hodges had an outstanding day of punting.

>>Trent Richardson had a solid day with 85 rushing yards on 29 carries. It was a bit unrealistic to expect the Browns to dominate on the ground against the top-ranked defense in the NFL and the fourth-rated unit vs. the run. But the important part of what the Browns did was stay persistent with their running game.

>>The Browns had far too many holding penalties. This team had to learn its lesson from last week’s 12-penalty game against the Cowboys. A week ago, 10 of the infractions were on defense and two were on special teams. But the Browns need to be more mindful of not damaging their cause with self-inflicted wounds. That’s a lesson to take forward, even in the euphoria of the biggest win this franchise has had since the last time they beat the Steelers, in 2009.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Game Recap: Browns 20, Steelers 14

Posted by Matt Florjancic on November 25, 2012 – 9:21 pm

The Cleveland Browns forced eight turnovers and rode the momentum of those defensive plays to a 20-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, the Browns improved to 3-8, with a 2-3 mark in the AFC North Division. The Steelers fell to 6-5 after the loss.

Courtesy of a third-quarter touchdown run from Trent Richardson, the Browns took a 20-14 lead over the Steelers into the fourth quarter of play.

The Browns took their second lead over the Steelers when Richardson rushed for a 15-yard touchdown at the 5:19 mark of the third quarter. The touchdown was Richardson’s sixth rushing score of the season. His run finished a three-play, 31-yard drive that was set up by a Pittsburgh turnover.

On their second possession of the third quarter, the Steelers faced a third-and-six from their own 19-yard line. Quarterback Charlie Batch dropped back to pass to veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress when defensive back Sheldon Brown jumped the route and collected the interception, the Browns’ fourth forced turnover of the game.

A late touchdown run put the Steelers in front of the Browns, 14-13, at halftime.

Running back Chris Rainey scored on a one-yard touchdown run and put the Pittsburgh Steelers back in front of the Browns, 14-13, with one second remaining in the first half. Rainey’s touchdown finished off a nine-play, 84-yard drive.

Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron caught a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brandon Weeden on a third-and-goal play and put the Browns in front of the Steelers, 10-7, with 12:20 left to play in the first half.

The Browns’ touchdown was the first given up by the Steelers in their opponents’ last 29 offensive possessions.

The defense set up the Browns with a first-and-goal when it forced the Steelers’ second turnover of the game.

On third-and-19 from their five-yard line, the Steelers called for running back Isaac Redman to run the ball, but he was stopped at the line of scrimmage and stripped of the football by Browns defensive end Juqua Parker. Defensive back Buster Skrine came up with the fumble recovery, his first of the season.

On the strength of a defensive score, the Steelers held 7-3 lead over the Browns in Sunday’s AFC North Division game.

Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons returned a Weeden interception 53 yards for a touchdown, which gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead over the Browns with 13:49 remaining in the first quarter.

Timmons caught the ball after defensive lineman Brett Keisel batted it at the line of scrimmage. The third-down pass was intended for wide receiver Greg Little on a drag route over the middle of the field.

Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson converted a 28-yard field goal attempt and drew the Browns to within three points of the Steelers, 7-3, with 8:25 left in the first quarter.

The drive, which lasted seven plays and travelled 33 yards, was set up by the Browns defense.

After the team punted to the Steelers following its second possession, Cleveland defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin forced the football loose from running back Rashard Mendenhall and defensive back Usama Young recovered at Pittsburgh’s 44-yard line. An official review of the play upheld the call on the field.

Game Recap is presented by Giant Eagle, the Official Supermarket of the Cleveland Browns.


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Browns lead after three quarters

Posted by Matt Florjancic on November 25, 2012 – 8:23 pm

CLEVELAND — Courtesy of a third-quarter touchdown run from Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns took a 20-14 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers into the fourth quarter of play at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The Browns took their second lead over the Steelers when Richardson rushed for a 15-yard touchdown at the 5:19 mark of the third quarter. The touchdown was Richardson’s sixth rushing score of the season. His run finished a three-play, 31-yard drive that was set up by a Pittsburgh turnover.

On their second possession of the third quarter, the Steelers faced a third-and-six from their own 19-yard line. Quarterback Charlie Batch dropped back to pass to veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress when defensive back Sheldon Brown jumped the route and collected the interception, the Browns’ fourth forced turnover of the game.

A late touchdown run put the Steelers in front of the Browns, 14-13, at halftime.

Running back Chris Rainey scored on a one-yard touchdown run and put the Pittsburgh Steelers back in front of the Browns, 14-13, with one second remaining in the first half. Rainey’s touchdown finished off a nine-play, 84-yard drive.

Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron caught a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brandon Weeden on a third-and-goal play and put the Browns in front of the Steelers, 10-7, with 12:20 left to play in the first half.

The Browns’ touchdown was the first given up by the Steelers in their opponents’ last 29 offensive possessions.

The defense set up the Browns with a first-and-goal when it forced the Steelers’ second turnover of the game.

On third-and-19 from their five-yard line, the Steelers called for running back Isaac Redman to run the ball, but he was stopped at the line of scrimmage and stripped of the football by Browns defensive end Juqua Parker. Defensive back Buster Skrine came up with the fumble recovery, his first of the season.

On the strength of a defensive score, the Steelers held 7-3 lead over the Browns in Sunday’s AFC North Division game.

Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons returned a Weeden interception 53 yards for a touchdown, which gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead over the Browns with 13:49 remaining in the first quarter.

Timmons caught the ball after defensive lineman Brett Keisel batted it at the line of scrimmage. The third-down pass was intended for wide receiver Greg Little on a drag route over the middle of the field.

Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson converted a 28-yard field goal attempt and drew the Browns to within three points of the Steelers, 7-3, with 8:25 left in the first quarter.

The drive, which lasted seven plays and travelled 33 yards, was set up by the Browns defense.

After the team punted to the Steelers following its second possession, Cleveland defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin forced the football loose from running back Rashard Mendenhall and defensive back Usama Young recovered at Pittsburgh’s 44-yard line. An official review of the play upheld the call on the field.


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Richardson runs for TD

Posted by Matt Florjancic on November 25, 2012 – 8:11 pm

The Cleveland Browns took their second lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 20-14, when running back Trent Richardson rushed for a 15-yard touchdown at the 5:19 mark of the third quarter from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Richardson now has six rushing touchdowns on the season. His run finished a three-play, 31-yard drive that was set up by a Pittsburgh turnover.

On their second possession of the third quarter, the Steelers faced a third-and-six from their own 19-yard line. Quarterback Charlie Batch dropped back to pass to veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress when defensive back Sheldon Brown jumped the route and collected the interception, the Browns’ fourth forced turnover of the game.


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Steelers lead at halftime

Posted by Matt Florjancic on November 25, 2012 – 7:33 pm

A late touchdown run put the Pittsburgh Steelers in front of the Cleveland Browns, 14-13, at halftime of Sunday’s game from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Running back Chris Rainey scored on a one-yard touchdown run and put the Pittsburgh Steelers back in front of the Browns, 14-13, with one second remaining in the first half. Rainey’s touchdown finished off a nine-play, 84-yard drive.

Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron caught a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brandon Weeden on a third-and-goal play and put the Browns in front of the Steelers, 10-7, with 12:20 left to play in the first half.

The Browns’ touchdown was the first given up by the Steelers in their opponents’ last 29 offensive possessions.

The defense set up the Browns with a first-and-goal when it forced the Steelers’ second turnover of the game.

On third-and-19 from their five-yard line, the Steelers called for running back Isaac Redman to run the ball, but he was stopped at the line of scrimmage and stripped of the football by Browns defensive end Juqua Parker. Defensive back Buster Skrine came up with the fumble recovery, his first of the season.

On the strength of a defensive score, the Steelers held 7-3 lead over the Browns in Sunday’s AFC North Division game.

Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons returned a Weeden interception 53 yards for a touchdown, which gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead over the Browns with 13:49 remaining in the first quarter.

Timmons caught the ball after defensive lineman Brett Keisel batted it at the line of scrimmage. The third-down pass was intended for wide receiver Greg Little on a drag route over the middle of the field.

Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson converted a 28-yard field goal attempt and drew the Browns to within three points of the Steelers, 7-3, with 8:25 left in the first quarter.

The drive, which lasted seven plays and travelled 33 yards, was set up by the Browns defense.

After the team punted to the Steelers following its second possession, Cleveland defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin forced the football loose from running back Rashard Mendenhall and defensive back Usama Young recovered at Pittsburgh’s 44-yard line. An official review of the play upheld the call on the field.


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