PLAYER OF THE GAME
Joshua Cribbs, Browns kick returner
If he keeps this up, he`ll be on a plane to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl. He had a 90-yard kickoff return in the first half to set up a touchdown, then returned one 100 yards in the fourth quarter to give the Browns a 28-24 lead.
Cribbs muffed the kick on the touchdown, but avoided three guys inside the 5-yard line and tightroped down the sideline despite getting pushed.
GOAT OF THE GAME
Derek Anderson, Browns quarterback
For the first time this season, he looked human.
Anderson went 6-for-19 for 43 yards after halftime, and three of the completions and 32 of the yards came on the final drive. Anderson had plenty of time all day, but was off target. The Steelers were taking away the deep ball, and the Browns couldn`t adjust.
Anderson`s final mistake was throwing a 3-yard pass to Joe Jurevicius over the middle with no timeouts and just 27 seconds left.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The Browns thought they were in perfect position - until they saw the flag.
Joshua Cribbs had returned a punt to near the Pittsburgh 40-yard line with 1:04 left - just a first down away from Phil Dawson`s range for a tying field goal - but a holding penalty on tight end Darnell Dinkins at the line of scrimmage negated the return. With no timeouts, the Browns were forced to start at their 33-yard line.
The Browns didn`t agree with the call, and when Dawson`s 52-yard try into the wind landed about 3 yards short, the penalty proved to be the difference.
STAT OF THE GAME : 0
First downs by the Browns through 29 minutes of the second half. The Browns picked up two first downs on the final drive.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"I told everybody to put it on my shoulders today. I missed a big third-down tackle. It was a crucial play in the game. I apologized to the team. I had my worst game as a Cleveland Brown. It`s just embarrassing the way I performed." - Browns linebacker Willie McGinest, who whiffed on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on a 10-yard scramble to the 2-yard line on third-and-9 to set up the winning touchdown.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his five runs for 49 yards and a touchdown that killed the Browns. Derek Anderson came back to earth in the second half.
Willie Parker finished with 105 yards. Jamal Lewis had 35 yards and a fumble that led to a touchdown.
Braylon Edwards had a beautiful touchdown, but it was his only catch. Kellen Winslow disappeared in the second half. Hines Ward and Heath Miller caught touchdowns for Pittsburgh.
Anderson wasn`t sacked or hit. Roethlisberger was sacked four times and pressured plenty.
Shaun Smith and Robaire Smith had sacks, and Ethan Kelley was active. The Steelers were good against the run.
James Harrison forced two fumbles. Willie McGinest couldn`t contain Roethlisberger when the Browns needed it most.
Brodney Pool had an interception and Eric Wright had 11 tackles and a sack. The Steelers did a good job preventing the big play.
Joshua Cribbs had a 100-yard touchdown and a 90-yard return that set up a touchdown. Darnell Dinkins` hold on a punt return cost the Browns about 30 yards on the final drive, and Phil Dawson was just short on a 52-yarder into the wind at the end.
The Browns used two timeouts on one challenge, so Romeo Crennel gets stuck with the blame. Mike Tomlin is on his way to the playoffs in his first year.