Originally Posted by GAC
Yep. Dumb blunder. But he made an excellent challenge in the first half on the Edward's TD catch.
Anderson did one heck of job in the first half (QB Rating 114.6), but was simply atrocious in the second half.
Cribbs is an animal. 204 total yds in kickoff returns (longest was for 100).
Jamal Lewis losing that one fumble by trying to get the extra yd and being stood up and stripped was plain dumb.
But the biggest idiotic blunder was Dinkin's holding call on that last punt return that would have gave the Browns the ball on the Pitt 38 yd line; but instead, ut the ball back on their own 33. From there they moved the ball, but missed a 53 yd FG attempt to send the game into O.T.
Overall, it was an exciting game, GAC. The holding on the last punt return was a huge blunder, but the double-burn of the two Time Outs on the challenge was inexcusable. Even with the hold on the return, the Browns were able to drive deep enough to get a tying field goal IF they would have had one of those TO's left rather than having to burn two downs during the final four plays with spikes to stop the clock. That TD catch wasn't going to be overturned. Everyone but Crennel seemed to know it and even if it was reversed by some act of referee stupidity, the Steelers still had a third-and-goal from the 2 at worst.
I can maybe understand the first Time Out in order to get a better look at it, but Crennel would have been better served to just close his eyes and throw the red flag prior to that. Yeah, he was money on his first challenge, but that last challenge was akin to throwing good money after bad.
And yes, Cribbs was a monster. The guy can flat out fly, but I was even more impressed by his vision. Cribbs just seems to anticipate lanes opening for him. That's a gift and should the Browns play well enough to grab a playoff spot, Cribbs is the kind of player who can help an underdog steal a postseason win. He was disruptive when fielding kicks today and he completely messed with Pittsburgh's kicking game as the Browns had solid field position all day long even when trying to pooch a kick away from him.
On the other hand, I was not impressed with Kellen Winslow Jr. The guy has immense talent, but he seemed soft over the middle today. He looked like he had alligator arms and the footsteps he heard distrupted him. And exactly where was Braylon Edwards? His one catch was a beaut, but one catch?
And I know Pitt got better pressure on Anderson during the second half, but no sacks. There's something to be said for hurries, but prior to the final drive Anderson was 3 for 9 for 11 yards passing in the second half. Jamal Lewis was awful again, sporting a 2.19 YPC average with almost a third of his yards gained on an 11 yard run. With a 21-9 lead, it appears that Lewis got only four carries in the second half (3 yards) and fumbled on his longest 2nd-half carry (4 yards). At every turn, I was expecting a death strike to Edwards from Cleveland's offense in the second half. Either that, or a grinding game dedicated to take time off the clock with Lewis, but the Browns did neither.
But the Brown's defense, even though they did a better job today of putting pressure on Ben, still is the worst in the NFL. When it came down to it, Ben led them to victory.
And while I didn't expect it to be a blowout like that first game, with Frye at QB, I didn't think the game would be as close as it was.
The reason the Browns were 5-3 going into this game is because their offense, which is top 5 overall in the NFL, has been able to compensate for such a sad defense. But it keeps catching up to them.
The Browns defense did a pretty good job of "bend-don't-break" in the first half today. But in the second half, they broke. Pittsburgh's pass blocking has been an issue all year (as has their pass rush and special teams) and if not for Roethisberger's ability to avoid takedowns, the Browns' 4 sacks might have been enough. I have no idea how Roethisberger was able to break a 30-yard TD run, but that guy won the game for Pittsburgh today with the ball in his hands. Hopefully, folks will begin putting the "Ben sucks" baby to bed.
But overall, the Browns impressed me today. They played with a ton of heart. They've got a good offense, even if it is a bit inconsistent, and their return game is one of the best- if not the best in the AFC. Should they produce something akin to a 1st or 2nd-tier defense, they'll be even tougher. And frankly, looking at the Browns' schedule, they have a decent shot at making the playoffs this season.