2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Mistakes cost Steelers in 20-14 loss to Browns

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-26 03:53

CLEVELAND (AP) - Once they stopped dropping the ball and throwing it to the Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers realized something bigger than a win could be slipping away.

Their season.

The Steelers committed eight turnovers - five fumbles and three interceptions by quarterback Charlie Batch - to make things easier on Cleveland and the Browns did just enough for a 20-14 win on Sunday over their bitter rivals to put Pittsburgh's playoff hopes in a pickle.

``We have to get ourselves together in a hurry and figure out a way to get some wins,'' Steelers tight end Heath Miller said.

With their second loss in a row inside the AFC North, the Steelers (6-5) dropped into a tie with Cincinnati and now trail first-place Baltimore by three games. Pittsburgh visits the Ravens next Sunday in what boils down to a must-win situation for a team that looked anything but postseason primed against the Browns (3-8).

By next week, Pittsburgh could have quarterback Ben Roethlisberger back from injury. But even Big Ben might not be able to straighten out these Steelers, who converted just 1 of 9 third downs, rushed for 49 yards and did little right after linebacker Lawrence Timmons returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown just 71 seconds after the opening kickoff.

All four Pittsburgh running backs fumbled once, and it was fitting that Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders committed the final turnover with a fumble on a last-play, desperation lateral.

``If you turn the ball over the way we did, you're not going to beat anybody, that's just the reality in the National Football League,'' said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who has rarely looked as upset with his team. ``I'm surprised it was that close given the turnover situation.''

Batch, forced to start because of rib injuries to Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich, finished 20 of 34 for 199 yards. The 37-year-old third-stringer wasn't the reason Pittsburgh lost, but he didn't make enough plays to shake the Steelers from their funk.

``I have to put it on my shoulders,'' Batch said. ``We had a chance to win, actually two, and I turned it over. Can't do that. I made some bad throws. We had all the fumbles, and yet we still had a chance to win, that's the crazy part.''

The Browns, though, hung on and finally came out on the winning side of a close game. In beating the Steelers for just the second time in 18 games, Cleveland improved to 5-23 against Pittsburgh since 1999.

``I said to the rookies, `You're all 1-0 against Pittsburgh,''' said Browns coach Pat Shurmur, who faces an uncertain future in Cleveland. ``You play a rivalry and you're trying to get some traction. This game we finished. I think that's an important message as we move forward.''

The victory came with a price.

Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden sustained a concussion in the final minutes, requiring backup Colt McCoy to come in and finish off a victory Cleveland fans - and new owner Jimmy Haslam - savored as much as any in years.

After throwing an incompletion, Weeden fell awkwardly and appeared to hit his head on the leg of teammate Joe Thomas as he went down. Weeden was then replaced by McCoy, who suffered a serious head injury late last season in Pittsburgh when he was laid out on a vicious hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

McCoy didn't throw a pass after coming on in relief, and it's too early to know if he'll be needed next week at Oakland. If he must play, the Browns are confident that McCoy, who lost his starting job when the Browns drafted Weeden, can get the job done.

``If it comes down to it, we've got Colt and Colt makes smart decisions and Colt's been ready to play all year,'' said running back Trent Richardson, who rushed for 85 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter with a 15-yard run.

Cleveland's win also sent president Mike Holmgren out on a winning note. After the game, the Browns announced that it was the final game for the 64-year-old Holmgren, who has said he may return to coaching. The Browns went only 12-32 under Holmgren, but at least one of the wins came against the dreaded Steelers - now in trouble.

Several holding penalties also hurt Pittsburgh and wide receiver Plaxico Burress, re-signed during the week because of injuries to Antonio Bryant and Jerricho Cotchery, did not catch a pass.

The Steelers didn't make any excuses. It's not their way.

``We aren't going to have any team meetings, not going to sit in a circle and sing `Kumbaya' or anything like that,'' safety Ryan Clark said. ``We are going to do what we do after we win a game - go back to work and figure out a way to play better.''

Phil Dawson kicked field goals of 28 and 32 yards for the Browns. He has made 27 in a row since last season, tying his team record.

Cleveland's fourth takeaway set up Richardson's TD run.

Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown, picked on during the Steelers' late scoring drive in the first half, intercepted Batch at Pittsburgh's 31.

Two completions by Weeden got it to the 10, and after a false-start penalty, Richardson burst up the middle, ran through some arm tackles and scored to make it 20-14 with 5:25 left in the third - the game's final points.

``To finish a close game like that is big for us,'' Richardson said.

NOTES: Steelers rookie RB Chris Rainey scored on a 1-yard run after being stopped cold at the goal line. ... Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley left in the first half with a left ankle injury and did not return. OL Mike Adams hurt his left ankle in the second half. Tomlin said both would be evaluated Monday. ... The Browns are the first team to forced eight turnovers since New Orleans against St. Louis on Oct. 28, 2001. ... Tomlin dropped to 9-2 against the Browns. ... Holmgren will meet with Cleveland's media for the final time Monday.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jake BequetteAug 28 08:52a

New England Patriots TE/DE Jake Bequette (undisclosed) was waived/injured Thursday, Aug. 27.

Miles AustinAug 28 08:32a

Philadelphia Eagles WR Miles Austin hasn't stood out, or received many chances to stand out, thus in training camp. His role is undetermined as he could start on the [ More ]

Nelson AgholorAug 27 10:22p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor should be the 'second-most productive receiver on the team when the season ends,' according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ryan MallettAug 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett missed practice Thursday, Aug. 27, because he overslept. Mallett was present for meetings later on, however. He will also be at practice Friday, Aug. 28.

Josh JohnsonAug 27 07:42p

Free-agent QB Josh Johnson (Bengals) signed with the New York Jets Thursday, Aug. 29. QB Jake Heaps was subsequently waived.

R. Griffin IIIAug 27 07:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (concussion) has been cleared to play Saturday, Aug. 29, against the Baltimore Ravens.

Earl ThomasAug 27 06:22p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) is on track to be ready for the start of the regular season, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Markus WheatonAug 27 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton could be primed for a breakout season, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler.

Letroy GuionAug 27 04:52p

Green Bay Packers DE Letroy Guion will be suspended for the first three games of the regular season after his appeal was apparently denied.

Martavis BryantAug 27 03:02p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant has been suspended four games for violating the league's Substance Abuse Policy, according to league sources. He has filed an appeal.

Arian FosterAug 27 02:22p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has been working out in Houston, and he's expected to return to the field in some facet by Week 2 to Week 4, [ More ]

Pat DevlinAug 27 10:32a

Free-agent QB Pat Devlin (Dolphins) signed with the Cleveland Browns Thursday, Aug. 27. OL Ryan Seymour was waived.

Connor BarthAug 26 08:53p

Free-agent PK Connor Barth (Broncos) agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Aug. 26, on a two-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

DeVante ParkerAug 26 04:23p

Miami Dolphins rookie WR DeVante Parker (foot) isn't sure if he'll be healthy enough in time for Week 1. He and the Dolphins don't want to have rushed return [ More ]

Brandon McManusAug 26 10:33a

Denver Broncos PK Brandon McManus won the kicking job as PK Connor Barth was released Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Connor BarthAug 26 10:33a

Denver Broncos PK Brandon McManus won the kicking job as PK Connor Barth was released Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Evan RoysterAug 26 10:13a

Atlanta Falcons RB Evan Royster (undisclosed) was waived/injured Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Rex GrossmanAug 26 09:23a

Free-agent QB Rex Grossman (Redskins) was signed by the Atlanta Falcons to a one-year, $1 million deal Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Taylor MaysAug 26 12:43a

The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent SS Taylor Mays (Bengals) Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Orlando ScandrickAug 26 12:43a

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee Tuesday, Aug. 25. An MRI confirmed the injury.

Michael VickAug 25 07:42p

Updating a previous report, free-agent QB Michael Vick (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Tuesday, Aug. 25. Financial terms were not disclosed. QB Bruce Gradkowski (finger) [ More ]

Evan MathisAug 25 06:13p

Free-agent OG Evan Mathis (Eagles) agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Jameis WinstonAug 25 04:33p

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie QB Jameis Winston (ankle) suffered a sprained ankle Monday, Aug. 24, against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Lovie Smith still expects [ More ]

Josh JohnsonAug 25 02:53p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Josh Johnson was released Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Victor CruzAug 25 02:42p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf) doesn't know when he'll be able to return to practice as he continues to deal with inflammation in [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerAug 25 01:23p

Tennessee Titans backup QB Zach Mettenberger has performed at a high level in training camp and the preseason, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt laughed off a suggestion that the [ More ]

Bruce GradkowskiAug 25 12:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Bruce Gradkowski (finger) suffered a dislocated finger on his left hand during the team's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers last weekend, according to [ More ]

Andre WilliamsAug 25 12:22p

New York Giants RB Andre Williams could overtake RB Rashad Jennings as the lead back sometime this season, maybe even to open the season. Williams has worked on his [ More ]

Mike EvansAug 25 09:13a

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) isn't believed to have a serious hamstring injury. 'I talked to him and he didn't feel like it [ More ]

Jameis WinstonAug 24 11:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston completed eight of his 13 pass attempts for 90 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the preseason game Monday, Aug. 24, against [ More ]

Doug MartinAug 24 11:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin rushed six times for 59 yards in the preseason game Monday, Aug. 24, against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mike EvansAug 24 09:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) left the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, Aug. 24, due to a strained hamstring.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group