PITTSBURGH -- Two AFC North quarterbacks are making their 2010 debuts Sunday as the Steelers host the Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a four-game suspension and Cleveland rookie Colt McCoy is playing his first NFL game.
Here are some notes at intermission as the Steelers lead, 7-3:
Roethlisberger showed some rust in the first half. His pass to running back Mewelde Moore sailed on Roethlisberger and into the hands of Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden, who returned the interception 62 yards. Other than that, Roethlisberger has been decent. He stood tall in the pocket and threw a 29-yard touchdown to receiver Mike Wallace, in addition to another 22-yard completion to rookie Emmanuel Sanders. On the play to Sanders, Roethlisberger scrambled to buy time on a vintage play.
McCoy hasn't done much other than a nice, 19-yard throw to tight end Evan Moore. He was hit twice on the opening drive, and the pressure rushed him into throwing his first career interception to Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark. McCoy was trying to squeeze the ball to tight end Ben Watson through triple coverage, which you cannot do in the NFL. The Browns might want to begin max protecting on some of McCoy's throws, because he is getting hit. Pittsburgh already has two sacks in the first half.
Browns Pro Bowler Josh Cribbs suffered a big blow to the head by Steelers linebacker James Harrison and was knocked out of the game. Cribbs was running the Wildcat when LaMarr Woodley was bringing him down and Harrison cleaned up on the play. He likely has a concussion. Cribbs' injury changes a lot of Cleveland's game plan on offense and special teams.
It's clear that Pittsburgh doesn't want to go away from its hot hand: Rashard Mendenhall. The Steelers are keeping their running back involved in the first half. Mendenhall has 54 rushing yards and two receptions.
A couple of individual marks were reached in the first half. Browns kicker Phil Dawson made his 235th career field goal in the first quarter, which passes Lou Groza as Cleveland’s all-time field-goal leader. Pittsburgh receiver Hines Ward also caught a pass in the first half, pushing his streak to 183 straight games, which ties Hall of Famer Art Monk for fourth all-time.