Final/OT

Browns 13

(2-2, 1-1 away)

Steelers 16

(1-2, 1-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, September 29, 2002

 

1 2 3 4 OT T
CLE 3 3 0 7 013
PIT 0 6 0 7 316

Maddox, Steelers rally to win in OT

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Todd Peterson and Tommy Maddox each got second chances in a wild, unpredictable overtime, and the Cleveland Browns wound up with a second bizarre loss in a month.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Steelers: Is Maddox the "new" starter or will this be an experiment?
I believe Kordell Stewart is finished for the year. There's been too much pressure on him to perform perfectly week after week. The Steelers won today, and with QBs, you need to go with the last guy standing. Even if Maddox struggles later, I don't see the Steelers going back to Kordell -- I believe they'd go to their No. 3 QB, Charlie Batch. Maybe Kordell will go back to a "slash" role, but I believe he's finished as the starting QB in Pittsburgh.

Question on the Browns: How many crushing losses can they take before their spirit is broken?
The Browns are a young team. Looking at the schedule before the season, not many people would have expected them to win this game. They've been in some close games in the last year or so. The Browns need to develop a winning attitude, and to do so they'll need to start winning some of these close games. But until then, I don't believe they'll doubt themselves or hang their heads.

Eric Allen played 14 seasons in the NFL for the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Maddox replaced Kordell Stewart to lead a tying touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, then drove Pittsburgh to Peterson's winning 31-yard field goal and a 16-13 victory Sunday that may have saved the Steelers' season.

The Browns led 13-6 late in the fourth quarter, then intercepted a Maddox pass, blocked a Peterson field goal and had a chance to win it on a Phil Dawson field goal in overtime -- and still lost.

The Steelers (1-2) were within a couple of minutes of being 0-3 until Maddox came in to go 11-of-13 for 122 yards on two scoring drives in barely a half a quarter.

"This was huge for us,'' linebacker Joey Porter said of the Steelers, widely regarded as the AFC's preseason favorite. "Maybe we play better when we're underdogs, because everybody was writing us off when we were 0-2.''

Peterson's winner with 7:46 remaining in overtime came one play after Alvin McKinley blocked his 24-yard attempt, the second Browns kick block of the day. But because it was only second down and Pittsburgh's John Fiala fell on the bouncing football -- which never crossed the line of scrimmage -- the Steelers (1-2) retained possession. Peterson redeemed himself on the next play.

"Coach (Bill) Cowher asked if I wanted him to run a play so I could get my bearings back,'' Peterson said. "I said, no, it's a 31-yarder, I can make that, so let's kick it and go home.''

For Cleveland, the loss wasn't as devastating as its 40-39 defeat to Kansas City in their opener, when Dwayne Rudd's helmet toss allowed the Chiefs to kick a game-winning field goal. But this also was a game the Browns seemingly had won.

"It's hard. It's tough to come here and lose the way we did,'' said Jamel White, who ran for 105 yards and a touchdown. "But anything can happen in overtime. We pulled out a game at Tennessee last week in overtime, and it was there for us to win again.''

The Steelers won the coin toss in overtime, but Maddox was intercepted by Andra Davis on first down and Cleveland took over at the Pittsburgh 34. Three running plays netted only 7 yards, and Phil Dawson missed his 45-yard attempt wide left. Dawson earlier made two 28-yarders.

Terance Mathis, top, celebrates Sunday's victory with teammates.

"I thought that (interception) was the game,'' Browns quarterback Tim Couch said. "I thought we'd get a few more yards, kick the field goal and win.''

The Steelers then drove from their 35 to the Browns' 6, keyed by Maddox's 18-yard completion to Antwaan Randle El at the 9. Cowher chose to try the field goal on second down -- as it turned out, a very wise decision.

His best call, though, may have been replacing Stewart, who was 15 of 25 for 143 yards.

Maddox, who signed with Pittsburgh last season after reviving his career in the XFL's one and only season, led them 77 yards for a tying 10-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 2:02 left in regulation.

"He came in and picked us right up,'' Burress said.

On that drive, the Browns were without injured cornerbacks Corey Fuller (hamstring) and Daylon McCutcheon (eye injury), both hurt earlier in the game.

"We were down to our third and fourth cornerbacks and they did some things we didn't expect,'' Fuller said, referring to the no-huddle spread offense the Steelers ran.

Despite Maddox's play, Cowher -- who got his 100th NFL victory -- isn't ready to pick a starting quarterback for Sunday's game at New Orleans.

Before the rally, the Browns led 13-6 after Kevin Bentley blew past just-signed Steelers long snapper Dan O'Leary to block a punt, setting up White's go-ahead 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter. O'Leary replaced Mike Schneck, who is out with a dislocated elbow.

Unlike the Patriots and Raiders, who piled up 60 points and more than 800 yards against the Steelers with the no-huddle, spread offense, the Browns couldn't get their passing game going.

Couch went 16-of-29 for 144 yards and two interceptions a week after throwing 50 times for 326 yards at Tennessee.

Game notes


Only five NFL teams in 32 years have made the playoffs after starting 0-3. ... The Browns are 1-3 in overtime the last two seasons. ... It was the 100th Browns-Steelers game. ... Steelers LB Joey Porter already has three interceptions. ... The Steelers adjusted their defense by bringing S Lee Flowers up as a third cornerback, allowing Porter and LB Jason Gildon to stay in the pass rush, rather than dropping into coverage.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

OVERTIMECLEPIT
pitFG7:52Todd Peterson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 1 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
1316
FOURTH QUARTERCLEPIT
pitTD2:27Touchdown
Drive info: 7 plays, 77 yds, 1:47
1312
pit2:02
Drive info: 7 plays, 77 yds, 1:47
1313
SECOND QUARTERCLEPIT
pitFG0:26Todd Peterson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 25 yds, 2:30
66
FIRST QUARTERCLEPIT
cleFG8:15Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 50 yds, 3:48
30
SECOND QUARTERCLEPIT
pitFG6:40Todd Peterson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 74 yds, 7:37
63
cleFG14:25Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 77 yds, 13:57
60
FOURTH QUARTERCLEPIT
cleTD15:00Jamel White, 4 yd run
Drive info: 17 plays, 48 yds, 16:46
126
cle14:57
Drive info: 17 plays, 48 yds, 16:46
136