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