The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns 20-14 Sunday and below are my second half notes from the game. Here are my first half notes in case you missed them.
The Steelers start off the second half with a quick screen to the right to Mike Wallace, but Mike Adams is flagged for holding on the play. It was a stupid penalty to take as Charlie Batch had long gotten rid of the football. Heath Miller then proceeds to truck safety Usama Young on a screen. There were quite a few screens on this drive as Todd Haley was obviously trying to build some confidence in Batch. It should be noted that Chris Rainey also started the second half as the running back. A delay of game leaves the offense with a 3rd and 18 and they end up punting from exactly where they started the drive.
The Browns pick up a first down on their opening possession but are then faced with a 3rd and 5 following that. Ike Taylor undercuts an out route by Greg Little, but the ball clanks right off of his hands. This would have been an easy pick-6 for Taylor if he makes the catch and a play that certainly needs to be circled.
Despite being pinned back deep on the punt, the offense takes a shot deep downfield to Wallace, but Batch under-throws him and the ball hits Browns safety T.J. Ward right on top of the helmet. This would have easily been a touchdown if Batch throws the ball 6 yards farther. On the third down play that followed, Plaxico Burress runs a soft out route and cornerback Sheldon Brown undercuts the route for an easy interception. Three of the last four offensive plays run in the game all went against the Steelers and it was a huge turning point in the game.
Three plays later the Browns are in the end zone via a 15 yard run by Trent Richardson. On the play the Browns pull their right guard to the left to seal out James Harrison and the fullback comes from the strong side and takes Lawrence Timmons out of the hole. Brett Keisel is double-teamed by left tackle Joe Thomas and the left guard and Thomas comes off of that block to seal out Larry Foote. This leaves Ryan Clark as the last player with a shot but he over-runs the play and Richardson easily skirts past him for the score.
Things get worst for the Steelers on their next drive as Miller is flagged for holding on a nice run by Rashard Mendenhall. On first and 20, Phil Taylor easily swims past Doug Legursky on the outside for the sack and right tackle Adams winds up getting his left ankle trapped underneath both Batch and Taylor. He has to leave the game and is replaced by rookie Kelvin Beachum, who is promptly flagged for holding on a 33 yard completion to Miller. The drive of course stalls two plays later.
The Browns return the favor on their next drive as Ziggy Hood draws two holding calls. The ensuing punt gives the Steelers their best starting field position of the game at the Browns 44 yard line.
Mendenhall fumbles on 1st down, but Will Johnson luckily recovers it. That would be it for Mendenhall for the day. 3 plays later Batch throws just behind Wallace on a quick slant and the receiver can\'t handle it. The ball bounces up in the air for a Browns interception.
The Browns can\'t do anything with the turnover and go backwards on their ensuing drive. Brett Keisel goes untouched for an easy sack on 2nd and 12 and a few plays later, following a holding call, the Browns punt.
On third down of the Steelers ensuing possession Batch throws well short of Wallace, who had run a 10 yard out route. This was by far the worst throw of the day by Batch as the ball had absolutely nothing on it.
The Browns pick up a first down on their next possession but the drive stalls after Brandon Weeden throws incomplete on 3rd down. Jason Worilds had pressure on the play and his hit on Weeden resulted in the quarterback banging his head on the knee of his left tackle. Weeden would not return to the game.
The Steelers next drive ends with another interception as Batch again under-throws Wallace and right into double coverage for the easy pick. Wallace had no chance whatsoever at even defending the wounded pass. Joe Haden did a great job of playing inside Wallace on the play as he knew he had safety help over the top.
With Colt McCoy now in the game the Browns run 3 straight times and punt back to the Steelers with 2:47 left in the game.
On first down Batch hits Rainey out to the right with a dump off pass but the running back fumbles after a couple of nasty hits. Rainey stays down for a while but eventually limps off with a right leg injury.
On first down it appears that Foote stripped Richardson of the ball prior to any whistle being blown, but the officials rule that the forward progress of the Browns running back had been stopped. This was a really bad call in my opinion and ultimately the final dagger. The Browns go three and out and punt back to the Steelers with 28 seconds left in the game.
There is no reason to recap the final three plays for the Steelers with the last being a fumble on a final hook and ladder play.