|Last 3 Games||1-2||-1.7||1-2||2-1||21.0||9.0||292.0||(5.2)||1.0||26.3||10.3||399.0||(6.2)||1.0|
|Offense (All Games)||19.5||9.1||17.4||28:09||25-97||(3.9)||20-36||57.3%||217||(6.1)||60-314||(5.2)||(16.1)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||23.3||11.5||19.7||30:03||27-116||(4.3)||21-34||61.0%||230||(6.7)||61-346||(5.6)||(14.8)|
|Offense Road Games||19.3||9.4||19.6||27:33||22-92||(4.1)||23-39||60.3%||266||(6.9)||61-358||(5.8)||(18.6)|
|Defense (All Games)||22.9||11.3||21.9||32:27||29-120||(4.2)||24-38||62.9%||253||(6.6)||67-374||(5.6)||(16.3)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||22.8||11.2||20||30:22||27-114||(4.3)||22-36||61.5%||239||(6.7)||62-353||(5.7)||(15.5)|
|Defense Road Games||27.0||12.0||25.6||33:43||28-120||(4.3)||27-41||66.2%||286||(6.9)||69-406||(5.9)||(15)|
|Stats For (All Games)||1.1||0.3||1.5||0.5||14-4||30.8%||1-0||42.9%||3-80||(25.5)||3-40||(15)||7-62|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||0.8||0.7||1.5||1.7||13-5||38.7%||1-0||47.0%||3-66||(23.6)||23-2||(9.8)||6-54|
|Stats For (Road Games)||0.7||0.7||1.4||-0.3||13-4||33.3%||1-1||50.0%||3-89||(25.8)||2-22||(12.9)||9-80|
|Stats Against (All Games)||1.1||0.8||1.9|| ||14-5||38.1%||1-0||63.6%||3-54||(19.7)||2-22||(10.1)||8-63|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1||0.7||1.7|| ||13-5||38.2%||1-0||54.8%||3-67||(23.7)||23-2||(9.8)||7-55|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||0.7||0.4||1.1|| ||14-6||43.9%||1-1||80.0%||3-53||(19.4)||2-19||(12.3)||8-67|
|Last 3 Games||0-3||-5.7||0-3||2-1||19.3||6.7||336.0||(5.8)||2.3||24.7||11.0||325.3||(4.9)||1.3|
|Offense (All Games)||20.8||10.7||19.3||32:19||26-97||(3.8)||23-37||61.5%||244||(6.6)||62-341||(5.5)||(16.4)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||23.5||11.4||19.9||31:39||28-116||(4.2)||21-35||61.6%||233||(6.8)||62-349||(5.6)||(14.9)|
|Offense Home Games||18.6||10.0||18.9||31:50||27-105||(3.9)||20-35||57.4%||211||(6.1)||62-316||(5.1)||(17)|
|Defense (All Games)||20.3||10.7||17.0||27:51||24-87||(3.6)||18-33||56.4%||185||(5.7)||57-273||(4.8)||(13.5)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||22.3||10.7||19.4||30:53||27-113||(4.2)||21-35||61.3%||232||(6.6)||62-345||(5.6)||(15.4)|
|Defense Home Games||15.6||8.4||16.1||28:18||25-79||(3.1)||17-33||52.4%||174||(5.2)||58-253||(4.3)||(16.2)|
|Stats For (All Games)||0.9||1.1||2.0||-0.9||14-6||42.2%||1-0||46.2%||3-69||(25.4)||3-19||(7.2)||6-59|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||0.9||0.7||1.6||1.9||13-5||38.4%||1-0||49.2%||3-65||(23.4)||22-2||(9.5)||6-54|
|Stats For (Home Games)||0.6||0.7||1.3||-0.3||14-5||36.0%||1-0||28.6%||3-56||(21.8)||2-11||(5.1)||6-59|
|Stats Against (All Games)||0.6||0.5||1.1|| ||13-5||35.7%||1-0||77.8%||3-69||(24)||2-20||(10.4)||6-54|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1||0.7||1.7|| ||13-5||37.1%||1-0||52.0%||3-72||(24)||24-2||(10.1)||7-55|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||0.4||0.6||1.0|| ||14-5||32.7%||1-1||75.0%||3-68||(21.6)||3-26||(10.1)||6-58|
|Average power rating of opponents played: CLEVELAND 19.8, PITTSBURGH 19.1|
|12/30/2012||@ PITTSBURGH|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|11/4/2012||@ NY GIANTS||24-20||W||3||W||48.5||U||35-158||21-30-191||2||22-68||10-24-114||1|
|12/30/2012||CLEVELAND|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|CLEVELAND: In a perfect world, head coach Pat Shurmur would make this offense much more pass-heavy, but rookie Trent Richardson is his best offensive player by a wide margin. They'll continue to pound the ball between the tackles on early downs, and Richardson can stay on the field for three downs. There's not a lot of creativity with this running scheme, some man blocking and inside zone runs. If Montario Hardesty is able to keep his roster spot this season, he will likely spell Richardson on early downs when necessary. Veteran Brandon Jackson will probably split third down reps with Richardson. The red zone reps will be Richardson's, as everything Cleveland does in the red zone is based on the run. Like Shurmur, new offensive coordinator Brad Childress comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree, so there will be no big changes. With Brandon Weeden starting, this will continue to be a classic West Coast attack, so Greg Little will continue to see the majority of passes. TE Benjamin Watson is the default No. 2 over the middle of the field, while Mohamed Massaquoi's lack of separation skills relegate him to being an infrequent target. They also find uses for No. 2 TE Evan Moore, who can stretch the middle of the field. They'll run some screens for Richardson. In the red zone, they rarely look outside the hash marks when they throw, instead trying to isolate Moore one-on-one or looking for Josh Cribbs to win a battle over the middle. Cleveland actually allowed the fifth-fewest points in the league and finished 10th in total defense last year, but the Browns don't make enough big plays necessary to compensate for what's been a weak offense. Manning the middle after Cleveland's switch to a 4-3 defense was D'Qwell Jackson, whose 116 solo tackles were the most anyone in the NFL has had since 2007. The best player on this unit is DE Jabaal Sheard, who dominated as a rookie, playing every down and piling up six sacks in his final seven games. He may see more double teams now, but he'll continue to be a force who's always on the field. Many figured Ahtyba Rubin's gaudy tackle totals would drop last year when Cleveland switched to a 3-4 defense, but he remained a run-stuffing monster and also started flashing some pass-rushing ability in 2011. Free-agent signee Frostee Rucker is not a great pass rusher, but when he gets his hands on a ball carrier, he tends to finish the job. T.J. Ward's disappointing 2011 was cut short by a serious foot sprain, but he's still one of the more promising young downhill safeties in the NFL. Shutdown cornerback Joe Haden battled a knee injury for parts of last season and should also be better in 2012. |
|PITTSBURGH: Much was made about former coordinator Bruce Arians' aversion to the running game, and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley (who was the head coach of the run-heavy Chiefs) seems to have been brought in to correct that. The Steelers have a big, man-blocking line and Haley prefers the committee approach. With Rashard Mendenhall recovering from a torn ACL, Isaac Redman will get a heavy workload early in the season. Jonathan Dwyer figures to take a chunk of the early down reps. Redman can handle third down duties, though Baron Batch could push him for that role. Batch might have held that role a year ago had he not torn his ACL. Haley used to oversee the Cardinals' offense, so he's not lost in the passing game. Expect a lot of three-receiver sets and spread principles, with Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown on the outside and Emmanuel Sanders in the slot. Ben Roethlisberger's trademark is improvising and stretching out plays. Wallace might more often be the primary target, but Brown has shown more of an ability to shake open once the play breaks down. Sanders will be the primary target in the middle of the field. Tight end Heath Miller often stays in to protect. When the Steelers throw near the goal line, it's often play-action to someone in the middle of the field (Miller or the slot receiver, possibly Sanders now). Wallace's and Brown's roles are usually minimized once the Steelers drive deep into opponent territory, unless Roethlisberger is buying time on a broken play. The Steelers were tied for ninth in the league in sacks despite a rash of injuries to their linebackers. Although they forced an NFL-low 15 turnovers in 2011, Pittsburgh still led the league in scoring defense and yardage defense'the schedule is kind enough to allow for a repeat of these numbers. Lawrence Timmons' numbers were down last year because of a move to outside linebacker for about a third of the season. He'll play inside full time in 2012, and his numbers could revert closer to where they were in 2010. Troy Polamalu, meanwhile, looked a half-step slow by the end of last season due to all the nagging injuries he's been dealing with. He appears to finally be on the decline. |
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW (CLEVELAND-PITTSBURGH) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(Updates with Lewis starting, Richardson out)
*Browns-Steelers Preview* =========================
By JORDAN GARRETSON STATS Writer
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in unfamiliar territory under coach Mike Tomlin: eliminated from postseason contention. The Cleveland Browns have become too accustomed to missing out on the playoffs, and mass changes in the organization could be on the way as a result.
On Sunday the Steelers will host the Browns, with Cleveland turning to inexperienced quarterback Thad Lewis as it looks for its first season sweep of the series since 1988.
Pittsburgh (7-8) will miss the playoffs for the fourth time since 2001 after Sunday's 13-10 loss to Cincinnati marked its third straight defeat. It's the second time the Steelers won't be in the postseason since Tomlin took over in 2007.
But Tomlin said he won't coach any differently this week. The only changes to Pittsburgh's lineup will be by way of injury, not to get a look at younger players with the future in mind.
"This is an opportunity to play and play to win, to get this sour taste out of our mouth," said Tomlin, who is 62-33 in the regular season. "I am not going to approach it with that (look-ahead to 2013) mentality."
One Steeler with a particularly sour taste in his mouth is Ben Roethlisberger, who threw interceptions that led to the opponents' game-winning field goals in each of the last two games. Often considered one of the league's most clutch quarterbacks, Roethlisberger shouldered much of the blame for Pittsburgh's struggles in close games this season.
The Steelers are 3-5 in games decided by three points or less.
"A lot of it just has to do with me not playing well enough down the stretch," he said. "Fourth-quarter drives or last-minute throws, I'm just not making it happen, so my best answer would be that I just didn't play well enough."
Roethlisberger's eight interceptions are the second fewest of his career, but four have come in the last three games since he returned from shoulder and rib injuries sustained against Kansas City on Nov. 12, leading some to believe he still shouldn't be playing.
He's thrown six touchdowns during the same span. Roethlisberger tallied 17 TDs and four picks in his nine games before being injured.
"We can talk about that in the offseason maybe, but I feel good enough to play," he said.
Roethlisberger will play without one of his favorite targets, as Pro Bowler Heath Miller will have surgery on Thursday to repair a torn ACL and MCL suffered in Sunday's loss. Miller's 19 red-zone targets are tied for the NFL's fourth-most and his eight receiving touchdowns are tied for third among tight ends.
The Browns (5-10) can't avoid their 11th 10-plus loss season in the last 14 years after Sunday's 34-12 loss at Denver. A victory on Sunday would be Cleveland's first in Pittsburgh since a 33-13 win on Oct. 5, 2003, and would give coach Pat Shurmur a two-win improvement in his second season with the team.
It might not be enough to give Shurmur another year, as new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner have promised to revamp the organization, which has reached the playoffs twice since 1990.
Such moves might be to the chagrin of some players, like Josh Cribbs, who is playing under his third coach in eight years.
"Every year you have a constant rebuilding process, not a good recipe for successful football," said Cribbs, whose 12.2 yards per punt return rank fourth.
The Browns may need a major boost from Cribbs to put some points on the board considering their inexperience under center. Thad Lewis, who has never taken an NFL snap, will start at quarterback with Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy both nursing sprained right shoulders.
Josh Johnson, signed earlier in the week, is expected to be Lewis' backup.
"He's been preparing himself to play all year," Shurmur said of Lewis, who last started a game in 2009 as a senior at Duke. "What we expect is he goes out and plays winning football."
To make matters worse, Lewis won't be able to turn and hand the ball to Trent Richardson, who was carted off the field in Denver because of a left ankle injury. Richardson, who is tied for second in the league with 11 rushing TDs, will finish his rookie season 50 yards shy of 1,000.
Richardson ran for 85 yards and a TD and the Browns forced eight turnovers in a 20-14 home win against the Steelers on Nov. 25. That was only Cleveland's second victory in the past 18 meetings.
|Last Updated: 9/16/2014 8:28:18 AM EST|