Week 14: Steelers Key Matchup
Steelers' secondary vs. Cleveland QB Brady Quinn
STEELERS — SECONDARY
The Steelers secondary is in shambles forcing Coach Mike Tomlin to ponder some massive changes. Cornerback Ike Taylor has been average and fellow corner William Gay has been downright bad. Ever since Troy Polamalu has been out of the lineup, the safeties have been poor, and that's including the usually steady Ryan Clark. Gay probably won't play because of a concussion, giving way to rookie Joe Burnett. Ryan Mundy might also see considerable action in favor or Tyrone Carter at safety while another rookie, Keenan Lewis, could also find himself on the field at times. The Steelers rank 17th defending the pass and that's the lowest a Dick LeBeau coached defense has been in his eight years coaching the Steelers' defense.
BROWNS — QB BRADY QUINN
After being benched for five games during the middle of the season because of poor play, the former first-round pick out of Notre Dame has had an inconsistent return to the starting lineup. He had poor games against division foes Baltimore and Cincinnati, when he threw for 99 and 100 yards respectively, but put up better numbers in the other two games against Detroit and San Diego. He threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns against the Lions three weeks ago, and 271 and three scores against San Diego last week all while not throwing an interception. Quinn has been successful going deep during his second stint as the starter. He has completed four passes of 35 yards or more.
ADVANTAGE — STEELERS' SECONDARY
The Steelers have been giving up long plays without Polamalu in the lineup. They are giving up nearly 220 yards passing per game and have had trouble with deep pass. They have allowed six passes for 30 yards or more during their four-game losing streak. They allowed seven all of last year. Look for the secondary to bounce back in a big way. With Tomlin threatening the secondary with changes, it should have the effect for which he is looking, but maybe not as much as Mother Nature. With heavy winds expected in Cleveland tonight, it could make the passing game irrelevant for both teams and that just might be fine with Tomlin and the Steelers for now.