Steelers notebook: Defense comes up with stops deep in territory
By Ralph N. Paulk
Published: Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, 8:54 p.m.
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons and rookie Jarvis Jones ignited a Steelers defense Sunday that flirted with a shutout of the Cleveland Browns en route to a 20-7 victory at Heinz Field.
The Steelers twice thwarted drives deep in their territory in the first quarter before surrendering a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Defensive end Brett Keisel forced Jason Campbell to fumble, and linebacker Chris Carter recovered at the Pittsburgh 23. After a Ben Roethlisberger interception gave Cleveland the ball at the Steelers' 35, the defense stopped the Browns on downs at the 29.
The Steelers wrestled the ball back on downs three times.
“We really wanted a goose egg,” Keisel said. “To make fourth-down stop after fourth-down stop was huge.”
Brown sets NFL record
Antonio Brown became the first player in NFL history to catch at least five passes for 50 yards or more in all 16 regular-season games.
Brown now is in pursuit of the all-time record owned by Laveranues Coles, who accomplished the feat 19 consecutive times from Sept. 29, 2002, to Oct. 12, 2003. Brown had nine catches for 87 yards.
“He's just got all the makings of a guy on the upswing in his career,” coach Mike Tomlin said.
A Spartan showdown
In a matchup of former Michigan State running backs, Le'Veon Bell outdueled the Browns' Edwin Baker.
Baker got off to a good start with 41 yards on nine carries during the Browns' first three possessions and finished with 69 yards.
Bell was held in check early but totaled 90 yards on 20 carries and had a 5-yard touchdown.
Bell set a single-season record with most yards from scrimmage by a Steelers rookie with 1,259 yards. Franco Harris had set the mark with 1,235 yards in 1972.
“It's a credit to the whole offense,” Bell said. “I didn't set out to set any records or get a certain amount of touchdowns or yards. I just wanted to get better each week.”
McLendon injures ankle
Steve McLendon has been besieged by injuries during the second half of the season. McLendon hobbled off the field early in the third quarter with an injured left ankle and did not return. The fourth-year nose tackle injured an ankle in Cleveland on Nov. 24, which caused him to miss two of the previous four games. Receiver Jerricho Cotchery sustained a shoulder injury and was replaced by wide receiver Derek Moye.
The Steelers swept the Browns for the eighth time in 10 seasons. … The Steelers scored at least 20 points in nine consecutive regular-season games for the first time since 2007. … For the third consecutive game, the offensive line allowed no more than one sack.
Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @RalphPaulk_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- With so many needs, Steelers can ill afford to miss in draft
- Steelers defense doesn’t make the grade in 2013 review
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Steelers’ Worilds signs transition tag
- Steelers create cap space by re-signing Polamalu, Miller
- 6 players the Steelers will be watching at NFL Combine
- Steelers use transition tag on LB Worilds
- Colbert not detailing Steelers plan for free agency or new contracts