Browns QB Quinn set for shot at Steelers
BEREA, Ohio — Like so many Ohio kids raised on football, Brady Quinn developed a strong distaste for everything Steelers.
Growing up a die-hard Browns fan, Cleveland's quarterback learned from an early age that those neighbors from Pennsylvania wearing black and gold were the enemy, Iron City villains to be despised and beaten whenever possible. Quinn's heroes wore brown and orange.
So, which of the Steelers did he hate most• Jerome Bettis• Rod Woodson• Greg Lloyd• Bill Cowher?
"I don't know," Quinn said Tuesday. "I wasn't really fond of any of them. That's usually how it works."
Quinn, who has been showing signs he could blossom into a solid NFL starter, will face Cleveland's bitter rival for the first time as a pro when the Browns (1-11) host the Steelers (6-6) on Thursday night.
When the teams met Oct. 18 at Heinz Field, Quinn watched from the sideline as the Steelers won their 12th straight over the Browns, 27-14. He had lost his starting job to Derek Anderson a few weeks earlier, benched after two starts by coach Eric Mangini.
Quinn has been back under center for five starts, and it's his turn to try and end the Steelers' dominance over the Browns — 18 wins in 19 games since 2000. Cleveland hasn't beaten the Steelers since Oct. 5, 2003, when Tim Couch directed the Browns to a 33-13 win.
Since then, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Anderson and Bruce Gradkowski — who directed Oakland to a comeback win over the Steelers last week — all have failed to knock off the Steelers.
Quinn's up. But is he up to it?
He's coming off a three-touchdown, 271-yard performance against San Diego, Quinn's second impressive outing in his last three games. After throwing one TD pass and five interceptions in his first three starts, he has seven TDs and not a single pick in his past three.
Quinn has thrown 126 consecutive passes without an interception, the second-longest active streak in the league.
"I'm just trying to make good decisions, trying to take care of the football," he said. "It always gives us a chance to win. The only statistic that really matters is wins and losses. We're still searching for that win."
Quinn is 0-7 as a starter this season and 1-9 in his stop-and-start pro career. He says he feels more comfortable than at any time in three years and believes he can develop into the quarterback Cleveland banked on getting when they selected him in the first round of the 2007 draft.
"I hope so," he said. "That's the intent. I've always felt that was my ability and everything. I just have to continue to grow and mature and learn and get better."