There’s a bit of revenge on Big Ben’s mind when coming to Cleveland. He’s an Ohio native drafted #11 overall in the 2004 draft. It was Cleveland who moved up one spot to take TE Kellen Winslow at the six spot in that year’s draft. The Browns are just 5-24 against Pittsburgh since 1999 and Ben Roethlisberger holds a 15-1 record against the team. Even though the Browns split the series last year with the Steelers, Big Ben was sidelined with injuries while third string quarterback Charlie Batch . This year will be a big test for them – they took down Joe Flacco earlier in the year and beat Andy Dalton once already, now it’s time to focus on Big Ben.
“Who wouldn’t be tired of 15-1?” says DT Phil Taylor to the Plain Dealer. “It’s just like with the Ravens. People are going to say what they want to say about the records – him vs. us – but we’re going to take it one game at a time. This game is on Sunday and we’re going to handle it.”
“When you talk about all the personnel, I don’t think there’s a weakness in the defense,” Roethlisberger said. “I don’t think that there’s one specific spot that you can say, ‘We’ve got to attack,’ because every single area on that defense is a strength for them, in my eyes and in our opinion.”
One area Cleveland will have to focus on is their pass rush. The Steelers have the one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, they have allowed 37 sacks so far during the season which puts them in the top three for sacks allowed. The only quarterback that has more than Roethlisberger is Miami’s Ryan Tannehill who has 41. Kruger and Mingo will have to step up this game. Paul Kruger only has 2.5 sacks on the season and Mingo, who leads the team with four, has only one in the past six games.
We may be ranked #4 in overall defense, but the Browns have allowed 19 touchdowns in 28 possessions in the red zone, enough to make sure they are in last place in that area. Jerricho Cotchery is Big Ben’s red zone target receiver and the one to watch when they get close to the end zone.
For the Browns to have any playoff aspirations, they will need to find a way to come away with a win. Otherwise, they’re record against Big Ben will fall to 16-1.