Browns fail to finish off Steelers
Jamel White was a bright spot for Cleveland, rushing for 105 yards on 16 carries.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
PITTSBURGH -- The Cleveland Browns saw a golden opportunity for a dominating AFC North lead slip through their fingers.
"We gave ourselves a chance to win," said linebacker Earl Holmes after the Browns couldn't hold a 13-6 lead late in the fourth quarter. "We left some stuff out on the field that we should have capitalized on."
In overtime, linebacker Andra Davis picked off a Tommy Maddox pass at the Steelers 35. But the Browns failed to pick up a first down on the next three plays and Phil Dawson's field-goal attempt was tipped.
The Steelers responded with five pass completions.
"We were in position on defense to make some plays, but their receivers came up and made some pretty good plays," said Holmes, the Steelers' leading tackler in 2001 before joining Cleveland as a free agent.
The Browns outrushed the Steelers, 123-93. Jamel White sparked the Browns to a 6-0 lead when he broke loose on a draw play for a 54-yard pickup in the second quarter. White gained 105 yards on 16 carries.
"Jamel did today what he has done through the end of last season and the preseason," Browns coach Butch Davis said. "He has the opportunity to make a lot of things happen."
Coming up short
The Browns inability to score a touchdown in the first half kept the Steelers in the game.
"I thought it was really key that we held them to field goals," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said.
Phil Dawson capped the Browns' first possession with a 28-yard field goal. The big play on the drive was quarterback Tim Couch's 30-yard completion to wide receiver Andre Davis at the 11.
Following White's long run, Dawson added another 28-yarder for a 6-0 Browns lead one minutes into the second quarter.
With the game tied at 6 late in the third quarter, Browns defender Kevin Bentley broke through the Steelers' line to block Josh Miller's punt.
James Farrior picked up the ball but was tackled by Cleveland's R.J. Bowers at the Pittsburgh 41, giving the Browns excellent field position.
Seven plays later, White scored on a 4-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter. Setting up the go-ahead points were Couch's completions of 15 and 11 yards to Dennis Northcutt.
Couch, who was limited to 144 yards passing on 16-of-29 passes, said, "They had eight guys drop into coverage most of the time.
"Rushing three guys, it's hard to throw the ball down the field against eight guys," Couch said. "It makes it tough, but we've got to find a way to do it."