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Cleveland Browns

Defense and Cribbs combine for rare victory over Steelers

By Stephanie Storm Published: December 11, 2009

Defensive line coach Bryan Cox waltzed through the lockeroom after the Browns 13-6 win late Thursday night with a smile on his face and a fat cigar clenched between his teeth.

Indeed, it was a deserved cigar kind of night for the  Browns, who snapped a streak of 12 consecutive losses (as well as 18-of-19 and eight in a row at Cleveland for those ) losses to arch rival Pittsburgh with  a defensive-minded win that saw Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger sacked eight times.

When the Browns weren't sacking Rothlisberger, do-it-all Josh Cribbs proved dangerous everytime he touched the ball - whether it be on punt returns (he nearly broke one for a touchdown but had to settle for a 55-yard return in the first quarter) or lined up at quarterback  out of the Wildcat formation.

Afterwards, Browns players lavished praise on both facets of the team.

Defensive back Eric Wright:
   "Anytime you hit (the quarterback) early and often it makes him a little uneasy back there. They can't just step back and throw it and the throws aren't always on time.

   "We  knew this was going to be a tough, physical game. It's just how Pittsburgh plays, it's how this rivalry is and it's how we want to play. We knew we had to come out there with that kind of aggression and take the fight to them."
   "On the last drive, I was just thinking, 'Hold up, hold up.' Unfortunetly, I've been on the short end of the stick before when Big Ben has killed us in the fourth quarter over the past two, three years in a row."

Offensive lineman Joe Thomas:
   "(Cribbs) is such a special player. He amazes me every time he touches the ball. he'll get out there and the play will be almost dead and he acts like it's a punt return and finds that little seam, is able to break a tackle and get a first down. He's truly incredible and very gifted."

Fullback Lawrence Vickers:
    "Josh 'Take-it-to-the-Cribbs' - that's his name. Sometimes I have to tell him, 'Hey Josh, don't listen to you, listen to me.'  Because Josh is so used to running with 10 other people in front of him zigging and zagging. There is a difference when somebody is running in front of you. I told him, 'Let me help you' and he said, 'I will,' and we go it together and it came out good."


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