Safety Chris Crocker was still lamenting the Browns being whipped 41-0 by the Steelers when he made a prediction about what the Ravens might try Sunday in the final game of the season.
"Baltimore and Pittsburgh are mirror teams of each other," he said. "They both run the ball, and they both play the same kind of defense."
The Ravens used a stout defense to beat the Browns 16-3 in Baltimore on Oct. 16. The Browns have a different look this time with Charlie Frye at quarterback, but they remain vulnerable to a strong running team, and they do not pick up blitzes well. The Steelers rushed for 209 yards, and they sacked Frye eight times.
Coach Romeo Crennel announced no plans to go back to Trent Dilfer for the last game. The Browns are still looking for their first victory in the AFC North. As poor as their record was during most of their first six years, they managed to win at least one division game each year.
Though Reuben Droughns has had an excellent season by Browns standards, rushing for 1,192 yards, he has been wearing down for the past month. He was held to a season-low 36 yards by the Steelers, and when Droughns is not effective, Frye might as well have a target on his chest.
In the recent past, the Browns could count on the Ravens offense struggling, but that is no guarantee anymore, based on the 48 points Baltimore scored against the Packers. Anthony Wright was the Baltimore quarterback when the Ravens were held to a touchdown and three field goals in October. Now the Browns will have to contend with Kyle Boller.
The Browns believe Boller can be flustered if the defense can get any pressure on him. The problem is, the Browns don't get much pressure on any quarterback. They have an NFL-low 21 sacks. Crennel admits it is a problem that won't be resolved without acquiring new players through free agency or the draft.
MOST EMBARRASSING: The Steelers scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and never let up while whipping the Browns 41-0 Saturday. Cornerback Daylon McCutcheon, a rookie when the Browns were reborn in 1999, said it was the most embarrassing loss in his career.
Jerome Bettis scored the Steelers' first touchdown. The line of scrimmage was the Browns 2. Linebacker Ben Taylor hit him at the 3, and Bettis dragged Taylor into the end zone. The play set the tone for the entire day. Hines Ward, Willie Parker, Verron Haynes and Quincy Morgan added touchdowns. Jeff Reed kicked two field goals.
The Steelers outgained the Browns 196 yards to 1 in the first quarter. By the end of the game, more Steelers fans than Browns fans were in Cleveland Browns Stadium.