It’s been said by many people that ultra-versatile Joshua Cribbs does just about everything for the Browns except drive the team bus.
After another game in which he did all that – and more – the conversation again turned to that team bus.
Only this time, it was Cribbs doing the talking.
“I hope the Steelers enjoy the ride home,” Cribbs said after the Browns’ 13-6 win over Pittsburgh at Cleveland Browns Stadium that ended a 12-game losing streak to their arch rivals dating back to the pre-Cribbs days of 2003.
“I’ve had that ride for five years after losses over in Pittsburgh, hearing that bus engine all the way back home. Now they can hear that bus engine all the way back to Pittsburgh as they look at the stats.”
The stats showed that Cribbs returned a punt 55 yards, setting up the first of Phil Dawson’s two 29-yard field goals.
They also showed that Cribbs, working out of the wildcat alignment, rushed for a game-high 87 yards in eight carries, including a 37-yarder that set up the second field goal for a 6-0 second-quarter lead.
“The coach (Eric Mangini) came in at halftime (when the Browns led 13-3) and said, ‘Don’t come back in here after the game without a win,’ ” Cribbs said. “If we would have lost this game, I just would have gotten into my car and driven home in my uniform. Now that we won, though, I can get a shower, take my time and relax.”
He earned it.
“Josh is outstanding, exciting,” Mangini said. “People feed off his energy and toughness.
“It’s nice to see what he did tonight, but it’s not surprising.”
It’s not surprising to Jim Brown, either.
Added the Browns Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, now an executive advisor to the team, “He has the kind of dedication any player should have. He gives it his all in all ways. He’s an example of what a player should be. The level he sets is so real.
“He goes down on kicks and makes the tackle, and he runs the ball. He’s a different breed.”
And had Cribbs been forced to drive home in his uniform, then he would have been even more different.
DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN: The Steelers’ win streak over the Browns began on Nov. 23, 2003 at Cleveland. The score? It was 13-6, the same as Thursday.
THE COLD, HARD FACTS: It’s impossible to know for sure because the Browns don’t keep such statistics, but this is believed to be one of the coldest home games in team history. The temperature at game time was 15 degrees, and a 25-to-48 mph wind blowing out of the west-southwest knocked the wind-chill factor down to minus-6. The coldest game the Browns have ever played is believed to be the 1980 AFC divisional playoff contest against the Oakland Raiders, in which the temperature was zero with a wind-chill factor of minus-37. Next is believed to be the 1989 home finale against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 17, in which the temperature was 8 with a wind-chill factor believed to be much less. Also, there’s the 1950 American Conference playoff game with the New York Giants. There was no such thing as a wind-chill factor then, but the temperature was 14 and it was said the blustery conditions made it feel much colder. Then, too, there’s the Dec. 11, 1977 game against the Houston Oilers, in which the temperature was 12 with a much colder feel.
THE COLD, HARD FACTS II: As stated before, for whatever reason, the Browns announce only tickets distributed, not people in the seats, and there looked to be about the same number of people as were at last Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers, about 48,000. The tickets distributed were 69,009. Interestingly enough, the only Browns home attendance in history to end with 009 was also against Pittsburgh, when 83,009 showed up on Nov. 19, 1972 for a 26-24 Browns win.
TURKEY TALK: Former Browns defensive end Joe “Turkey” Jones, whose memorable spike-sack of quarterback Terry Bradshaw on Oct. 10, 1976 still epitomizes the rivalry with Pittsburgh, attended the game as a guest of the team. Now retired after working 28 years in the airline industry, the Dallas resident travels around the country doing charity work.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Not that you care, but we feel compelled to report that a new Cleveland Browns Stadium was set when a media member about as wide as he was tall took seven large chocolate chip cookies in the food line at halftime. There is no word on whether he went back for seconds – or thirds.
UP NEXT: The Browns are idle for a week and a half, not playing again until Dec. 20 when they visit the Kansas City Chiefs.