One week ago, the Cleveland Browns registered seven sacks on quarterback Tony Romo in a 23-20 overtime loss at the Dallas Cowboys, and for an encore, the team forced eight turnovers in a 20-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium Sunday.
The Browns forced seven fumbles of which, they recovered five. They also registered three interceptions of Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch. Cleveland turned three of those turnovers into 17 points in the win.
The eight turnovers were the most forced by the Browns since they collected eight in a 51-0 win over the Steelers on Sept. 10, 1989 and were the first NFL team to achieve the feat since New Orleans did so against St. Louis on Oct. 28, 2001.
“The way the defense was going, it felt like we wanted to be out there because we could make it happen again,” defensive back
“I felt like our defense was playing crazy. Everybody was just doing their thing. We were just so excited and happy to be out there. Everybody was running around. Even if they got a drive on us, we just felt like if they don’t score, the next play, we can get a pick or the next play, we could force a fumble. We were just hitting and they were coughing it up.”
Haden registered his third interception of the season in the fourth quarter. The Steelers had driven the ball from their 15-yard line to the 42. On first-and-10, Batch took the shotgun snap and looked deep down the right side of the field for wide receiver Mike Wallace. Haden jumped at the same time as Wallace and pulled the ball down at Cleveland’s 19-yard line.
“We were just in man-to-man,” Haden said. “With Mike, he’s so fast; I tried to get a jam on him. I got a good jam on him and once I got a jam on him, I felt like I controlled the route and he just kept running deep. I was standing on top of him and I was looking back at the quarterback and he just threw it up.”
Defensive back T.J. Ward forced two of the seven Steelers’ fumbles and had three solo tackles in the win, his first over Pittsburgh. His last forced fumble came on the final play of the game. Following a cross-field lateral from Wallace, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders tried to advance the ball, but after a four-yard gain, Ward forced the fumble.
“We came into the game and we wanted to be a physical presence,” Ward said. “We wanted to be more physical than them from the first snap. I think we came out and did that. I told everybody, ‘Make sure you get a helmet on the ball, get your shoulder pads on it.’“We know we’ve got to get that ball, give our offense opportunities and I think we’ve just got a lot of guys hungry to get the rock.”