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What to Watch For, Presented by Arby's

Posted Dec 26, 2013

The Cleveland Browns end the 2013 season with Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

The Cleveland Browns end the 2013 season with Sunday’s game against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

The Browns are 4-11 after a 24-13 loss to the New York Jets last weekend, while the Steelers are 7-8 after a 38-31 win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field last Sunday.

On Nov. 24, the Browns suffered a 27-11 loss to the Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Browns are 57-64-0 against the Steelers, but are 21-39 in games played at Pittsburgh.

There are several things to watch in the seasonal rematch, including:

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon leads the Browns with 1,564 yards, nine touchdowns, and 80 receptions despite missing the first two games of the season while serving a league-mandated suspension.

The 1,564 receiving yards are already a single-season franchise record, and of his 14 career touchdown receptions, Gordon has scored from 20 or more yards on 13 of those catches. In 29 games with the Browns, Gordon has gained a franchise-best 2,367 receiving yards, and his 80 catches in 2013 are tied for the sixth-most on the team’s single-season receptions list.

After breaking and resetting the franchise record for receiving yards in back-to-back weeks (Nov. 24 against Pittsburgh and Dec. 1 against Jacksonville), Gordon totaled 151 yards and one touchdown, an 80-yard score, against the Patriots three weeks ago. In doing so, Gordon broke Braylon Edwards’ team record for receiving yards in a single season (1,289), a mark set in the 2007 season.

In the last six weeks, Gordon has gained 938 yards, and now owns the NFL records for the most yards in a two-game (498), three-game (623) and four-game stretch (774). His back-to-back 200-yard receiving games against the Steelers and Jaguars were a first in NFL history.

Gordon ranks first in the NFL in receiving yards, receiving yards-per-game average (120.3), longest catch (95 yards against Jacksonville), longest touchdown, receptions of 20 (28) and 40 or more yards (nine).

With nine catches against the Steelers, Gordon would tie the Browns’ franchise record for receptions in a single season, and a 200-yard game would tie him with Houston’s Charley Hennigan (1961) for the most 200-yard receiving games in a single season (three).

Gordon could also become the first Browns player ever to lead the NFL in receiving yards and the first player since St. Louis’ Torry Holt (2000) to lead the league in receiving yards and receiving yards-per-game average.

Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron. Cameron ranks second to Gordon with 75, which is eighth on the team’s single-season receptions list.

Cameron has turned those 75 receptions into 848 yards and seven touchdowns. By catching a touchdown from Jason Campbell against the New England Patriots two weeks ago, Cameron became the first Brown ever to catch a touchdown from four different players in a single season.

He has caught touchdowns from Campbell, Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden and punter Spencer Lanning on a fake field goal attempt in a 31-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Cameron’s 75 receptions and 848 yards are the second-most in the NFL among tight ends this season. His seven touchdowns are tied for fifth and 23 third-down receptions are second in the NFL among tight ends.

The seven touchdowns are the second-most by a Browns tight end in a single season. With the four-yard touchdown reception against the Patriots, Cameron passed  Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome for the second-most touchdowns by a tight end in a single season. Newsome holds the record of nine touchdowns, which he set in 1979.

Defensive back Joe Haden. Haden has defended 67 passes in 57 career games, an average of 1.18 per game since the 2010 season. That is the second-highest average of any NFL player with at least 50 career pass breakups since the start of the 1994 season.

Along with Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, Haden is tied for seventh in the NFL with four interceptions this season.

Browns kicker Billy Cundiff. Cundiff leads the Browns in scoring with 94 points, and is six away from his third 100-point regular season. Cundiff has already set the franchise record with 41 touchbacks this season.

Lanning. Lanning needs four punts inside the 20-yard line to equal Brad Maynard (2011) and Bryan Wagner’s (1989) team record of 32.

Browns outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard. Sheard enters the final week of the 2013 season with a team-best 5.5 sacks, and could become the first player in franchise history to lead the Browns in sacks in three consecutive seasons.

He has registered 21 sacks in 44 career games since the Browns selected him in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Browns Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas. Thomas has started each of the 111 games and taken 6,859 consecutive snaps since being selected by the Browns with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Thomas is tied for the third-longest streak of consecutive starts among active NFL offensive linemen.

Cleveland center Alex Mack. Since joining the Browns as a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Mack has started 79 straight games, and begun 4,934 consecutive plays for the team.

Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell leads the team with 770 yards and seven touchdowns on 224 carries, and ranks fourth on the team with 44 catches, which he has turned into 393 yards out of the backfield.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Already the franchise’s leader in passing yardage, Roethlisberger has completed 356 of 553 attempts for 4,082 yards and 27 touchdowns against 12 interceptions this year. Despite being sacked 41 times for 275 yards, Roethlisberger carries a 93.7 quarterback rating into Sunday’s game.

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown has turned his team-leading 101 receptions into 1,412 yards and eight touchdowns, the second-highest on the team.

CONNECTIONS

Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer spent part of the 2012 season with the Steelers.

Cleveland running back Dion Lewis, offensive lineman Jason Pinkston and Sheard went to the University of Pittsburgh.

Pinkston is a native of Pittsburgh.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam became a part owner of the Steelers in 2008, marking the first time ownership of the franchise expanded beyond the Rooney and McGinley families. He held a stake in the Steelers until purchasing the Browns in 2012.

Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton was the Steelers’ assistant defensive backs coach from 2004-06, and later served as the defensive backs coach from 2007-10, where he helped Pittsburgh win Super Bowls XL and XLIII.

Assistant strength-and-conditioning coach Chris DiSanto graduated from West Chester (Pa.) University in 2000, and later coached with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Browns wide receivers coach Scott Turner held a similar position at the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. He also spent two seasons, 2008-09, as an offensive assistant for the Panthers.

Steelers quarterback Bruce Gradkowski played two games, and made one start with the Browns in 2008.

Pittsburgh kicker Shaun Suisham took part in the  2010 offseason program with the Browns.

Roethlisberger (Lima/Findlay High School), fullback Will Johnson (Dayton/Centerville H.S.), offensive lineman Mike Adams (Dublin/Coffman H.S.) and Bell (Columbus/Groveport Madison H.S.) are Ohio natives.

Roethlisberger (Miami of Ohio), Adams (The Ohio State University), Suisham (Bowling Green State University), defensive back Will Allen (Ohio State), and defensive end Cameron Heyward (Ohio State) played college football in Ohio.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was the defensive backs coach at the University of Cincinnati from 1999-2000.

Pittsburgh assistant head coach/defensive line coach John Mitchell spent three years coaching the Browns’ defensive line from 1991-93, and mentored Michael Dean Perry and Rob Burnett to Pro Bowl appearances.

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is a native of London, Ohio, and played football at Ohio State before being drafted by the Browns in 1959. LeBeau went on to be an assistant coach with the Bengals from 1980-83, and again from 1997-2000. He was promoted to head coach of the Bengals three games into the 2000 season and spent another two years in that position.

Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler held a similar position with the Browns from 1999-2002.

Pittsburgh wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner is a Cleveland native.

Steelers defensive assistant Jerry Olsavsky is a native of Youngstown, where he went to Chaney High School. Olsavsky later coached at Chaney and Youngstown State University.

MEDIA

Fans can watch Sunday’s game at 1 p.m./ET on local CBS affiliate, WOIO-TV 19 as Spero Dedes (play-by-play) and former NFL quarterback Steve Beuerlein (color analyst) call the action.

The game is available along the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network with Jim Donovan, former Browns left tackle Doug Dieken, and Jamir Howerton on the call.

Sports USA is also calling the game with Adam Amin and former Browns offensive lineman Ross Tucker on the call. The game will be carried on Sirius XM Channel 807.

“What to Watch For,” is presented by Arby’s. Try Arby’s King’s Hawaiian Roast Beef Sandwich or the King’s Hawaiian Roast Beef & Swiss Sandwich today.  Back for a limited time and only at Arby’s.

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