The Cleveland Browns return to FirstEnergy Stadium for the first time in three weeks and will face their chief AFC North Division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday.
The Browns are 4-6 and in fourth place in the AFC North Division after a 41-20 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday. At 4-6 and in second place in the AFC North, the Steelers are on a two-game winning streak after a 37-27 come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Lions last weekend.
In their last home game against the Steelers last November, the Browns earned a 20-14 victory, and the team is looking to build off of that success against their AFC North Division rival in 2013.
Although Weeden and Richardson were unable to play in the rematch because of injuries suffered in a loss at Denver on Dec. 23, the Browns tested the Steelers and took a 10-10 tie into the fourth quarter.
While two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gave the Steelers a victory, the Browns got solid production out of quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who made his first NFL start in place of the injured Weeden and completed 22 of 32 attempts for 204 yards and one touchdown against an interception.
The Browns are 57-63-0 against the Steelers, including a 36-24-0 mark in home games.
As this year’s game unfolds, there are several things to keep an eye on:
A victory over the Steelers would give the Browns three wins in the AFC North Division, which would tie them for the most since the division was formed in 2002. The Browns went 3-3 within the AFC North Division in 2007.
Cameron. Cameron has caught 56 passes for 629 yards and six touchdowns, and leads the team in both receptions and scores through the first 10 games of the regular season.
Cameron’s 56 receptions are tied for the second-most and the 629 yards are third in the NFL among tight ends. He is fourth in the league in scoring (36 points) and the 19 receiving third downs are tops among NFL tight ends.
Cameron’s 56 catches are the fourth-most by a Brown through the first 10 games of the season. His 629 receiving yards and six touchdowns rank fifth and tied for second, respectively, by a Browns tight end in the first 10 games of the season.
The six touchdowns are tied for the second-most by a Browns tight end in a single season. Only Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome had more touchdown catches in a single season than Cameron. Newsome accomplished the feat three times with a team-record nine touchdowns in 1979, and six each in 1981 and 1983.
Haden has defended 60 passes in 52 career games, an average of 1.15 per game since the 2010 season. That is the second-highest average of any NFL player with 50 pass breakups since the start of the 1994 season.
His 13 pass break ups are tied for fifth in the NFL, and fellow defensive back
With an interception Sunday, Haden would be the first Brown to record a takeaway in three consecutive games since he registered one in four straight in 2010.
Browns wide receiver
Gordon leads the Browns with 751 yards on 40 catches and ranks second with four touchdowns. In his career, Gordon has been on the receiving end of nine touchdowns, all of which have come from at least 20 yards out.
Gordon is fourth in the league with a receiving average of 93.9 yards per game and second with 18.8 yards per reception. Since the start of the 2012 season, Gordon’s 17.29 yards-per-reception average leads all NFL players.
With a 100-yard game against the Steelers, Gordon would break the Browns’ record for the most 100-yard receiving games in a single season, and could become the first Cleveland player to register back-to-back 100-yard games since Braylon Edwards in 2006.
If he gains 55 receiving yards Sunday, Gordon would surpass his previous career high (805) and register the highest total for a Brown since Edwards (1,289) and tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. (1,106) both eclipsed 1,000 yards in 2007.
Browns Pro Bowl left tackle
Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger has completed 247 of 383 attempts for 2,901 yards and 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions despite being sacked 36 times for 242 lost yards this year.
Pittsburgh wide receivers Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery. Brown and Sanders have been Roethlisberger’s top two targets. Brown leads the way with 74 receptions for 952 yards and five touchdowns, while Sanders has added 509 yards and two scores on 42 catches.
Although Sanders and Brown have given Roethlisberger deep threats down the field, the veteran Cotchery has proven to be his go-to option when the Steelers are in need of a score. Cotchery has 34 catches for 503 yards, and leads the team with seven touchdowns.
Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley. In seven years with the Steelers, Woodley has registered 57 sacks, and leads the team with five this season. In the early portion of his career, Woodley registered 35 sacks combined from the 2008-2010 seasons.
The Browns remain at home next week, where they will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in their second-to-last regular-season game at FirstEnergy Stadium this season. The Steelers have a short week, as they will play the Baltimore Ravens in front of a national television audience on Thanksgiving night on Nov. 28.
Pinkston is a native of Pittsburgh.
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.
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 running back Le’Veon 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), defensive end Cameron Heyward (Ohio State) and practice squad running back George Winn (University of Cincinnati) 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.
Fans can watch Sunday’s game at 1 p.m./ET on local CBS affiliate, WOIO-TV 19 as Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and former NFL defensive back Solomon Wilcots (color analyst) call the action.
The game is also available along the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network with Jim Donovan, former Browns left tackle Doug Dieken, and Jamir Howerton on the call.
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