Steelers left blue by loss to Browns
CLEVELAND - There’s nothing Super about the Pittsburgh Steelers anymore.
The defending NFL champions lost their fifth straight and had their playoff hopes sacked by the lowly Cleveland Browns, who ended a 12-game losing streak against their bitter rivals by beating the Steelers, 13-6, last night in subzero windchills.
Ben Roethlisberger was sacked eight times and lost for the first time in 11 career games against the Browns (2-11), who extended Pittsburgh’s longest losing streak in six years and defeated the Steelers (6-7) at home for the first time since 2000.
“A long time coming,’’ Browns quarterback Brady Quinn said.
Pittsburgh’s postseason chances are in peril - if not over completely. The Steelers are going to need help to make the postseason, a stunning free fall for a team that hit the season’s halfway point at 6-2.
Unexpected losses to Kansas City, Oakland, and Cleveland - three of the NFL’s worst teams with a combined record of 9-28 - have pushed Pittsburgh to the brink.
Chris Jennings, who began the season on Cleveland’s practice squad, scored on a 10-yard run and Phil Dawson kicked a pair of 29-yard field goals for the Browns, who snapped a seven-game losing streak, a 10-game slide at home, and beat the Steelers for just the second time in 20 games.
Roethlisberger tried to rally the Steelers, but his fourth-down pass to Santonio Holmes with less than two minutes left was knocked down by linebacker David Bowens.
The win was just the second for Cleveland’s embattled first-year coach Eric Mangini, who certainly helped his job security by beating Pittsburgh, something no Browns coach had done since Chris Palmer nine years ago.
Josh Cribbs rushed for 87 yards out of the wildcat formation, had 104 return yards, and caught a pass for 9 yards. Cribbs picked up a big first down on a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter.