Sunday, April 22, 2018
Sports

Blowback from Browns

CLEVELAND — Turnovers, penalties and blown chances? These weren't the Steelers of old.

And it had little to do with their 37-year-old quarterback.

"That was an ugly performance," coach Mike Tomlin said.

With their playoff chances in peril, the Steelers committed eight turnovers and third-string quarterback Charlie Batch didn't do enough to overcome the miscues as Pittsburgh lost 20-14 to Cleveland on Sunday, a rare Browns win over their rivals.

"When you turn the ball over the way we did, you're not going to beat anybody," Tomlin said. "We were highly penalized. When you do those things, you're going to lose, I don't care who is playing quarterback."

Batch, starting because of injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich, threw three interceptions, and the Steelers lost five fumbles, the last on a desperation final-play lateral as they fell to the Browns for the second time in 18 games.

"I have to put it on my shoulders," said Batch, who was 20-of-34 for 199 yards "We had a chance to win, actually two, and I turned it over. I made some bad throws. We had all the fumbles, and yet we still had a chance to win, that's the crazy part."

Pittsburgh is 23-5 against Cleveland since 1999, but in each of the seasons they lost one game to the Browns, the Steelers missed the playoffs.

That could happen again. Pittsburgh is tied with Cincinnati for second in the AFC North behind Baltimore and visits the Ravens next week.

"We aren't going to have any team meetings, not going to sit in a circle and sing Kumbaya," safety Ryan Clark said. "We are going to do what we do after we win: go back to work and figure out a way to play better."

Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden sustained a concussion in the final minutes. Coach Pat Shurmur said he was being treated after hitting his head on a knee while throwing an incompletion.

Browns rookie Trent Richardson rushed for 85 yards, scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a 15-yard run in the third.

Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson noticed saw something unfamiliar in the faces of Pittsburgh's players afterward — he said the Steelers were deeply pained, disturbed and angry.

"A lot of them didn't want to shake our hands," Jackson said, "and I'm okay with that. It's great to beat up on them."

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