Browns look to end road, Pittsburgh losing streaks Sunday

Heinz Field has been a house of pain for Cleveland’s football team

Daryl Ruiter
October 26, 2018 - 7:16 pm
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) – Someone had a cruel, yet wicked sense of humor scheduling the Browns for a Halloween weekend visit to Heinz Field, a house of horrors for Cleveland’s football team.

Then again, it sure beats the normal meaningless Week 17 trip to the gallows they get from the league office.  

The Browns have lost games in the closing minutes, in overtime, to the Steelers’ backups as well as lost plenty of quarterbacks and head coaches too at Heinz Field.

The last time the Browns visited, the specter of an 0-16 season that had been brewing for months became reality.

Call it the House of Pain.

Cleveland has won just 1 game in Pittsburgh since Heinz Field opened in 2001. They’ve lost 14 straight there, left three times with their head coach being fired after the game and each of the last 5 Browns coaches have been fired following losses to the Steelers, who have dominated whatever is left of a once heated rivalry between the franchises.

How long has it been since the Browns rode a bus home from Pittsburgh victorious?

Tim Couch was the starting quarterback, George W. Bush was still in his first term as president, ‘Baby Boy’ by Beyonce featuring Sean Paul was the No. 1 song atop the Billboard Hot 100 list, NCIS was the No. 1 TV show, Jack Black’s ‘School of Rock’ just hit movie theatres, gas cost $169 a gallon, the iPhone was still a figment of Steve Jobs’ imagination and flip phones were still a thing.

The meter is also still running on a 24-game road losing streak too, which started in 2015.

With unrest growing in Cleveland over head coach Hue Jackson’s future, the 2-4-1 Browns desperately need a win Sunday afternoon to calm the brewing storm and provide hope that yet another season won’t get flushed down the drain in rapid fashion.

Different cast – While the Steelers appeared to have regained their footing atop the division since the Week 1 tie, the Browns have revamped their cast.

Josh Gordon has been sent packing to the Patriots, Baker Mayfield has replaced Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback and Carlos Hyde is now in Jacksonville, not to mention cornerbacks Terrance Mitchell and E.J. Gaines as well as linebacker Joe Schobert are all injured.  

Last week – Browns lost 26-23 in OT to the Buccaneers, Steelers had their bye

Last time – Sept. 9, 2018: Steelers 21, Browns 21 F-OT

Series – Steelers lead 58-72-1; 6-33-1 since 1999

Rankings – Points per game: Browns 23t (21.6), Steelers 5 (28.5)  

Total yards per game: Browns 22 (357.4), Steelers 4 (417.7)  

Rushing per game: Browns 5 (135.0), Steelers 26 (88.7)

Passing per game: Browns 23t (222.4), Steelers 2 (329.0)  

Points allowed per game: Browns 18t (25.3), Steelers 21 (25.7)  

Defensive yards allowed per game: Browns 28 (413.6), Steelers 23 (380.2)

Run defense: Browns 28 (134.7), Steelers 11 (98.7)

Pass defense: Browns 26 (278.9), Steelers 27 (282.3)

Turnover ratio: Browns 1 (+10), Steelers 23t (-2)

Projected starters – Offense: WR Jarvis Landry, TE Darren Fells, LT Desmond Harrison, LG Joel Bitonio, C JC Tretter, RG Kevin Zeitler, RT Chris Hubbard, QB Baker Mayfield, TE David Njoku, WR Antonio Callaway, RB Nick Chubb

Defense: DE Myles Garrett, DT Larry Ogunjobi, DT Trevon Coley, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, WILL Genard Avery, MIKE Christian Kirksey, SAM Jamie Collins, CB Denzel Ward, CB Damarious Randall, FS Briean Boddy-Calhoun, SS Jabrill Peppers

Injury report – Out: CB E.J. Gaines (concussion), WR Rashard Higgins (knee), LB Joe Schobert (hamstring),

Questionable: S Damarious Randall (groin/ankle), C JC Tretter (ankle)

Expected to play: DL Chris Smith (personal/not injury related), TE David Njoku (knee), LB Genard Avery (elbow), TE Darren Fells (knee), LT Desmond Harrison (ankle), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (elbow), S Jabrill Peppers (ankle)

Broadcast information – Radio: 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX and the University Hospitals Cleveland Browns radio network. TV: WOIO TV-19 (CBS)

Kickoff – 1:03 p.m. Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  

Prediction – Steelers 27, Browns 23