Is a win, truly, always a win?
It was rarely pretty, but the Browns defeated the Steelers on Sunday, 20-14. Led by a dominating defense that created eight turnovers and running back Trent Richardson, who rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries, the Browns beat the Steelers for the first time since 2009. Until Sunday, Pittsburgh had won 16 of the previous 17 matchups, and most weren’t even close.
But as this Browns team has proven, it does appear to be on the brink of bigger and better things. While that should be more evident in 2013, there is no denying that, when healthy, this current team is no longer a doormat.
The Browns’ defense was the true standout of the day, making quarterback Charlie Batch look exactly like he should: a 37-year-old third-stringer making his first start of the season. The Steelers went 1-for-9 on third down and mustered only 49 total rushing yards.
Of those eight Steelers turnovers, five were fumbles and three were interceptions. It was a dominating performance any way you look at it, and it allowed the Browns to shut out their rival in the second half and come back to win the game, despite a lackluster offensive effort.
As for the offense, quarterback Brandon Weeden left late in the fourth quarter with a concussion after he banged his head on left tackle Joe Thomas’ leg. Colt McCoy came into the game, but he did not throw a pass. Weeden would finish the day 17 of 26 for 158 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
Weeden continues to underwhelm at the position, and this injury might end up complicating his situation in Cleveland. Should McCoy come in and do well, a quarterback controversy going into next season will be inevitable.
For now, though, the Browns finally vanquished a familiar foe and, amazingly, have an opportunity to get three wins in the AFC North this season. The uncertain future be damned; the Browns can – and should – bask in this victory.