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Browns rivalry not the same

There was a time not so long ago that the Steelers-Browns game was an event.

When you mentioned the Cleveland Browns, the eyes got red, steam billowed out of one's ears and a general dislike was a polite term to call it.

Now, however, the Browns are a joke in the NFL.

I'm not sure what that means to Buffalo Bills fans, who endured a 6-3 loss to the Browns last week. But that's besides the point.

The Browns stink. They have stunk for a long time.

And that's killing the once-great rivalry with the Steelers.

Pittsburgh has won something like 113 straight games against the Browns, or so it seems. So it comes with no surprise that Sunday's game against Cleveland isn't drawing much of a buzz.

How could it? The Browns starting quarterback, Derek Anderson, is coming off a game where he went 2-for-17 with 23 yards passing. And, yes, that's for the entire game.

Somehow they won.

Will they be able to manage it again? I wouldn't count on it.

It is a rivalry game, so you can "throw records out of the window."

Aside from the loss of Aaron Smith, the biggest worry for the game is overconfidence by the Steelers.

That shouldn't be too much of a problem. Mike Tomlin keeps his men in line.

And the Steelers should be good enough to extend their winning ways over the Browns.


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I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…