Thoughts from Browns and Steelers, preview NLCS Game 3

The Steelers continued to dominate one of the NFL’s most storied rivalries Sunday as they defeated the Browns for the 12th consecutive time in a row. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the reigning Super Bowl Champions and this game proved all of the reasons why they are a terrific football team.

Early on in the game, the Browns showed some signs of hope with the success of utilizing the wildcat formation. The wildcat helped get the Browns into the endzone a couple of times but mistakes in the offensive play calling still remain. Having Cribbs, who has not really thrown the ball much at all, throw on the same side of the field as Troy Polamalu was a poor play calling decision. Cribbs did play quarterback at Kent State, however, throwing the ball towards Polamalu was an interception waiting to happen.

Other key factors in this ball game consisted of the Browns receivers not being able to catch the ball and not capitalizing off turnovers. Anderson kept hitting his receivers right in the hands on passes that should have been caught by the receivers. As a result, the Browns missed out on several opportunities to move the ball down the field and continue what could have been key drives in the ball game. The Browns also had numerous chances off turnovers but failed on each of those opportunities.

There is no question the Pittsburgh Steelers are an incredible team and this game was proof once again the reasons why. When the Browns scored in this game, the Steelers responded with a long drive down the field and into the endzone. The Steelers defense also was crucial in this game by stopping the Browns on numerous possessions and creating turnovers. The Steelers have all of the necessary tools to build a championship team while it’s obvious the Browns are still in a state of disarray.

Even though Browns head coach Eric Mangini has NFL head coaching experience, every story out about him consists of either fining players for benign infractions or trying to become a control freak. Mangini and General Manager George Kokinas (has anyone seen this guy around?) still need to weed out the bad draft picks and players from the past regime, however, Mangini’s dictator style of coaching seems to be frustrating the players and making them uncomfortable. This could be adding even more pressure onto the players and causing them to drop passes, miss blocks or play inconsistently. The Browns needed to take some order in the locker room but Mangini’s style is not resulting in better play on the field. Mangini’s penchant for trying to take control of every aspect of each player’s life seems to be forcing the players to focus on everything else besides football.

Moving from the NFL to MLB, the Phillies and Dodgers square off again tonight in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. The Series moves to Philadelphia and the weather could play a factor in this game. The Phillies are used to playing in colder weather while the Dodgers typically have the benefit of playing in the warm Los Angeles weather for most of the season. Cliff Lee will be taking the mound tonight and with the home crowd behind him, this game will be no easy task for the Dodgers lineup. The Dodgers are a tough team and will need to take a no quit attitude into tonight’s ball game.

In the first two games of this series, pitching has been a key factor. Both Games 1 and 2 were decided by pitching mistakes on both sides and that will continue to be a key role in this series. The Phillies and Dodgers have explosive lineups and can make any pitcher regret leaving it out over the plate. The Phillies have been haunted by errors in the field as well and with rain in the forecast tonight, they will have to be even more careful not to make the same mistakes.

That’s it for now. Keep it real.

Jeff

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~ by jeffrsabo on October 18, 2009.

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