It was about as ugly as you can get for the Cleveland Browns on opening day, as an effective Steelers attack paved the way as the Steelers opened up the 2007 season with a dominating 31-7 win at Browns Stadium. The game was highlighted by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for a career-high four touchdowns, and a total of 161 yards. The TD’s were spread between wide outs Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, and tight ends Matt Spaeth and Heath Miller. The beating was so complete, the Browns didn’t even wait until halftime to pull starting quarterback Charlie Frye. Head coach Romeo Crennel sat Frye after he threw for just 34 yards going 4-for-10 with a pick, and was sacked five times.
The Steelers didn’t wait long for the beating to begin, as they scored on three of their first four possessions, going up 17-0 by the end of the first quarter. After a sloppy second quarter in which neither team scored, the Steelers scored on their first possession of the 3rd quarter to go up 24-0, then after a Browns TD, they came back with another score and then a field goal to go up 34-7. If there is one thing that this game should show Browns fans, and trust me they won’t want to hear this – their team is bad. Real bad. They were so outmatched by the Steelers, that it was early in the second quarter that the fans were chanting for rookie QB Brady Quinn. Imagine the groaning when they saw Derek Anderson and not Quinn.
For the Steelers, they have a long way to go to convince me that they are back as the top dogs of the AFC North, but this was a great step in the right direction for them. Roethlisberger and the offense had some lapses, but when they needed to really turn it on against the weak Browns, they were able to do it. The defense looked better Sunday than at just about any point in 2006. They had six sacks for 43 yards against the Browns, and forced two picks and four fumbles, three of which were recovered by the Steelers. By all means, Steeler fans that made the drive to Cleveland for this one drove home very happy. The Steelers open up their home schedule next week vs the Bills, while the season of disaster continues for the Browns as they take on the Bengals at home in Cleveland.
Click below to hear QB Ben Roethlisberger tell the media about new coach Mike Tomlin playing off his first win as coach: