PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 8: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 14-3. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

James Harrison Reacts To Suspension For Colt McCoy Hit

Ben Roethlisberger took a shot to the knee that sent him to the locker room in the second quarter, but he returned in the second half.

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James Harrison Speaks About His Suspension

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison served his one-game suspension for his helmet to helmet hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. Harrison missed the Monday Night Football match up against the San Francisco 49ers, a game the Steelers lost. After practice Wednesday, Harrison talked about the suspension and his comments were relayed via Twitter by Mark Kaboly of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

When it came down to it, my helmet hit his. Oh well. It didn't get overturned. Almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. I don't know why they let him back in, what, 2 plays later? Something should be done to them. I got a game, what should they get?

Harrison's last comment was a bit of a quip, Harrison does have a point about the Browns being punished for allowing McCoy to re-enter the football game. With Harrison's suspension however, he'll need to make an effort to avoid helmet to helmet hits, as the next one could also come with a suspension.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.    


James Harrison To Miss Game Against 49ers As NFL Upholds One-Game Suspension

James Harrison was suspended for one game this past week after the hit that reportedly gave Colt McCoy a concussion in the Steelers game against the Browns on Thursday. As most players do when facing a suspension, Harrison filed an appeal with the league, and his case was heard yesterday. But the NFL has gotten back to Harrison, and they have elected to uphold that suspension, meaning that Harrison will miss Pittsburgh's Monday night matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Steelers will have a difficult time replacing Harrison, who despite his often times overly-aggressive play, is one of the premier playmakers in all of football. The 49ers have a quarterback in Alex Smith who might become a little inconsistent if the pressure is on him, and the Steelers will be without their best opportunity to do so in Harrison.


Steelers' Response To James Harrison Suspension Muted

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has encouraged his players to tone down responses to James Harrison’s suspension. There’s no doubt they’re upset about it, just as many of them were when they came to his defense when he was fined for tough hits last season, but Tomlin is encouraging them not to vent to the press.

This isn’t to say they’re being totally silent.

“Man, they’re tripping,” cornerback Ike Taylor said of the NFL. “I don’t know what it is. [Harrison’s] getting it handed to him in the NFL way … He didn’t stomp on nobody, he didn’t punch nobody’s private area.”

Players are upset that Richard Seymour of the Raiders has now punched opposing players twice and has only received fines, while Harrison is being suspended for a heat-of-the-moment play that happened between the whistles.

Troy Polamalu’s response was more muted.

“I don’t think any football player is going to go out there and change the way they’re playing. I think it’s too late in our lives to really do that. Of course, we’re professional athletes and we try our best to adjust, but it’s tough.”

Unfortunately, that makes a lot of sense. Harrison certainly isn’t going to shy away from delivering nasty hits, but I’m sure he doesn’t want to make hits that are actually dangerous.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Helmet-To-Helmet Hits In The NFL: Suddenly A Big Problem Again, Now That James Harrison Is Involved

The NFL has just released a new video on helmet-to-helmet hits. The topic is back in the news now that the league has suspended James Harrison for his hit on Colt McCoy.

Hilariously, though, although the video seems like a clear response to the Harrison suspension, it has very little to do with the circumstances under which Harrison was suspended. All of the footage is of hits against receivers. I don’t think there’s a player in the league who doesn’t understand the rule about helmet-to-helmet contact with a defenseless receiver. (How much defenders are able to adjust their games to that rule is another story, however – in fact, as Steelers Depot points out, the first example of a clean hit in the video is that of a defender making little apparent adjustment but making a clean hit, thanks to the fact that the receiver is a lot taller than he is.)

The Harrison suspension came after a hit in which Colt McCoy was, until the last second, acting as a runner, not a receiver, in which case he wasn’t defenseless. In any case, what the Steelers and their fans don’t understand about the NFL’s decision isn’t that you shouldn’t hit a defenseless player in the head. It’s why Harrison’s hit, against a player who wasn’t defenseless until the last possible second, would warrant a suspension, which normally is reserved for really nasty stuff that happens outside the whistles. The obvious conclusion for Steelers fans to draw here is that helmet-to-helmet hits are a big problem – when James Harrison is involved. When he’s not, they’re more of a minor annoyance.

And for what it’s worth, I’m all for cracking down on dangerous hits. I’d just like the NFL to display some consistency. If the NFL were suspending everyone who made a hit like Harrison’s, that would be fine. But it’s not.


James Harrison Will Appeal Suspension At 2:00 P.M. On Wednesday

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a very difficult opponent this week in the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, and it could be made even more challenging if the Steelers will in face be without James Harrison, who was suspended by the NFL for his hit on Colt McCoy last Thursday. According to Josina Anderson, Harrison will appeal that suspension with the NFL and the hearing will be this afternoon via telephone.

Sources: James Harrison's appeal hearing is scheduled for today at 2pm eastern via phone at this time.
Dec 14 via SeesmicFavoriteRetweetReply

There really isn't a good way to know how this appeal will go because Harrison is the first player to be suspended for a tackle in a while. But based on Roger Goodell's history, and James Harrison's reputation as a dirty player, I wouldn't expect the league to shorten his suspension any. But we'll have to wait until this afternoon to know for sure.

For more on the Steelers, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog.


James Harrison To Jerome Bettis: I Can't Change My Playing Style

Jerome Bettis says that the Steelers’ James Harrison, who was recently suspended for his hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy on Thursday, cannot and will not change his style of play, regardless of the NFL’s punishments.

“He told me he can’t,” Bettis said when asked if Harrison would change the way he plays.

“He told me that it was laughable that this was the case — it wasn’t a funny situation but it’s laughable that he would get suspended over what he felt was a very, very small incident,” Bettis said. “In his words, ‘If I would have really hit him I would have close to knocked him out’” …

“James said that he’s concerned this will happen again and then there will be a larger suspension,” Bettis said, “But he said to me, ‘I’m not going to worry about it. I’m going to play my game. If they suspend me they suspend me, but I’m not going to change the way I play football.’”

I’m pretty sure Harrison’s hit almost did knock McCoy out, but that’s neither here nor there. While Harrison’s hit was dangerous, it was based on a split-second decision, and his suspension was what would appear to be a precedent-setting move by the NFL. It’s no surprise Harrison is upset, or that he feels he can’t or won’t be able to change.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


James Harrison Suspension: Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Says 'We'll Move Forward'

The NFL notified the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday morning that it has suspended Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison one game for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy on Thursday Night Football. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin addressed the suspension in a statement to the media Tuesday.

"We received word from the league office this morning that he will receive a one game suspension," Tomlin said. "We’ll accept that, of course. We are disappointed, we are disappointed for James because we know quite frankly how hard he has worked to play within the rules. He has worked extremely hard to adjust his game."

Tomlin went on to say the NFL will allow Harrison to re-join the Steelers next Tuesday, Dec. 20, following their Monday Night Football matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. He did not know if Harrison planned to appeal the suspension, but added "we have to prepare that he is not going to play.

"We’ll move forward," the coach continued. "James will move forward."

Harrison has 52 tackles (42 solo), eight sacks, and two forced fumbles in 2011.

For more on the Steelers, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog.


James Harrison Suspended For Colt McCoy Hit

Adam Schefter tweets that James Harrison, has in fact, been suspended for a game for his hit on Colt McCoy in the Steelers vs. Browns matchup on Thursday.

This is, as I mentioned when Schefter’s report that Harrison was likely to be suspended broke on Monday, really stupid, and it’s exactly the sort of thing that gives the Steelers and their fans the idea that the league has it out for them.

Harrison is being suspended for, essentially, making the wrong split-second decision – McCoy was acting as a runner on the play, or at least he was until he flipped the ball away just before Harrison slammed into him. If he’s a runner, then he’s not a defenseless player, and I doubt the NFL can feel like a suspension is appropriate.

Harrison had adjusted his game to the NFL’s new emphasis on helmet-to-helmet hits, and had been on good behavior for about a year before this.

Meanwhile, players don’t typically get suspended in the NFL unless they do blatantly violent things outside the whistles. Even Richard Seymour’s punching Ben Roethlisberger only earned Seymour a fine last year.

This suspension doesn’t appear to be consistent or fair in any way.

Scott Brown tweets that Harrison will not be able to practice with the Steelers until one week from Tuesday. Harrison plans to appeal.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


James Harrison Likely To Be Suspended For Colt McCoy Hit, According To Report

Adam Schefter tweets that the NFL is likely to suspend the Steelers’ James Harrison for his hit on Colt McCoy last Thursday.

The sense in Pittsburgh and around the league is that the NFL will wind up suspending Steelers LB James Harrison on Tuesday morning.

That seems draconian, if that’s what ends up happening. Harrison was assessed with a penalty on the play. McCoy was outside the pocket and was basically acting like a runner, in which case he should not have been treated as a defenseless player, as quarterbacks in the pocket and wide receivers typically are. McCoy did flip the ball at the last second, and it’s on Harrison to hold up and avoid the hit. He didn’t, but suspending him for failing to make that split-second decision seems unfair.

Harrison is widely seen as the poster boy for the helmet-to-helmet hit problem in the NFL, but as Behind The Steel Curtain points out, he has actually behaved quite well in the past year, adjusting his game to the new rules. Meanwhile, the NFL really only gives out suspensions for things like stomping on a player’s face outside the whistles. Heck, Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson got in a full-on fight outside the whistles in 2010 and just got fines. Suspending Harrison here is way too much, but that’s pretty much the sort of treatment by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that Harrison, the Steelers and their fans have come to expect.

Here’s video of the hit.


2012 NFL Draft Standings: Pittsburgh Steelers Would Pick No. 30 Overall If Season Ended Today

The Pittsburgh Steelers picked up their tenth win of the season on Thursday night with a 14-3 defeat of the Cleveland Browns. The win pushed the Steelers' potential draft pick down a few spots. If the 2011 NFL season ended today, the Steelers would have the No. 30 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Picking this late is nothing new for the Steelers recently.

Currently, the Steelers have the same record as the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, and the New England PatriotsBased on current strength of schedule, the Steelers would hold the No. 30 overall pick, with the Texans holding the No. 31 overall pick. Of course, the picks in the back end of the NFL Draft are dependent on playoff finishes, so they will change.

For more on the Pittsburgh Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more in the 2012 NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft.


James Harrison Could Be Suspended For Colt McCoy Hit, According To Report

The NFL is reportedly talking about suspending the Steelers’ James Harrison for his helmet-to-helmet hit against Browns quarterback Colt McCoy on Thursday night. As Behind The Steel Curtain notes, though, that would seem excessive – Harrison has been the poster boy for these kinds of helmet-to-helmet hits, but he’s been on good behavior for the better part of a year, and the NFL doesn’t typically suspend players unless they, for example, stomp on someone’s face.

If consistency counts for anything, Harrison’s penalty is not worthy of a suspension. It’s hard to call him a repeat offender, considering he clearly has adjusted to the league’s sudden emphasis on helmet-to-helmet contact …

A penalty is valid in this case, because NFL rules state the onus to stop and prevent the hit when the quarterback no longer has the ball is on the defender. However, a suspension in this case would be unprecedented.

Be sure to check out BTSC’s explanation for why that is. Harrison will almost certainly get a fine, but a suspension would seem to be draconian.


Steelers Vs. Browns Injury Update: Maurkice Pouncey Has High-Ankle Sprain, According To Report

The Pittsburgh Steelers 14-3 win over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night did not come easily, and in fact the physical affair left the team banged up headed into the stretch run. Ben Roethlisberger was knocked out of the game early, and it appears he and offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey suffered the same injury:

The bad news for the Steelers: MRIs have revealed that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey have high-ankle sprains that have been described as "not good," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned.

The good news, if there is some when two of the team's top offensive players go down in the same game: Neither injury was determined to be a Grade 3 sprain -- the most severe kind.

Pouncey injured his left ankle against Cleveland, and that is the same ankle he hurt in last year's AFC Championship Game, causing him to miss Super Bowl XLV.

For more Steelers coverage, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog. For the view from the other side, please visit SB Nation Cleveland and Dawgs by Nature, SB Nation's Browns blog.


Steelers Vs. Browns: Colt McCoy May Have Suffered Concussion; Father Angry With Browns

One day after the Pittsburgh Steelers thrashed his son Colt McCoy's Cleveland Browns, 14-3, on Thursday Night Football, Brad McCoy became irate at the Browns for allowing his son to return to the game. Colt took a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison, left the game, but returned after two plays. "He never should've gone back in the game," Brad said, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "He was basically out (cold) after the hit."

Brad doesn't believe Cleveland's medical staff even checked his son for a concussion, instead saying they examined the quarterback's left hand. He also claims the concussion symptoms were obvious, citing Colt's nausea and confusion, as well as the fact that he was sensitive to stadium and television lighting.

Colt reportedly told Browns coach Pat Shurmur he felt well enough to return to the game. As Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes, the Steelers use a different approach with head injuries: when Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu suffered ones of their own earlier this season, Pittsburgh did not allow them to return to action, despite their claims that they were good to go.

Brad McCoy says Colt was unable to recall certain details from the game Friday morning: "I talked to Colt this morning and he said, 'Dad, I don't know what happened, but I know I lost the game. I know I let the team down. What happened?'" he told the Plain Dealer.

For more Steelers coverage, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog. For the view from the other side, please visit SB Nation Cleveland and Dawgs by Nature, SB Nation's Browns blog.


Browns Vs. Steelers: Despite Injury To Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Still A Lock For NFL Playoffs

No matter what happens the rest of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are a lock to make the NFL playoffs.


Rashard Mendenhall Week 14 Fantasy Update: Mendenhall Records Frustrating 76 Yards

Rashard Mendenhall came into this year with pretty high expectations, both in fantasy football and real life football. He has been a bit of a disappointment in both facets this year, and those of you who needed him to come through on Thursday against the Browns to clinch a playoff spot, he was pretty frustrating on Thursday.

Mendenhall only recorded 76 yards on 18 carries and failed to catch a pass out of the backfield. That's good for just over seven points, and for a player as important as Mendenhall, that's just not going to get it done.

He had the opportunity to make this at least a passable game when Mike Wallace's touchdown was overturned and the Steelers got the ball on the two yard line with a good chance to score. They handed the ball off to Mendenhall four times in a row, and each time he failed to get into the endzone, being tackled violently by Chris Gocong on a couple of those carries. It was emblematic of the evening for Mendenhall.


Antonio Brown Week 14 Fantasy Update: Steelers Wideout Records Career High

For those of you with playoff spots on the line who figured Antonio Brown might be a smart play this week, kudos for your moxy. Brown rewarded his fantasy owners with arguably the best game of his professional career on Thursday against the Browns with five catches for 151 yards, highlighted by a 79-yard touchdown.

No matter what league you play in, Brown was good for more than 20 points in pretty much every scoring format. Considering Brown was probably not your first choice at wide receiver in your lineup, that's a pretty good haul.

The biggest story in relation to Brown from this game is that Brown led the team by far in targets with eight. It would be easy to see the long touchdown and figure that Brown's performance was kind of fluky but those eight targets, more than a third of the total pass attempts by Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch, show that he should continue to be a productive fantasy player.


Ben Roethlisberger Injury: Steelers QB Will Have Ankle MRI Friday

Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a win on Thursday night over the Cleveland Browns, but the big story is that he injured his ankle in that game in what looked like very painful fashion. Despite a limp, he returned to the game. That was a pretty standard maneuver for him, but the concerns over the injury have not gone away. According to CBS Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger will have an MRI on his ankle on Friday. He also commented on the injury.

“The X-rays came back negative. From what I’ve been told, it’s a high ankle sprain,” said Roethlisberger. “I thought my leg was broke honestly. It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever felt. It felt like the middle of my leg was just… they came out and grabbed it. I was asking doc if he thought it was broke and he said, ‘Let’s go get an X-ray.’ But just thankfully it wasn’t.”

Roethlisberger is obviously essential to the Steelers offense and if he is out for any extended period of time it could be a big blow to their title chances. But we'll know more about the severity of the injury after the MRI comes back.


NFL Playoff Picture, Week 14: Steelers On Top In AFC North, But Maybe Not For Long

Here’s a look at the standings in the AFC North after the Steelers’ win over the Cleveland Browns Thursday night.

Steelers 10-3
Ravens 9-3
Bengals 7-5
Browns 4-9

There isn’t much cause for celebration about the Steelers being in first place. It’s all about the number of losses, and the Ravens hold the tiebreaker over the Steelers. Also, they play the hapless Colts this weekend, so they’re a great bet to be back in first in a couple days.

Here’s a look at the AFC Playoff picture.

Divisional Leaders

Steelers 10-3
Patriots 9-3
Texans 9-3
Broncos 7-5

Wild Card

Ravens 9-3
Jets 7-5
Bengals 7-5
Titans 7-5
Raiders 7-5

It’s really too early to sort out the 7-5 teams.

In the NFC, the Packers, 49ers and Saints are all locks or near-locks to go as divisional champions, while the Cowboys and Giants fight it out in the NFC East. The Falcons, Bears and Lions have the clearest shot at Wild-Card berths.

SB Nation has a blog for every team.


Mike Wallace Fantasy Update: Despite Overturned Touchdown, Pittsburgh Wideout Has Effective Night

The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched their tenth win of the season on Thursday night, kicking off Week 15 in the NFL with a 14-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns. The big news of the evening, and for Mike Wallace fantasy owners, was the scary ankle injury Ben Roethlisberger sustained in the second quarter. Roethlisberger would return in the second half but Antonio Brown, and not Wallace, was the beneficiary on Thursday.

Coming on the heels of a two touchdown game against Cincinnati, Wallace finished with a respectable four catches for 57 yards. He was held out of the end zone this week, although it appeared he had scored his ninth of the season in the third quarter. The score was overturned when replay showed his knee grazed the grass before he was able to break the plane. In addition to the 57 yards through the air, Wallace did have one rush for 21 yards.

For more news, discussion, and analysis on the Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Steelers opponent, visit SB Nation Cleveland and SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs by Nature.

For more fantasy football coverage, advice, and analysis, please visit SB Nation Fantasy, and follow it on Twitter @SBNationFantasy.


Ben Roethlisberger Fantasy Update: Steelers Quarterback Fights Through Ankle Injury For Productive Week 14

With the fantasy playoff season heating up, Ben Roethlisberger owners had to hold their breath on Thursday night when it appeared the Steelers' quarterback sustained a serious ankle injury in the middle of the second quarter. But Big Ben would return in the second half and with a late assist from wideout Antonio Brown, would boost his numbers significantly.

Roethlisberger finished 17-for-22 for 280 yards and two touchdowns. With a little over three minutes remaining, the Steelers quarterback hit Antonio Brown on his back shoulder, and Brown flew down the sideline for a 79-yard touchdown. On the negative side, he did have one interception in the fourth quarter.

Big Ben has a high ankle sprain, which is typically a multi-week nagging injury. The Steelers, however, have a long week off before a Monday night matchup with San Francisco in Week 15. And considering he's already playing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand, it's likely that Roethlisberger owners are undeterred.

For more news, discussion, and analysis on the Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Steelers opponent, visit SB Nation Cleveland and SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs by Nature.

For more fantasy football coverage, advice, and analysis, please visit SB Nation Fantasy, and follow it on Twitter @SBNationFantasy.


Browns Vs. Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger Returns To Lead Pittsburgh To 14-3 Win Over Cleveland

The Pittsburgh Steelers improved to 10-3 with a Thursday Night Football victory over the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers will now have an extra long break before a Week 15 game on Monday Night Football. And it's a long week that couldn't come at a better time, after both Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey sustained significant ankle injuries against Cleveland. Roethlisberger took a nasty high-low hit from two Browns that resulted in the quarterback's body rolling up over his left leg. He could barely walk off the field in the second quarter but he returned to start the second half and lead Pittsburgh to the 14-3 win.

The game was certainly too close for comfort until the final three and a half minutes, when an Antonio Brown touchdown extended the Steelers lead to 14-3. The Browns drove all the way to the Pittsburgh six yard line and were threatening to take a 10-7 lead, when Colt McCoy was flushed out of the pocket and called for intentional grounding. On the subsequent play, McCoy, who was likely still woozy from a crushing helmet-to-helmet hit by James Harrison, threw a ball up for grabs to the corner of the end zone. William Gay won the jump ball over Mohamed Massaquoi to end Cleveland's scoring threat.

With the ball at the 20, Roethlisberger recognized single coverage on the outside against Antonio Brown. Big Ben quickly hit Brown who was immediately off to the races for a 79-yard score. Brown flew by Cleveland safety Mike Adams to take it all the way down the sideline for the score, icing the game.

Pittsburgh will look to get healthy with a long week off before their Monday night matchup with San Francisco.

For more news, discussion, and analysis on the Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Steelers opponent, visit SB Nation Cleveland and SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs by Nature.


Browns Vs. Steelers: Pittsburgh Fails To Score At Goal Line After Overturned Touchdown

With Ben Roethlisberger severely hobbled on a gimpy left ankle, the Steelers quarterback still managed to drive the offense down to the goal line for another great opportunity. Big Ben hit Antonio Brown for a 27 yard gain and then appeared to hook up with his favorite target, Mike Wallace for a touchdown. The Steelers appeared to extend their lead to 14-3 on the Wallace touchdown, but the play was overturned. Wallace's knee grazed the grass before he lunged across the plane, and the official review took the seven points off the board.

With first and goal on the one, the Browns defense, led by an amazing individual effort by linebacker Chris Gocong, stuffed four straight Pittsburgh runs to keep the Steelers from scoring. Gocong smashed Rashard Mendenhall on first down, and then chipped in on the three subsequent runs to prevent the score. Ben Roethlisberger appeared to want to go for it on fourth and inches, but it was a peculiar call, with a hobbled quarterback unable to effectively sneak it in from that distance. The field goal would have given Pittsburgh a lead by a touchdown, but Mendenhall was stuffed for the fourth straight time.

For more news, discussion, and analysis on the Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Steelers opponent, visit SB Nation Cleveland and SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs by Nature.


Browns Vs. Steelers: Was Ben Roethlisberger's Return From Injury The Right Decision?

As much as Ben Roethlisberger is an incredible mensch when it comes to playing through injury, his return after suffering an ankle injury in the first half has me wondering whether his return was a good idea. He’s running very gingerly, and even a handoff where he has to run a few feet looks extremely painful. The balls he has thrown so far haven’t been very convincing, including a deep ball into traffic.

In the Steelers’ first drive after the half, most of their best plays were runs by Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman; Roethlisberger completed a key pass to Jerricho Cotchery, but this drive was about the run, and I’d expect that to continue. Chris Kemoeatu also took a blatant holding penalty because he needed to protect his quarterback. I wonder if Roethlisberger is offering anything right now that Charlie Batch wouldn’t, and if the Steelers are running a risk of very serious injury by leaving Roethlisberger out there. I wouldn’t be surprised if he proved me wrong – that’s just how he is with things like this – but that first drive was not very encouraging.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Ben Roethlisberger Injury: Steelers Quarterback Returns To Start Second Half

After barely being able to walk off the field, and being transported on a golf cart in the tunnel, Ben Roethlisberger is back in the game for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Big Ben started the second half at quarterback, with a heavy and noticeable limp on his left leg. Against a porous Browns rush defense and with their quarterback on a bad wheel, Pittsburgh rushed the ball on nearly every play. Big Ben did complete his first pass of the second half, but the offense is relying heavily on Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, and Melwelde Moore.

Clearly in pain and struggling to move simply to hand it off, the Steelers may have to rely on Charlie Batch in the second half if Ben is unable to go. As for a third quarterback, Dennis Dixon is inactive, which would force HInes Ward to fill in as the Steelers third quarterback.

Via Devan Kovacevic:

For all asking: Dennis Dixon is inactive. If Charlie Batch goes down, Hines Ward is the quarterback. He played QB in college.

If Roethlisberger does continue to gut out the second half, it will certainly add to his legend of playing injured, as he is already dealing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand.

For more news, discussion, and analysis on the Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Steelers opponent, visit SB Nation Cleveland and SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs by Nature.


Browns Vs. Steelers Score Update: Pittsburgh Leads 7-3, But Ben Roethlisberger And Maurkice Pouncey Injured

The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the Cleveland Browns 7-3 at the end of the first half on Thursday Night Football. The big news for Steelers fans is on the injury front as Ben Roethlisberger left the game with an apparent ankle injury in the middle of the second quarter. Roethlisberger's left leg was hit low by Scott Paxson. Ben was hit high by Brian Schaefring and his left leg rolled up under his body as we went to the turf. Big Ben needed a golf cart to be transported in the tunnel to the locker room.

X-rays on Ben's left leg were negative, but it's still unclear if it's solely an ankle issue or if there's another problem with the left leg.

In addition to Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey also left the game late in the half, hobbled with an ankle injury that forced the club to characterize his return as questionable. Doug Legursky is filling in at center.

Charlie Batch replaced Roethlisberger, and threw two incomplete passes before the end of the half. The Steelers moved the ball right down the field on their opening drive, taking the 7-3 lead on a Jerricho Cotchery touchdown catch. But the offense stalled after that, with the Browns forcing two turnovers and knocking Ben out of the game. It's a defense that is weak against the run and was pummeled by Ray Rice last Sunday, so with Roethlisberger out, expect the Steelers to pound it on the ground for much of the second half.

For more news, discussion, and analysis on the Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Steelers opponent, visit SB Nation Cleveland and SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs by Nature.


Ben Roethlisberger Injury: Steelers Quarterback Injures Ankle Against Browns

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was injured in the second quarter of the Steelers Thursday night matchup with the Cleveland Browns. Roethlisberger's left leg buckled when hit low from the side by former Steeler Scott Paxson. Browns defensive lineman Brian Schaefring hit Ben high as the big quarterback rolled over his left leg.

Roethlisberger was helped off to the locker room by the Pittsburgh training staff. Initial indications were that he could not put any weight on the left ankle, but the hit did not look good all the way from the knee to the ankle. He started to walk with a little more power as he got closer to the locker room but Steelers fans are still holding their breath. Charlie Batch is in at quarterback for Pittsburgh.

For more news, discussion, and analysis on the Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Steelers opponent, visit SB Nation Cleveland and SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs by Nature.


Browns Vs. Steelers Score Update: Two Turnovers Prevent Key Pittsburgh Scoring Chances

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense rolled through the Browns defense on their first possession and were well on their way to a score on their second before a turnover. At the end of the first quarter, the Steelers led the Browns 7-3 and were on the move before Hines Ward, closing in on his 1,000th catch, fumbled on a wide receiver screen. The Browns fell on the ball and the Steelers drive quickly stalled.

Troy Polamalu, however, would pick up Ward and take the ball right back for Pittsburgh. The Steelers safety jumped a Colt McCoy pass intended for Evan Moore, picking it off and returning it 30 yards to the ten yard line. With Pittsburgh deep in the red zone looking to extend their lead, Big Ben would dump it off to Heath Miller who turned up an open field. Browns cornerback Joe Haden went to his knees to take out Miller and popped the ball loose. The Browns recovered and avoided the imminent Pittsburgh score.

Both teams have moved the ball, but the two turnovers in seven plays have kept Pittsburgh's lead to four points. Big Ben has thrown only one incompletion,  lighting up the Cleveland secondary with 102 yards passing.

For more news, discussion, and analysis on the Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Steelers opponent, visit SB Nation Cleveland and SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs by Nature.


Browns Vs. Steelers Score: Pittsburgh Wide Receivers Lead Impressive Opening Drive, Steelers Lead 7-3

The Steelers didn’t begin their Thursday-night game against the Browns auspiciously, as Lawrence Timmons got beaten on a big pass play on the Browns’ opening drive. A few plays later, a run by Colt McCoy was initially ruled a touchdown, but it was called back on review, and the Steelers stopped the Browns and forced them to settle on a field goal.

The Steelers then scored quickly on their own opening drive. They started with a 22-yard pass to Mike Wallace, and then Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown on a screen for another first down. A run by Wallace on an end-around produced another big game, and then Roethlisberger passed to Jerricho Cotchery for the touchdown. It was a huge drive for the Steelers’ excellent corps of wide receivers, and the Steelers offense looks like it’s in control. The Steelers lead by a score of 7-3.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Steelers Vs. Browns Score Update: Cleveland Takes An Early Three-Point Lead

The Cleveland Browns won the coin toss for only the second time this season, and promptly elected to take the kick off. Cleveland quickly moved down the field behind Colt McCoy and appeared to score an opening-drive touchdown. Colt McCoy scrambled up the middle and lunged for the goal line. It was initially ruled a touchdown but on review, the call was overturned as reply showed McCoy's elbow hitting the ground before the ball broke the plane.

With the touchdown coming off the board and third and goal from the one, the Steelers defense rose up and stuffed Peyton Hillis short of the end zone. James Harrison drove Browns tight end Alex Smith into the backfield, and James Farrior stepped through the hole to make the tackle. Cleveland would have to settle for a Phil Dawson field goal and a 3-0 lead.

For more news, discussion, and analysis on the Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Steelers opponent, visit SB Nation Cleveland and SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs by Nature.


Steelers Vs. Browns Injury Update: Peyton Hillis Will Play, Inactives Announced

The full inactives list for both teams has been announced for Thursday night's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns, according to ESPN.

The biggest news and the biggest name involved is Browns running back Peyton Hillis, who will officially play in Thursday's game. Hillis had been limited throughout the week due to a nagging hip injury. Safety T.J. Ward is also out for the game, being replaced by Usama Young.

On the Steelers side, linebacker LaMarr Woodley leads the list of inactives. He will be replaced in the game by Jason Worilds.

Browns inactives:

QB Thaddeus Lewis
S T.J. Ward
OL Steve Vallos
OT Oniel Cousins
TE Jordan Cameron
LB Quinton Spears
DL Auston English

Steelers inactives:

LB LaMarr Woodley
WR Emmanuel Sanders
LB Chris Carter
DE Al Woods
OT Jamon Meredith
WR Arnaz Battle
QB Dennis Dixon

Both teams are preparing for kickoff as the game will be underway shortly. The game is scheduled to begin at 8:20 PM EST. The Steelers are heavy favorites to win.

For all news and information regarding the Steelers, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain.


Week 14 NFL Predictions And Picks: Steelers Overwhleming Favorite Over Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns will play on Thursday night in one of the more one-sided matchups in all of Week 14. For mroe on this matchup, let's get some picks from around the Internet, starting with our pals at SB Nation DC.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14): The Steelers have a tendency to get up for big games and let down against bad teams. They beat the Colts by only three points. They topped Jacksonville and Kansas City by four. They beat Arizona by 12, but it wasn't pretty. So I'm a little nervous with that 14-point spread. I'm guessing the Steelers win, but I'm taking the points. Pick: Browns to cover.

Next, we'll check out SB Nation Arizona, who seems to have a little bit more confidence that the Steelers will be able to cover that big spread.

There's obviously only one question here, can the Steelers cover this big spread. Given how inept the Browns offense is (14.6 ppg) and the point in the season and the fact that it's a home game, we say, "Yes, They Can!". Pick: Steelers

Finally, some actual betting pros at OddsShark.

One of the most one-sided matchups on the Week 14 odds menu is the Cleveland Browns visiting nemesis Pittsburgh, a team that has beaten them 14 of the past 15 times.The Steelers are favored big and are 8-1 SU in their past 9 at home. However the Steelers have lost ATS the past 3 games as double-digit favorite and the NFL scores prediction computer picks a 24-13 final, which would be a Cleveland cover.


Browns Vs. Steelers: Time, TV Schedule, Radio Streaming And More

The Pittsburgh Steelers look for their tenth win of the season against the lowly Browns on Thursday Night Football.


Cleveland Browns Injury Report, Week 14: Safety T.J. Ward Out Thursday

The Cleveland Browns got back on the practice field today to get ready for their match up with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. The Browns will be without starting safety T.J. Ward who's been missing time with a foot injury. Linebacker Quinton Spears has also been ruled out of the game with a hamstring injury.

The Browns listed three players as questionable for the match up tomorrow, including the much maligned Peyton Hillis.

S Mike Adams (shoulder), RB Peyton Hillis (hip), and OT Tony Pashos (ankle)

Their availability for the game on Thursday is still up in the air. The Browns also listed four other players as probable, but all of the players are expected to be available on Thursday night.

LB Chris Gocong (hip), RB Montario Hardesty (calf), QB Colt McCoy (knee) and DE Jayme Mitchell (ankle)

For more on the Cleveland Browns and their match up with the Pittsburgh Steelers, visit SB Nation's Browns blog Dawgs By Nature.


Pittsburgh Steelers Injury Report, Week 14: LaMarr Woodley Out Thursday

The Pittsburgh Steelers got back on the practice field to get ready to take on the Cleveland Browns, but they will likely be without a key player on their defense. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley left Sunday's game with a fatigued hamstring and is officially listed as out.

Linebacker Chris Carter (hamstring), running back Jonathan Dwyer (foot) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders are all listed as out as well. Several players listed as questionable for Thursday Night.

LB Stevenson Sylvester (knee), RB Rashard Mendenhall (back), S Ryan Clark (shoulder), WR Jerricho Cotchery (knee), LB James Farrior (thumb), lLB Larry Foote (hamstring), G Ramon Foster (ankle), LB James Harrison (back), TE Heath Miller (ankle), RB Mewelde Moore (hamstring), S Ryan Mundy (neck), S Troy Polamalu (knee), OC Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), RB Isaac Redman (ankle) and QB Ben Roethlisberger (thumb)

All players are expected to be available on Thursday.

For more on the Pittsburgh Steelers and their match up with the Cleveland Browns, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain.


LaMarr Woodley Injury: Linebacker 'Extremely Doubtful' Against Browns

LaMarr Woodley keft the game against the Cincinnati Bengals with the lingering effects of a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the entire month of November. According to Jason LaCanfora of NFL.com, that injury will likely keep him out of the game against the Browns on Thursday. LaCanfora considers the linebacker, "extremely doubtful."

Woodley sat out of the team's practice on Tuesday, a day after Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the linebacker "might be in play" against the Browns. Tomlin told reporters Woodley "felt a little tweak" in his hamstring but didn't do any major damage in last Sunday's win over Cincinnati. Woodley and the Steelers are targeting the game against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 19 for his return.

When Woodley was on the field he was having an incredibly good season, but this hamstring injury is robbing him of continuing what figured to be a career year. Without Woodley on the edge, the Steelers will have to look elsewhere to generate their trademark pass rush, but against an anemic offensive team like the Browns, it may not matter.


Steelers Vs. Browns: Pittsburgh Hosts Cleveland On Thursday Night Football

The Steelers host the Browns with both teams on short rest. They may have to do it without wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

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