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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Steelers 20, Browns 7

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to kickoff …

Game: Steelers (7-8) vs. Cleveland Browns (4-11)

Time: 1:02 p.m.

Site: Heinz Field

TV, radio: CBS (national), WDVE-FM, ESPN Radio 970

Here is the official live summary.

Here is our Steelers page. Alan Robinson, Ralph Paulk, Mark Kaboly and I are here one final time this season. In this venue, for sure.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Joey Bats says:

    Go Steelers…..beat the ALWAYS hated Browns !

  2. Kevin S says:

    Steelers should easily handle the Browns who folks here in Cleveland think have packed it in… I like Cincy over the Ravens… Miami looked horrible last week and the Jets are playing for their coach’s job… KC with nothing to play for appears to be the one that ends the playoff discussion and puts San Diego in.. Oh and 4 just too much to overcome…

  3. JMB says:

    If we had just won one more game vs. Ten, Miami, Oak, Minny…

    If it is the last time we see Keisel, Troy, and RC, then it will be the end of an era on the defensive side.

  4. Jim S. says:

    The Steelers have not proven to be a very good team this year, but the alternatives for that last WC spot in the AFC are awful. At least the Steelers are playing their best football of the year now.

  5. aaron says:

    Suisham misses only two kicks all year, both against a terrible Oakland team that seems to own Pittsburgh as of late. Brown steps on the line on what could have Immaculate Reception 2, sanders drops the ball against the Ravens, and the list could go on.

    It truly is a game of inches, but if you want to make the playoffs you simply have to beat lesser teams. Even if you scrap the Ten game because its the first game and the injuries hit you absolutely HAVE to beat Min and Oakland.

    The Steelers are playing better, but any honest fan knows this team is no champion, but at least they are showing signs of life. Tomlin has to fix his clock management and the terrible precedent he has set for his teams losing to the teams they should handily beat.

  6. Thundercrack says:

    This from Jason La Canfora regarding Bill O’Brien & the Texans:

    ‘According to league sources, some of the concern around O’Brien includes the lack of success of Bill Belichick disciples and the heavy-handed nature of their power grabs in the past. Also, O’Brien’s issues dealing with the AD at Penn State, and why two longtime trusted Penn State assistants recently walked away from the program without having other jobs lined up. ‘

  7. Eric Bowser says:

    Steelers fail to make the playoffs, don’t blame Roethlisberger or Haley.

    Steelers scored 20 or more points in 5 of their 8 losses.
    Steelers defense gave up 20 or more points in 10 of 15 games.

    All of this attention on the relationship between Roethlisberger and Haley is a joke and it is lazy on the part of us (the fans) and media. The lack of talent on defense (blame Colbert/Tomlin), bad game management (Tomlin/LeBeau) and horrible punting game is why the team has the near impossible task ahead of itself today.

    Enjoy the veterans on defense, most should be playing their final game in black and yellow.

  8. Thundercrack says:

    ‘All of this attention on the relationship between Roethlisberger and Haley is a joke and it is lazy on the part of us (the fans) and media.’

    The offense has been pretty good.

    DK, do you agree with EB’s comment above? Is the attention to that relationship a joke? Are we being lazy?

    DK: Paying attention to the relationship between a franchise’s star player and his positional coach isn’t optional. It’s essential. Any team, any sport. And it’s all the more so when said franchise player takes every other opportunity — though not in recent weeks — to jab the guy.

    Independent of that, I just had six days of doing absolutely nothing, so I’m feeling especially lazy.

  9. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Word is out that Jason Worilds is inactive today.
    That’s funny….Mike Wallace was inactive for his Steeler finale last year too.
    It’s kinda convenient for a guy heading into free agency!
    A healthy payday…..

  10. Bizrow says:

    Its no fun having playoff hopes resting on Geno and his coach, among others

    But stuff can happen

  11. Lad9 says:

    Raining, damp, cold and grey. Another game from Heinz Field. Greetings from section 223 Lunatics!. Jason Worilds is in fact inactive. But so are Joe Haden and Phil Taylor, and I will take that trade. My prediction is that LeVeon Bell has a big day, the Steelers romp 31-10, and Mr Clock Management is finally not a factor.

  12. Eric Bowser says:

    When the majority of articles, tweets, blogs, etc. are about the franchise QB and his offensive coordinator, doesn’t really lend itself to covering the depth of this team’s problems.

    This isn’t just here, it is everywhere in Pittsburgh. Ben this, Ben that, Ben, Ben Ben.

    This team didn’t start 0-4 because of just Ben.

    Think Tomlin enjoyed having junior varsity punters on his roster this year? It isn’t sexy to write a column or article about how the Steelers season could have been different if they had average punters.


    The lazy joke is meant in the context of why this team is 7-8…. if you think their relationship and the offense in general is the reason… that’s lazy.

    But hey, if you want to root like a junior varsity fan… keep doing that.

  13. Eric Bowser says:

    and TC, this has nothing to do with DK…. the fans and media are all getting sucked into this singular topic of Ben vs Haley and that’s exactly what the Steelers want.

  14. Arriba Wilver says:

    The Steelers want Ben-Haley as THE story? Why?

  15. twentytwo22 says:

    Dalton threw an interception that was returned deep into Bengal territory. They held Baltimore to a FG after challenging a completion that was reversed.

  16. Thundercrack says:

    There have been plenty of articles, blogs, tweets, written about ALL of the Steelers’ problems. Just not Ben vs Haley. ( and I agree with your point that the team has scored enough points to win more games than they did)

    And DK = media. I have access to DK via this blog so I asked for his opinion

  17. twentytwo22 says:

    Cotchery leads the Steelers in TDs and the Browns left him uncovered.

  18. Eric Bowser says:

    They hired Haley didn’t they…. that comes with creating THE story and perfect to hide their other issues like an old defense, bad coaching and no punter.

  19. Eric Bowser says:

    Do you think the volume of attention has fairly covered the depth of the Steelers problems on special teams, punter, defense, coaching, drafts, front office and ownership? I don’t… not even close. The scale has tipped to Ben vs Haley and blame offense.

  20. Arriba Wilver says:

    That makes little sense, and that’s being polite.

  21. 21sthebest says:

    Are you implying that Worilds is faking an injury?

  22. twentytwo22 says:

    2 INTs for Dalton.

  23. JohninOshkosh says:

    Welcome back, Dejan. The Browns uniforms would have made great fodder for Warhol’s artistic sensibilities.

  24. Arriba Wilver says:

    Kiesel again.

  25. theplanisworking says:

    Is this the RiverHounds thread? ;)

    Cotchery left uncovered by an NFL defense, but I will take it !!
    Now I see Keisel strip for a fumble!

    Watching this game is a bonus for me………… local TV has Bungles-Ratbirds. I am getting the feed out of Philly.

  26. Arriba Wilver says:


  27. 21sthebest says:

    Couldn’t disagree more. That’s all been covered during the second half. But not sure what your issue with ownership is. And haven’t heard much about Ben and Todd since the offense has been clicking.

  28. twentytwo22 says:

    1st and goal from the 9 and the Bengals hold them to another FG. 6-0.

  29. Arriba Wilver says:

    He hates us.

  30. theplanisworking says:

    Andy Dalton in postseason form again……….

  31. pattonbb says:

    Dalton looks horrible but Bungles are keeping the Rat Birds out if the end zone.

  32. cherokee23 says:

    Ravens have struggled mightily in recent weeks to score touchdowns!!

  33. pattonbb says:

    Of course he tosses a 50 yard td right after I wrote that.

  34. twentytwo22 says:

    Dalton 53 yard td to Green. 1*7 > 2*3

  35. Sarah says:

    Bold stuff Loons!!
    I guess I think it has been highlighted as our EB says….but I also feel that Ben – Haley is and always has been a bad fit. I’ve read posts (smizik and others) re how GREAT Haley’s scheme was early last year and couldn’t disagree more.

    If you check the stats, BB was converting 3rd downs at a historic rate those first 6 games or so. 3rd and 7,8,9….Ben ran around and Was Ben and converted. I was never sold on Haley despite the fast start last year. Then Ben got hurt….

    Never was sold on Haley. But agree w EB it has been highlighted a LOT this year…..and much else is wrong. Also.

  36. Go Chiefs. Go Jets. Go Bungles. (That third one was hard to write). Like rooting for the Cardinals or the Brewers.

  37. 21sthebest says:

    He likes us now.

  38. Arriba Wilver says:

    No one is suggesting it wasn’t covered a lot. The key part of that sentence is “was.”

    Suggesting the Steelers at best liked that, and at worst, planned it is what’s kind of bizarre.

  39. Sarah says:

    Agree with that. Bit of thin ice there.

  40. Sarah says:

    Fish up a TD urghhh…

  41. Arriba Wilver says:


  42. Arriba Wilver says:

    He Hate Me. (XFL)

  43. twentytwo22 says:

    Bell missed 3 games and has 800 yds rushing and 400 receiving.

  44. Arriba Wilver says:

    Wow, what a run by Bell!

  45. theplanisworking says:

    If Bell can stay healthy, he is going to be a good one.
    That is all.

    14-0 good guys.

  46. twentytwo22 says:

    Sheldon Richardson, a defensive lineman, scores a rush TD. 2 on the year. 7-7 in Miami.

  47. Arriba Wilver says:

    Timmons having a good game. Is it my imagination that Jones also looks a bit better?

  48. Sarah says:

    Totally agree. Good kid.

  49. theplanisworking says:


  50. twentytwo22 says:

    Punt from the other team’s 33 for a touchback…

  51. cherokee23 says:

    I was thinking the same thing…..and Kiesel playing like it’s his last game!

  52. Lad9 says:

    Jones does look much better from my seat AW. And Timmons is a beast today. This is a butt whipping much worse than what is on the scoreboard.

  53. Thundercrack says:

    “And if they make the playoffs I believe the Steelers will be a tough out”

    -local media person Bill Hillgrove, just before the start of the 2nd half

  54. Sarah says:

    Jets up on the Fish…..

  55. theplanisworking says:

    That sounds bad ………… ;)

    But, it does help, so……………..

  56. Rob says:

    I don’t get to watch them Stillers but at least I can watch a ravens team that looks absolutely awful.

  57. twentytwo22 says:

    Dalton 3 interceptions and the Bengal defense holds for 3 FGs. Jets stopped the Dolphins on a 4th down at midfield.

  58. Rob says:

    The Bungles are back.

  59. cherokee23 says:

    Makes me sick, but many times the Ravens pull these games out of their …… when they have no business winning

  60. Thundercrack says:

    Wonder if Tomlin will pull Ben.

  61. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jets still playing like the Jets. Missed field goal.

  62. Arriba Wilver says:


  63. pattonbb says:

    Chiefs have 7 starters inactive today. San Diego by 20.

  64. Sarah says:

    Bite your tongue!!!!

  65. 21sthebest says:

    Hey. It’s not over until my mother in law sings.

  66. Bizrow says:

    It looks like it may all be up to KC

    But, can’t count the chickens yet

  67. Thundercrack says:

    Kudos to Timmons for falling down after the INT instead of starting a dumb razzle-dazzle run back

  68. twentytwo22 says:

    Flacco throws a pick-6. 3rd INT of the game. 34-17 Cincinnati.

  69. Bizrow says:

    Well, Phillip Rivers has been known to melt down before

  70. Thundercrack says:

    Game over. Can’t wait to see what the lazy media can dig up regarding Ben & Haley


  71. Bizrow says:

    Regardless, its nice to the the Fins and the Ravens self destruct

    Beat Em Bucs

  72. Sarah says:

    Go Chiefs!!!!!

  73. theplanisworking says:

    Either SD or the Steelers get the last playoff spot.
    Ratbirds and Fishies cant get it.

  74. twentytwo22 says:

    I hope the backups on a 10-5 team this year are better than the starters of a 2-14 team were last year.

  75. Bizrow says:

    There is a report that KC is benching all 11 defensive starters.

    It will either be over by half time, or an upset

  76. Sarah says:

    Bite your tongue!!!!!!

  77. theplanisworking says:

    Reid benching 20 of 22 starters.

  78. Bizrow says:

    Wasn’t there some fuss when an NBA coach did kinda the same thing?

  79. chethejet says:

    Who do we pay to knock Rivers out the first passing play? Bounty gate works for me.

  80. Sarah says:

    Seriously? KC has been awful last few games, wouldn’t they want to go hard and end the season pointing up ??

    Or do I dream???

  81. Bizrow says:

    Holy crap

  82. Dom says:

    TD for Kansas City!

  83. aaron says:

    Wow! Go chiefs! What an amazing start! If any franchise can blow an opportunity it is San Diego. Here is hoping the ghost of “Marty ball” lives on today!

  84. theplanisworking says:

    Popovich and the Spurs fined for doing that last year.

    I understand not wanting to get your players injured, but 20 of 22 starters benched? Sheesh.

  85. theplanisworking says:

    Only good thing about the Chargers? ……….. Cheerleaders.

  86. 21sthebest says:

    Not quite the same thing to me Biz. It was a November game when Popovich sent star players home.

  87. I can see his logic. This game doesn’t effect them in any way. Maybe Chase Daniel can have a big day.

  88. defil21 says:

    TD KC! 21-14. We did it to Buffalo in 04 with our back ups when all Buffalo needed was to beat us to make the playoffs.

  89. Bizrow says:

    Think Cueto when you chant this

    Philip Rivers

    Philip Rivers

    And the ghost of Norv Turner ;-)

  90. Bizrow says:

    Yup, but I think the league made a fuss about it

  91. Bizrow says:

    Character of the game thingie

  92. pattonbb says:

    Browns to fire Chudzinski after just 1 season.

  93. theplanisworking says:

    Biz, Stern was mad because the game was a national TV game. He also felt since the Heat used “dynamic” pricing for the game, the fans who had to pay more to see it were being cheated.

    he did it again this year already, but no fine was forthcoming.

  94. What a mess of a franchise.

  95. theplanisworking says:

    Then they wonder why they stink every year.

  96. defil21 says:

    10 point KC lead.

  97. Dom says:

    Why? How could anyone have turned that around in a year? Too many head coaches is part of the reason they have been as bad as they been for as long as they have.

  98. pattonbb says:

    SD just tied it up.

  99. pattonbb says:

    Fear not Jandy…KC is in field goal range with 2 min to play!

  100. JohninOshkosh says:

    C’mon Chiefs.

  101. theplanisworking says:


    Way to go KC!

  102. pattonbb says:


  103. defil21 says:

    CHOKE CHOKE CHOKE and F@#$ F@#$ F@#$

  104. theplanisworking says:

    Its an Andy reid coached team, you expected something different?

  105. toochca says:

    WTH! Chargers fake punt, chiefs strip the ball and they rule him down

  106. Milo Hamilton says:

    Bill Leavy’s revenge.

  107. defil21 says:

    NO Whistle blew.

  108. TJ says:

    How I the world was that blown dead when the pile is still moving?????? INTEGRITY of the game my a$$

  109. defil21 says:

    No, not really. I told my friend go for TD, and go figure they miss FG.

  110. toochca says:

    That’s what I wanted to know!

  111. Milo Hamilton says:

    There’s no reason to warm up the kicker. A tie doesn’t mean anything to anyone.

  112. TJ says:

    MOVING forward

  113. TJ says:

    Illegal contact and not pass interference…. LOVE it

  114. toochca says:

    They better not go for the tie!

  115. Milo Hamilton says:

    Well, after all these years I guess Bill Leavy can finally get a good night’s sleep.

  116. cherokee23 says:


  117. defil21 says:

    He should have ran the dang ball he had a darn blocker, but in the end we have no one to blame but ourselves. I hope Indy smokes KC next week.

  118. toochca says:

    He still wouldn’t have made it

  119. Thundercrack says:

    Fire Reid!

  120. defil21 says:

    Probably not but it looked like he had daylight in front of him.

  121. Milo Hamilton says:

    For some reason, Andrew Luck just became my favorite player.

  122. brandie says:

    and the clock ticks on…i hate you andy reid.

  123. toochca says:

    Two more defenders about 10 yards downfield that would have closed in on him. That was what I was looking for in the replay

  124. defil21 says:

    I hope it comes down to a FG and Scooby Doo screws up again.

  125. defil21 says:

    Gotcha yeah cant say I was paying that much attention after he threw it past the line of scrimmage but it looked like he had some room.

  126. Drew71 says:

    That whole missed FG thingee is like the almost-TD-but-stepped-out-of-bounds ending against Miami.




    There you go.

  127. 21sthebest says:

    The game contines under sudden death had KC kicked a game tying field goal.

  128. aaron says:

    As painful as that was, the Steelers have no one to blame but themselves. With that being said, succuop with the way it is pronounced does indeed rhyme with “f*** up”….just sayin.

  129. Drew71 says:

    Andy Reid wouldn’t play Bortuzzo either.

  130. TJ says:

    I seriously would have rather seen the Chiefs get blown out than this ending. I wonder if Succop will come patch the hole in my wall.


  131. Milo Hamilton says:

    The AFC West puts 3 teams in the playoffs largely due to getting to play the NFC East this year. Those three teams went 11-1 in their games against the NFC East. The schedule is the NFL’s great equalizer.

  132. Eric Bowser says:

    No one to blame but themselves….

  133. TJ says:

    I think all of that should eliminate the loss of draft pick…. Oh and add in the wonderful job by Levy and crew today.

  134. theplanisworking says:

    Guess that is why they play the games.

    In the preseason, the NFC East was considered a strong division, with the Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants expected to contend for playoff spots.
    No one knew the whole division would stink.

    Steelers didnt exactly play murderer’s row by drawing the NFC North.

  135. theplanisworking says:


    So you arent blaming Ryan Succop???????????? ;) ;)

  136. defil21 says:

    How many teams did we play with a winning record this year 4 if you count Cincy twice. NE and GB being the other 2.

  137. defil21 says:

    I blame Canada and myself for not cheering enough this year. I need to rededicate myself.

  138. TJ says:

    So the GM trades away your #1 running back which leads you to use roughly 5 or 6 different starting running backs, your former #1 pick QB is benched in favor of a QB cut by 3 other teams, then forced to use a total of 5 different starting QBs during the year due to injuries and the first year coach in Cleveland gets fired??? Man talk about taking the fall.

    They were just talking today about how Chudzinski and group had changed the mentality of the team and now he’s fired?? Sounds like they must want Bill O’Brien pretty bad.

  139. TJ says:

    As difficult as it was to see the season end like it did… Does anyone honestly believe we would have beat the bengals? We lost at home to Miami in the snow. Only thing that KC did was save Tomlin some grief if they ended up giving up playoff records for yards and points.

  140. theplanisworking says:



  141. defil21 says:

    They would have beat Cincy in the playoffs. Marvin Lewis can’t win a big game either, and the Bengals would have been the Bungles. Andy Dalton is not a big game QB. With 7 at QB you always have a chance.

  142. TJ says:

    Applaud your confidence but our record and performance in big games speaks for itself this year.

    Seriously a horrible way to have it all end. Goodell is probably walking on clouds right now.

  143. theplanisworking says:

    That’s why the Clowns are the Clowns.

    They change QB’s every year, coaches every other year.

    But at least they don’t have that “choking dog” Succop as their kicker. ;)

  144. theplanisworking says:

    Speaking of GODell, wonder what the penalty will be regarding the draft?

  145. Milo Hamilton says:

    I didn’t say anything about the Steelers there, did I ?

  146. defil21 says:

    I just think the Steelers were starting to peak, granted it’s too late but I think they would have given Cincy hell in the playoffs.

  147. defil21 says:

    Hopefully a 7th rounder at worst.

  148. Thundercrack says:

    That’s why they need an 18 game schedule.

  149. defil21 says:

    Or 7 playoff teams with the 1 seed getting the only bye week.

  150. TJ says:

    Until Goodell holds his officials as accountable as teams for integrity he will be a JOKE.

    That fake punt; the aftermath of that situation happened so fast it was unreal. I don’t even think they had a chance to show the correct angle of the replay on TV. All they showed was Weddle getting the ball in a view from behind the line. That whole “whistle blown” was crap. If it had blown why did the official closest to the pile run out of the way of the KC player as he took off round the corner with the ball???

  151. TJ says:

    Or eliminate kickers and punters.

  152. theplanisworking says:

    If kickers and punters were eliminated, who would be the new “choking dogs”? And would they then get eliminated?

    Un-inquiring minds want to know.

  153. defil21 says:

    That was crap. Like Milo said Bill Leavy can sleep in peace now.

  154. cherokee23 says:


  155. TJ says:

    There are more than 5 billion people on this earth and yet they can’t manage to find 32 kickers that can put the ball through the uprights with ease. Yes some do make it look easy… But can’t find 32 who can kick through the uprights and put the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs??? To me that is god’s way of saying it’s not meant to be.

    Next on line for elimination would be corner backs. You cannot come within 5 yards of a receiver without getting a flag. But then again the way teams throw the ball around the next position could be the RB. Jets proved today you can use a DL for a short TD run.

    All of this is sarcasm but really… 32 out of 5 billion people??

  156. Milo Hamilton says:

    Just checked in on Mike Pereira. He says that on the fake punt, forward progress was clearly not stopped & the ruling should have been a strip and a fumble.

    But maybe it shouldn’t have gotten that far. The Chargers were in an illegal defensive formation on the missed field goal with 6 players on one side of the ball. The Chiefs should have gotten a 2nd chance 5 yards closer. Kind of reminiscent of the Pitt-Notre Dame game last year where the officials missed 2 Irish players with identical numbers on Pitt’s potential game winning field goal.

    Ladies & Gentlemen, Bill Leavy’s shining hour.

  157. Milo Hamilton says:

    Should read – a strip & a touchdown. Game over.

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