Offense still looking for a spark
Steve King, Staff Writer
The Browns scored 51 points in Week 2 last year en route to totaling 402 points for the season, nearly a team record.
Now it's 2008, and, following a 10-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Browns have scored 16 points -- one touchdown and three Phil Dawson field goals -- in two games.
"What happened last year is last year," Browns head coach Romeo Crennel said. "This is a totally different year.
"So far this year, we're not as efficient as we need to be, or can be."
Browns quarterback Derek Anderson knows the reason for the offense's inefficiency.
"We played two pretty good teams," he said in reference to the previous week's 28-10 season-opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Super Bowl favorite from the NFC. "There's nothing wrong with us. We're still the same team -- the same offense -- we were last year."
Just not as productive.
"People want to look at dropped passes as a problem, but it's not just that," Anderson said. "I've also made some bad throws."
Anderson was 18-of-32 passing for 166 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions for a 44.5 quarterback rating against Pittsburgh. For the year, he's 29-of-56 for 280 yards, one TD and two picks for a 57.1 rating.
In 2007, he had one of the best seasons ever by a Browns quarterback, throwing 29 TD passes, one off the team record.
"There are a lot of little things you need to do right to play winning football, and we're not doing them right now offensively," Anderson said. "We just need to get two or three big plays and get the guys some confidence and get them going."
Just like last year.
STANDING OUT: Tight end Kellen Winslow led all receivers with seven receptions, good for 55 yards. Included in that was a spectacular catch he made on a ball that was tipped up into the air. ... Dave Zastudil had his best game as a Brown, averaging a whopping 53 yards on five punts in the strong, tricky wind. ... Also beating the wind was kicker Phil Dawson. He hit two more field goals, from 31 and 38 yards, giving him three in as many attempts on the year. He also was outstanding in his placement on kickoffs. ... Nose tackle Shaun Rogers was a force. He had six total tackles, including five solos and one of the Browns' three sacks.
NOT LIKE LAST YEAR, BUT ...: Browns returner Joshua Cribbs played for the first time this year after missing the Cowboys game with an ankle injury. He did not burn the Steelers like he did in the late-season game in 2007 when he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, but he still averaged a decent 8.8 yards on five punt returns.
UP NEXT: The Browns and Steelers are both on the road next Sunday for 4:15 p.m. games, Cleveland meeting the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh opposing the Philadelphia Eagles.
QUOTABLES: "We're going to remember this game. We'll see them later in the season." -- Browns inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson looking ahead to the return match on Dec. 28 at Heinz Field to end the regular season
"We've put the Dallas game behind us, and now we're putting this game behind us. We're not panicking, not at all. This is a long season. We're not putting our heads down. We're going to keep fighting." -- Browns outside linebacker Willie McGinest.
"This was a big game, but next week is a big game, too. We still have 14 games to play." -- Crennel.