Week One - Steelers 34, Browns 7

Mike Tomlin did something that no other Steelers coach has done - he won his first game in Cleveland. Of course, those other coaches presumably played against real Cleveland teams rather than the pseudo-professional squad that took the field on Sunday. Here's a question for you - if you're a Browns fan, is it worse to follow this team than it was to deal with Art Modell taking your franchise to Baltimore and then watching the Ravens win a Super Bowl? The incompetence was evident throughout the game, but the lowlight for Cleveland was clearly the muffed punt snap by punter Paul Ernster, who was signed Saturday because starter Dave Zastudil decided to tell coach Romeo Crennel over the weekend that he felt like he might hurt the team if he played with an injury. Maybe Crennel should have flipped a coin to decide who his punter should have been. Wouldn't be a new strategy for him. Anyways, back to the travails of Ernster, who couldn't field a perfect snap and then finally retrieved the ball and kicked one off the side of his foot while on the run. If that wasn't bad enough, the Browns were whistled for FOUR penalties on the play. Just a few plays later, Ben Roethlisberger hit Hines Ward for a beautiful TD pass and the rout was on. Anyways, here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of this week's game.

The Good
The defense played great for Dick LeBeau on his 70th birthday. The pressure on the quarterback looked much better than last year, especially from the linebackers. Ike Taylor had a sack and an interception in his first step toward recovering his 2005 form. Roethlisberger was efficient, and threw four TDs and no picks. Even though his percentage wasn't great, you can chalk up a lot of that to dropped passes. And the Steelers even threw to the tight ends, with Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth catching touchdowns!

The Bad
The aforementioned dropped passes would have come back to haunt the Steelers against probably 30 other NFL teams. Luckily this was Cleveland. The offensive line wasn't exactly dominant, especially in the first half before the Browns basically gave up. Allen Rossum looked like he was intent on proving Tomlin right for trading for him a week ago, but in his haste to field and return every punt that went his way, he left me with a feeling that a similar attitude this week could lead to one of those fumbled punts that troubled the Steelers throughout 2006 and have already made Andy Reid want to try some of his sons' drugs in 2007. And the wasted field position in the first half makes me nervous for the future. And Cedric Wilson wasn't very involved in the offense, so I'm sure we'll hear from "Plaxico Without the Height" pretty soon.

The Ugly
The Browns. Plain and simple. Its hard to tell how good this Steelers team is because Cleveland played one of the worst games I've ever seen an "NFL" team play. The Steelers should have been up 35-0 at the half, but despite the wasted opportunities, the game was still never in doubt.

Up next: Buffalo (0-1)

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