View Full Version : The matchup: Browns QB Anderson vs. Steelers' pass rush

09-14-2008, 12:43 AM
The matchup: Browns QB Anderson vs. Steelers' pass rush
By Mike Prisuta
Sunday, September 14, 2008

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 88151.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_588151.html)

BROWNS QB DEREK ANDERSON: Derek Anderson (6-foot-6, 230 pounds) went to the Pro Bowl a year ago, but like a lot of the Browns he came crashing back to earth in the opener against the Cowboys last week. Although he wasn't intercepted, Anderson completed just 11-of-24 attempts (45.8 percent), for a mere 114 yards, in the Browns' 28-10 setback.

Two of his 19 career starts have come against the Steelers, and Anderson also played extensively against them after replacing Charlie Frye early in last season's opener (a 34-7 Steelers' triumph). He ought to know what he's in for, but he has never beaten the Steelers.

THE STEELERS PASS RUSH: Second-year pro LaMarr Woodley (6-2, 265) made his debut as a starter at outside linebacker opposite James Harrison (6-0, 242) in the Steelers' season-opening 38-17 victory over the Houston Texans. Harrison (three sacks) and Woodley (one sack, one fumble recovery, one interception) turned into twin terrors against the Texans.

The Steelers piled up five sacks overall against Houston, but the pressure off the edges generated by Harrison and Woodley allowed them to generate pressure while still playing what they considered to be vanilla defenses. Should they choose to, they'll be able to throw a few things at the Browns that Cleveland hasn't seen on film.

THE MATCHUP: The still-developing book on Anderson is that if you can get him moving outside of the pocket, he'll try to create a play on the run and will become much more prone to mistakes, such as throwing the ball to the other team. That said the Steelers goal will be to keep him in the pocket and attack him there.

Anderson was a huge part of Cleveland's resurgence last season, but he still threw 19 interceptions (against 29 touchdown passes) while making his way to Hawaii. Anderson threw 10 of his INTs in Cleveland's final seven games, including four in a Dec. 23 loss at Cincinnati, a game the Browns needed badly in their playoff quest. He still has something to prove now that defenses have begun to see him coming. EDGE: STEELERS

LAST WEEK: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dropped back to pass 15 times against the Texans and was sacked twice (13.3 percent of the time). One of the sacks resulted in a fumble, recovery and long return that set Houston up for a field goal. But of the 14 passes Roethlisberger attempted, 13 were completed and he was flushed from the pocket only occasionally. Given the caliber of competition (DE Mario Williams had both of the Houston sacks) and the Steelers' success running the ball, you'd have to say the offensive line did its job in its matchup with the Texans defensive front. EDGE: STEELERS

Mike Prisuta can be reached at mprisuta@tribweb.com or 412-320-7923.