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Falcons-Browns matchup of the day: Thursday

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Posted Oct. 07, 2010 @ 11 a.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Here's a closer look at a matchup to watch in Sunday's Falcons-Browns game:

Browns RS-WR Joshua Cribbs vs. the Falcons' defense and special-teams coverage units.

When the Falcons and Browns last met in 2006 — a 17-13 Browns victory in Atlanta — Cribbs was not yet a special-teams star. His longest kickoff return on three tries was 21 yards. On offense, he had just one catch for 10 yards.

Today, Cribbs is one of the game's most feared returners. Teams have done very well to limit his kickoffs and punts this season, as he's averaging just 19.9 yards on kickoff returns and 6.8 yards on punt returns.

But can Atlanta hold him in check? The Falcons are limiting opponents to just 19.2 yards per kickoff but surrendered a 72-yard punt return to the Saints' Lance Moore in Week Three.

In addition to his special-teams work, Cribbs has a varied role on offense, catching 12-167-1 and rushing for 9-41-0 in four games this season. Cribbs, who had nine yards on three rush attempts in Week Four, has had success carrying the ball when taking direct snaps in Cleveland's "Flash" package.

The 6-1, 215-pound Cribbs is a strong runner who can shake off tackles, and his power could surprise a Falcons team that usually only sees him once every four years in regular-season play.





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