Steelers-Browns matchup of the day: Friday

Posted Dec. 30, 2011 @ 10:09 a.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Here's a matchup to watch in Sunday's Steelers-Browns game:

Browns RS Joshua Cribbs vs. Steelers coverage units

The Steelers' coverage teams have been solid in 2011. The opposition has yet to score a touchdown on a kickoff or a punt. The Steelers haven't allowed a punt return of longer than 20 yards, and they have not allowed a kickoff return of more than 45 yards.

Sound special-teams play can go unnoticed, like a car with a good battery starting time and again in chilly weather. It's the breakdowns that get the attention. And any mistakes against the Browns' Cribbs could gain widespread notice, for he is capable of the highlight-reel play.

In Week 16, Cribbs scored an 84-yard touchdown on a punt return at Baltimore. The touchdown, his first on a return in a little more than two years, gave the Browns their first points of the game late in the third quarter. The score cut the Ravens' lead to 20-7. When the Browns added a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Baltimore really had a fight on its hands.

Cribbs has 11 return TDs in his career. Three have come vs. Pittsburgh — all on kickoffs. As a result, the Steelers are well aware of how dangerous he can be.