CLEVELAND - After losing to the Browns for only the second time in the past 18 meetings, some Steelers didn’t take it too well.
A number of Steelers left the field without engaging in the customary postgame handshakes, according to Browns players.
“They don’t respect us. Why would they? They've beat up on us in the past,” linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said.
The veteran has played in plenty of these rivalry games with the Steelers.
“They don’t like us and we don’t like them,” Jackson said. “We got one today and half their team walked off. I didn’t expect anything different.”
One Steeler who didn’t was James Harrison. The linebacker has built up a negative reputation among players around the league for his violent style of play but left a good impression with Browns’ rookie running back Trent Richardson.
“A lot of the Steelers went to the locker room but he was man enough to come to up to me and tell me good game,” Richardson said.
Frustration had to understandably be at a boiling point for the Steelers, who turned the ball over eight times and struggled with third-string quarterback Charlie Batch leading the offense. The loss sends them to 6-5 and could damage their playoff hopes, the Bengals nipping at their heels for the final AFC wild card.
“It’s great to beat them but now it’s over and you go back to the wins and losses,” Jackson said. “The only thing that matters to me are those wins and getting to the postseason.”
Too many close losses have put the playoffs far out of reach for the 3-8 Browns but the veterans know the significance of a win over a rival and perennial contender.
"To beat the Steelers is always high on the list of goals," offensive lineman Joe Thomas said.
They'll get one more shot to spoil the Steelers' season when they face off in the final week of the season.
“Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns is a big rivalry and I finally found that out today,” Richardson said.
It will be made even bigger if the Browns can further tip the scales away from the Steelers’ decade-long domination.
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