If Braylon Edwards didn't understand the Browns-Steelers rivalry before, he sure does now. This time he experienced it just like all Browns fans do.
Here's the formula: yap at the Steelers all week, suffer a heartbreaking defeat, then yap some more. That's Browns fans during Steelers week, and that's Braylon Edwards during Steelers week. That's what Braylon experienced last year, that's what Braylon experienced this year, and that's what everyone in Cleveland's been experiencing for, oh, the last 20 years at least.
Like the show 24, the script's always different but same in a way. Jack Bauer's going to fight terrorists, watch his friends die along the way, and save the world at the last second. The Browns are going to talk a good game, choke, then talk about how they at least played a good game and have to keep it up. Oh, and don't forget, to hell with the Steelers!
That's what Braylon said in the locker room, just after the Steelers had scored with 32 seconds left to take their first lead of the game, just after Charlie Frye's last-play Hail Mary pass bounced through Braylon's hands in the back of the end zone, just after Kellen Winslow consoled his teammate, who apparently didn't inspire his teammates by calling out the Steelers immediately following last week's victory over the Falcons.
Sunday wasn't the first time the Steelers p0wned Braylon. Last year he said no Steeler cornerback could cover him, then caught just 64 yards worth of passes in the teams' first meeting, a 34-21 Pittsburgh victory. Edwards didn't play the second Steelers game last year because of injury. Then the smack leading up to this year's game, an answer-the-bell 137 yards on seven catches, and two chances to catch Hail Mary passes that slipped right through his hands.
Just an awful weekend for Braylon, a Michigan grad, who had to watch his team go down to defeat against THE Ohio State University Saturday. Then he had to watch his former OSU foe Santonio Holmes catch a touchdown and convert a third-and-20 play after the Browns' home crowd fired up Holmes with an O-H-I-O chant.
So we're right back where we always are. Heartbreaking defeat. No points from the offense. Last place. Spanked by the Steelers. Hated by God.
At least the Browns are good at one thing -- last-second losses. Since the Browns last won two games in a row in October 2003, they've lost games in the final minute or overtime to the Broncos (2003), the Eagles and Dolphins (2004), the Bengals (2005), and the Steelers and Ravens (2006). Number of games the Browns won in the final minute in that span? One.
That's right. Over the past three years, the Browns have lost six games that were decided in the final minute while winning one. That one was the 9-7 victory over the Raiders last year when a replay review overturned a Reuben Droughns fumble in the final seconds, leading to Phil Dawson's game-winning field goal as time expired.
Of course, Braylon didn't play in that one. It came two weeks after he tore his ACL. Which equates with ripped-out hearts Browns fans suffer year in and year out.