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Maddox Sparks Win

September 30, 2002|From Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Todd Peterson and Tommy Maddox got second chances in a wild, unpredictable overtime, and the Cleveland Browns wound up with a second bizarre loss in a month.

Maddox replaced Kordell Stewart to lead a tying touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, then drove Pittsburgh to Peterson's winning 31-yard field goal and a 16-13 victory Sunday that may have saved the Steeler season.

The Browns led, 13-6, late in the fourth quarter, then intercepted a Maddox pass, blocked a Peterson field goal and had a chance to win it on a Phil Dawson field goal in overtime--and still lost.

The Steelers (1-2) were within a couple of minutes of being 0-3 when Maddox came in to complete 11 of 13 passes for 122 yards on two scoring drives.

"This was huge for us," linebacker Joey Porter said of the Steelers, widely regarded as the AFC's preseason favorite. "Maybe we play better when we're underdogs, because everybody was writing us off when we were 0-2."

Peterson's winner with 7:46 remaining in overtime came one play after Alvin McKinley blocked his 24-yard attempt. But because it was only second down and Pittsburgh's John Fiala fell on the bouncing ball, the Steelers retained possession. Peterson redeemed himself on the next play.

"Coach Cowher asked if I wanted him to run a play so I could get my bearings back," Peterson said. "I said, no, it's a 31-yarder, I can make that, so let's kick it and go home."

For Cleveland (2-2), the loss wasn't as devastating as its 40-39 loss to Kansas City in their opener, when Dwayne Rudd's helmet toss allowed the Chiefs to kick a game-winning field goal. But this also was a game the Browns seemingly had won.

"It's hard. It's tough to come here and lose the way we did," said Jamel White, who ran for 105 yards and a touchdown.

"But anything can happen in overtime. We pulled out a game at Tennessee last week in overtime, and it was there for us to win again."

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