In the third quarter, Browns nose tackle Phil Taylor blindsided Steelers tackle Kelvin Beachum with a forearm smash. The flagrant foul, which didn’t draw a penalty flag and took place away from the running play, resulted in Taylor getting fined $7,875.
On Friday, Taylor said he was “just playing to the whistle” and insisted he won’t be looking for any more payback.
“There’s a couple of players tried to go after me or whatever, but it is what it is,” Taylor said. “I’m not going to let that sidetrack me. I’m still going to do what I have to do.”
Taylor didn’t go so far as saying he hated the Steelers, but he came close.
“I think hate is a strong word, but I really do dislike them,” he said. “This game means a lot. It’s another division game, so we have to do what we have to do.”
The Taylor-Beachum exchange wasn’t the only roughhousing last year.
On the undercard of that Dec. 30 matchup, Steelers guard Doug Legursky dived into the legs of Browns linebacker Craig Robertson, who got up swinging. Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison drilled Browns quarterback Thaddeus Lewis after a touchdown pass and Rubin and teammate Billy Winn were slapped with personal fouls following a scuffle with several Steelers following an extra- point attempt.
Rubin, aware that Sunday’s game is expected to be played in snow and temperature in the mid-20s, is ready to rumble.
“It’s the Steelers,” he said. “Everybody’s amped up. The fans are amped up. They’re playing dirty. We’re playing dirty. It’s just that type of game, and it’s going to be that type of weather, too. We’ve just got to bring our hard hat and come to work.”
It’s going to be gritty and grimy, but that’s how a Pittsburgh-Cleveland should be.
“That’s why it’s fun and that’s why the fans love it,” Browns tackle Joe Thomas said. “There’s always a little extra on the field, guys are always hitting a little bit after the whistle, it’s a physical hard-nosed game – and it sounds like it’s that way in the stands.”
The Steelers have dominated the rivalry since 1999, going 24-5 against the Browns. This is Cleveland’s chance to enhance its playoff chances and damage Pittsburgh’s.
“This game is like our season,” Rubin said. “If we don’t pull out a win right here, I don’t know. This is very, very, very important to us, and we’re going to do everything we’ve got to do and try to do to get a win here.”
NOTES: Browns inside starting LB Craig Robertson will miss Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Tank Carder will likely start in Robertson’s spot. … Chudzinski said the team worked out punters earlier this week when P Spencer Lanning’s left (plant) knee got swollen. But Lanning practiced the past few days and is expected to play.