QBs lack experience in Browns vs. Steelers

Sunday, January 5, 2003

It all started for Tommy Maddox with a must-win situation in a Browns-Steelers game. Kelly Holcomb can only hope it works out so well for him.

The Steelers were seen as a certainty to reach the playoffs when the season began -- with Kordell Stewart at quarterback, not Maddox. The Browns had no idea until a few weeks ago they would get this far and, even then, never figured Holcomb would be their man.

Now, here they are, two quarterbacks with a combined 18 league starts between them set to oppose each other Sunday in the first NFL playoff game either has played.

Maddox probably saved the Steelers' season by coming off the bench to lead them to a 16-13 overtime victory over Cleveland on Sept. 29, preventing an 0-3 start from which they might not have recovered.

Holcomb, who watched from the opposing sideline that day as the backup to the now-injured Tim Couch, would like to mimic that performance now that he's Cleveland's starter the rest of the way.

He hopes it's not a one-week audition.

"I'm looking forward to this opportunity," said Holcomb, whose only NFL start before this season came with Indianapolis in 1997. "I've got to get back in the groove and try to win some ball games."

-- AP

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