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Steelers playoff bound with win and Jets' loss


The Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) are playoff-bound after knocking off the ridiculous Cleveland Browns (3-13) 28-12 on Sunday. Here's what you need to know:

1. Pittsburgh needed a win on Sunday paired with a Jets loss to Buffalo to nab an AFC wild-card berth. They got both, vaulting the Steelers into the postseason as the AFC's No. 6 seed. Give coach Mike Tomlin all sorts of credit after this team overcame the loss of Le'Veon Bell and five missed games by Ben Roethlisberger. This isn't a perfect team, but they can play with anyone when their offense is hot. If they can overcome some of the sloppy mistakes that plagued them over the past two weeks, the Steelers are a threat to make an impact in January.

2. Antonio Brown hurt the Steelers with a fumble on Pittsburgh's opening drive, but the All-Pro wideout caught fire from there, piling up 10 catches in the first half alone en route to 187 yards off 13 grabs. Worthy of MVP consideration, Brown joins Hines Ward as the only Steeler with consecutive seasons of 10-plus touchdown catches during a campaign that saw him log an outrageous 136 receptions -- just seven behind Marvin Harrison's single-season record. Still, this was not an easy game for Roethlisberger, who lashed the Browns for 349 yards at 9.7 yards per throw but also lobbed a pair of picks that kept this game too close for comfort until Cleveland imploded. Big Ben, though, always finds a way to beat the floundering Browns, who mustered just four field goals with Austin Davis under center.

3. The Steelers got a scare when DeAngelo Williams was ruled out with an ankle injury. Without their veteran running back, Pittsburgh asked Fitzgerald Toussaint (13/23) to finish the game, but all eyes will be on Williams heading into next week's wild-card tilt. He's been a sensational fill-in for Bell and they'll need him in January.

4. With Johnny Manziel out of the lineup, Davis continued Cleveland's proud tradition of starting a no-namer at quarterback in Week 17. Pounded by a Steelers line that piled up a whopping seven sacks, Davis turned a trio of Steelers turnovers into just three points, but it's Manziel who remains front and center: Will the new regime keep him or trade him away?

5. Tight end Gary Barnidge joined Ozzie Newsome and Kellen Winslow II as the only tight ends in Browns history to cross 1,000 yards receiving. One of the few bright spots in what might be their most disappointing season since their return.

6. While the Steelers notched their 12th-straight non-losing season, the Browns sealed up the second-overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. But who will make that selection? Poised to hire their eighth coach since 1999 -- and the third under owner Jimmy Haslam -- nothing will change until Cleveland finds a coach and general manager who can work together and wipe out the stunning and disabling in-fighting. There's little reason to believe the Browns have enough shared vision inside the building to make it happen.


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