PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh played like it didn't want its season to end. Cleveland looked like it couldn't wait to pack things up and go home.
Yes, the same team that was 2-6 and looked like it needed a franchise-wide makeover a few days after Halloween is one of the final two standing for the last AFC playoff spot.
The team declined comment on reports Chudzinski is in trouble, though Chudzinski's players did something after the game they failed to do during it: rally around their coach.
Roethlisberger passed for 179 yards and a touchdown against two interceptions as Pittsburgh (8-8) won its third straight to avoid the franchise's first losing season since 2003. The victory also continued a furious second-half rally by the Steelers, who went 6-2 over the season's final eight weeks to fuel an improbable run at the AFC's final postseason spot.
Jason Campbell completed 23 of 41 passes for 240 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Josh Gordon caught seven passes for 82 yards to finish with an NFL-high 1,646 yards receiving, a first for the franchise. It proved little solace on a wet, miserable day at Heinz Field in which Cleveland looked very much like the same old Browns.
Cleveland was largely noncompetitive over the season's final three months, losing 10 of 11, with seven losses by a touchdown or more, including two to the Steelers by a combined 47-18.
Chudzinski called it simply "a difficult day," and added there has been no discussion with the front office about his job status.
There is no sense of panic in Pittsburgh. A season that appeared teetering on embarrassment after a 55-31 loss to New England on Nov. 3 ended up with a decidedly rosier finish.
The Steelers scored on the opening drive, a 9-yard strike from Roethlisberger to Jerricho Cotchery, and it was more than enough. Whenever the Browns threatened, they found a way to botch it. Twice they failed on fourth-down attempts in Pittsburgh territory and didn't reach the end zone until Campbell found Fozzy Whitaker on a 35-yard pass with 2:46 remaining.
The playoff picture
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The rapid development of Bell helped Pittsburgh's remarkable turnaround. He broke Hall of Famer Franco Harris' team record for total yards from scrimmage by a rookie by combining for 96 yards in the muck at Heinz Field. Bell finished with 1,259 total yards in just 13 games, 24 more than the mark of 1,235 Harris set in 1972.
Bell's 5-yard touchdown burst in the second quarter, which included a nifty spin move in the backfield, gave the Steelers a 14-0 lead at the break. It capped an 87-yard drive in which Bell touched the ball 10 times in 14 plays.
That was more than enough for a defense that appeared rejuvenated, sacking Campbell three times, including a strip fumble by defensive end Brett Keisel, likely playing his final regular-season game of his 12-year career with Pittsburgh.
The hope for at least one more playoff game remains, at least for a couple of hours.
"It's amazing that last week things kind of fell into place," Keisel said. "We're kind of hoping the same thing this week."
NOTES: Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown caught nine passes for 97 yards to finish with 110 receptions on the season, narrowly missing the club mark of 112 set by Hines Ward in 2012. ... Roethlisberger finished with 4,261 yards passing, the second-highest total in team history to his 4,328 in 2009.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press