Today’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns was basically meaningless after Pittsburgh clinched the AFC North title and #3 seed in the AFC playoffs on Christmas Day. This led to starters Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Maurkice Pouncey spending the day on the sideline in street clothes. The Steelers want to make sure that their offensive weapons are fully ready to go when the postseason begins.
Cleveland was coming off their first win of the season and hoped to carry some momentum into 2017 with another win today. Early on it looked like they were well on their way to win number two. Robert Griffin III would throw a 12 yard touchdown pass to Seth DeValve to put the Browns a head 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
The second quarter would see Griffin III find Gary Barnidge over the middle for a 4 yard touchdown pass that gave Cleveland a 14-0 lead and had the crowd at Heinz Field shaking their heads. Pittsburgh would finally get on the board with :31 seconds left in the half on a 11 yard touchdown pass from Landry Jones to DeAngelo Williams.
After a scoreless third quarter, Williams would tie the game 14-14 with a 1 yard rushing touchdown. The Steelers would then grab their first lead of the day with a little over five minutes left in the game when Jones hooked up with Demarcus Ayers for a 11 yard touchdown throw. That lead would not last for long as the Browns marched down the field and tied the game on a George Atkinson III 5 yard rushing touchdown.
With the game all tied up, it would take overtime to settle things between these two long time rivals. Cleveland was able to take the lead on a 34 yard field goal by Cody Parkey, but with the new overtime rules Pittsburgh had a chance to win the game. The Steelers would go down the field and even convert on fourth down to keep the drive alive, and then complete a 27-24 victory after Jones found Cobi Hamilton in the endzone for a 26 yard touchdown.
While this game was nothing more than a glorified preseason game, it was nice to end the regular season on a seven game win streak and avoid being beaten by the Browns. Hopefully the normal starters will be well rested and close to 100% when the playoffs begin next weekend. Date and time have yet to be determined, but the opponent will be the Miami Dolphins and the game will take place at Heinz Field.
Overall Record: 11-5
Next Game: TBD vs. Miami Dolphins