Coming into Week 17 clinging to an outside playoff shot, the Pittsburgh Steelers needed to beat the Cleveland Browns and then hope the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins all lost.
The Steelers held up their end of the bargain by dominating the Browns, 20-7, in an impressive defensive outing. Their aging defense stymied the Browns, who were held to their second-lowest point total of the season.
With the Ravens and Dolphins losing Sunday afternoon, the Steelers now just need the Chiefs to beat the Chargers in the late afternoon game.
With Ben Roethlisberger struggling to a degree (179 yards, one touchdown, two picks), the Steelers leaned heavily on the running game. Rookie halfback Le'Veon Bell had 90 yards and a score. His five-yard touchdown in the second quarter gave his team a 14-0 lead.
Pittsburgh wasted no time getting started, roaring down the field on their first offensive possession to take a 7-0 lead. Roethlisberger swung a pass out to Jerricho Cotchery, who dove into the endzone for his 10th touchdown of the season.
Shaun Suisham field goals of 30 and 32 yards pushed the difference to 20-0.
The Browns avoided the shutout when Foswhitt Whittaker took a short pass from Jason Campbell on a crossing route and stretched it into a 35-yard touchdown.
Cotchery injured his shoulder attempting to make his second touchdown grab of the day on a diving attempt in the endzone. He did not return to the game.
Did they cover?
The Steelers easily covered the six-point spread listed at Oddsshark.com.