This game was not as close as the score indicates. The Browns are just a really bad football team. I mean some of the things that they were doing on the field were just pretty awful and I am not really sure the Steelers played a good game but they did plenty enough early on to put away the Browns.
Before I briefly touch on the game the bigger picture here is that after the game the Steelers quickly found out they were still alive for the playoffs. The Ravens lost to the Bengals and the Dolphins lost to the Jets so all that needed to happene for the Steelers to make the playoffs was for the Chiefs to beat the Chargers. A tall task since the Chiefs weren't playing any of their 11 starters on defense but to even have this chance is pretty remarkable.
Anyways, neither team in this game had 300 yards of offense and while the Steelers dominated a large majority of this game it never got so out of hand that you could turn off the game and watch one of the other games that were of interest to Steelers fans.
I think this really starts and ends with Le'Veon Bell. Dude was just a monster today. He rushed 20 times for 90 yards and a score and was just running over Browns defenders any chance he got. He really ran hard and whether it was an inside run or outside run he was making defenders miss and getting the extra yards on almost every single carry. He's gotten better in every single game he's played and really the only other thing I would like to see him do would be to improve in the pass catching game but you have to be thrilled with what he has done so far.
Antonio Brown was once again pretty outstanding. The passing game wasn't all that great because of the poor weather but Brown still managed to make nine catches for 87 yards. That isn't overly impressive but when theSteelers needed to make a play Brown was there to make the catch.
I think overall the Steelers have an offense that can play in the playoffs. They have good playmakers and a very good quarterback but where I think they struggle is on the defensive side of the football. The Browns are a bad football team and they are really bad on the offensive side of the ball but the defense did exactly what they had to do. They held the Browns off the scoreboard until there were less than three minutes left in the game and sacked Jason Campbell three times and forced a pair of turnovers. The defense was not perfect but the Browns were 0-for-3 on fourth downs in fringe field goal territory and that was enough for the win.
Defensively I don't think there is anyone more underrated than Lawrence Timmons. He did get beat in coverage on the Browns lone touchdown but for almost the entire season he's been the best player on the defensive side of the ball. Today he made eight tackles, two for loss, had a sack, and defended a pass. Not a bad day for the linebacker that a lot of people take for granted.
Jarvis Jones was all over the field. He led the team with nine tackles and it wasn't just in the pass rushing game where he was good. He didn't record one of the three sacks but early on he was making a ton of tackles right around the line of scrimmage and was step for step with his targets in pass coverage. One of his better games of the season and it was really good to see.
The bad news is that there is some injury news from out of the game. Both Steve McLendon (ankle) and Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder) left the game with injuries and while I don't know the status of those injuries neither of them looked overly good and those are two guys that have been really good this season and it would be a significant loss if they were unable to play if the Steelers made it into the playoffs.
The Steelers finished the season winning six of their last eight games and now have themselves in a spot to get into the playoffs. When the day started I thought that if it got to the point where the Chargers/Chiefs game meant something then it would be a pretty good day and here we are.