Steelers Stay Alive in Playoff Hunt with Win Over the Browns

Steelers’ wide receiver James Washington (13) focuses on catching the 30-yard touchdown pass from Devlin Hodges on December 1, 2019 against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The Steelers control their own destiny!

The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting with a record 7-5 and have — at the  moment — solidified their spot in the 2nd place in the AFC North division after defeating the Cleveland Browns 20-13 at Heinz field, Sunday. With a litany of injuries to starters on both sides of the ball, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin realizes his team was faced with an uphill battle and after the victory simply said no matter what, you have to get it done. “It feels good to win always, but it definitely feels good to win when you are faced with adversity in terms of people available to you,” Tomlin said. “There‚Äôs just less margin for error. Not that we feel like we are incapable, we just realize we have to play closer to optimum level.”

Tomlin made the necessary adjustments before the second half based on what he observed throughout the game. 
 
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin pointing at the referees during the game against the Cleveland Browns on December 1, 2019 at Heinz Field. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
“We felt like we needed to minimize their run in the second half more than we did in the first half and we needed to run it better than we did in the first half. We felt like it was 10-10 at the half, but they had won the line of scrimmage. They had more significant run plays, they had control of the time of possession. We needed to flip that.” — Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers
 
Cornerback Joe Haden sealed the win for Pittsburgh with an interception against Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and took to the postgame podium with a smile on his face knowing that, despite his individual play of 2 tackles and 1 INT, it was a good team win. “We just have a group of guys with Terrell [Edmunds], Steve Nelson and then the addition of Minkah [Fitzpatrick]. This is one of the best secondaries I have ever been a part of because we have communication, we have guys that are very football smart and are very capable of making plays.” Haden said “I feel like I am holding my side down, but everybody else is doing their thing in the back end.”
 
Running back Benny Snell Jr. rushed for 63 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. He said the win was dedicated to center Maurkice Pouncey who was suspended for the game due to the unfortunate on field altercation the last time the Steelers and Browns met where a fight broke out and Pouncey came to the defense of his teammates. “Him [Pouncey] not being out there with us, we wanted to get this win for him. That’s why we got the game ball for him as well. I’m happy and I’m proud!” 
 
Devlin “Duck” Hodges passes during the game against the Cleveland Browns on December 1, 2019 at Heinz Field (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
For the second consecutive game QB Duck Hodges connected with wideout James Washington for a score. This time for 30 yards splitting two defenders for the touchdown. Washington says coach Tomlin’s motivation is what plays in his mind constantly. “Coach [Tomlin] would always say, ‘You never know how many opportunities you’re gonna get.’ What better game not to going out there and do that?!”
 
The Steelers head to Arizona to face the Cardinals who are 3-8 and in last place in the NFC West. 
 

BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
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