Steelers beat Browns, but Pittsburgh misses a playoff berth
The Pittsburgh Steelers held up their end of the bargain in their final game against the Browns, but their playoff hopes were shattered simultaneously.
After all their efforts since the bye week, the season will end in heartbreak fashion for the Pittsburgh Steelers. As we predicted, Mike Tomlin would take care of business and preserve his streak of never having a losing-record season by defeating the Browns in Week 18. However, players and fans received some discouraging news.
As time winded down on the clock at Acrisure Stadium and the Steelers secured a 28-14 victory, fans followed along intently with what was happening in Buffalo and Miami this week. The Bills needed to beat the Patriots and the Jets needed to emerge victorious against the Dolphins for Pittsburgh to earn a playoff berth.
Two out of three isn’t bad, but it wasn’t good enough in this case. Though the Steelers and Bills each took care of business this week, a Joe Flacco-led Jets offense couldn’t do enough against Miami as they lost by a last-minute field goal with a final score of 6-9 — officially eliminating Pittsburgh from playoff contention.
Steelers were encouraging vs the Browns, but Week 18 was a sucker punch
It’s hard not to be encouraged by the play of Mike Tomlin’s team in their 2022 season finale. Kenny Pickett moved the ball pretty well and the running game was once again effective. Additionally, T.J. Watt and the Steelers defense had an outstanding performance against Cleveland and did a great job getting after Deshaun Watson. They finished the evening with 7 sacks and 10 QB hits, via ESPN stats.
While going 7-2 since the bye weak should leave a sweet taste in our mouths, many fans are no doubt discouraged that this 9-8 team did not earn the final spot in the AFC playoffs after all of this.
What’s perhaps equally as discouraging is that Pat Freirmuth — Pittsburgh’s stud tight end — had to be helped off the field and two the locker room by two men. Freiermuth went down in clear pain holding his left knee and the fear is that he may have suffered a severe injury in the season finale.
If this is the case, the second-year tight may have to spend most of the offseason rehabbing. Freiermuth was having a breakout season.
In the coming offseason, we will be able to look back and reflect on the positives we have seen from the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2022 season, but right now, it’s hard to enjoy the sweet taste of victory knowing that this time was just inches from a playoff berth and one of their best players may have suffered a major injury for nothing.