Steelers Clinch Playoff Berth with win

Posted on Jan 3 2016 - 8:50pm by Rachael McKriger

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading to the playoffs. The Steelers, who finished the season with a 10-6 record, defeated the Cleveland Browns today in a must-win game. The Steelers also had a bit of help as well from their friends up north in Buffalo as the Bills outlasted the New York Jets 22-17.

As for the Steelers game against Cleveland, their playoff berth certainly came at a huge cost. The Steelers had a major problem when DeAngelo Williams, the running back filling in for Le’Veon Bell, went down with what appeared to be a right ankle injury. After the game, head coach Mike Tomlin told the media that the extent of Williams’ injury is unknown but said that they’re “not counting DeAngelo out” for the first playoff game.

Filling in for Williams after his injury was Fitzgerald Toussaint. Toussaint had 12 carries for 24 yards, with his longest being a five yard gain. Even though the Steelers couldn’t get the ground game going, the passing game had it’s moments. Antonio Brown caught 13 passes for 187 yards. Brown also had a touchdown in the second quarter. Markus Wheaton also had a touchdown, his coming in the fourth quarter, while Heath Miller had the Steelers first touchdown in the first quarter.

Leading the defense was safety Will Allen and linebacker Lawrence Timmons. Allen had seven tackles and one sack on Browns’ quarterback Austin Davis while Timmons had seven tackles and three assists. Timmons also had one sack and also assisted another sack. Also getting sacks on Davis were Ryan Shazier (assist with Timmons), Antwon Blake, Arthur Moats, and Stephon Tuitt, who actually had two sacks. Intercepting Davis were William Gay and James Harrison.

On special teams, kicker Chris Boswell converted two out of three field goals and both of his extra point attempts. Punter Jordan Berry had three punts where he averaged 41.7 yards per kick and had one punt go inside the 20-yard line. Wheaton had two kick returns while Brown only had one punt return, however neither player could make it a far distance.

Having a shaky day was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger got the blood pressure of Steelers fans high by throwing two interceptions in the game. One of his interceptions went to safety Jordan Poyer while the other went to linebacker Craig Robertson. Roethlisberger completed 24/36 for 349 yards as the Steelers looked more to the passing game when Williams went down.

As mentioned, the extent of Williams injury is unknown, but the Steelers are hoping to have him back by January 9. That day, the Steelers will head to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio to face the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card game. The two teams have played each other twice this season, with both teams winning once. The Steelers will look to top the Bengals, who could be playing without starting quarterback Andy Dalton and with second string quarterback A.J. McCarron, again on Saturday.

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Photo of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Markus Wheaton courtesy of Gregory Shamus and Getty Images.

Follow me on Twitter, @TheeMcKriger, for more news and updates on the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL, MLS, NWSL, USMNT, and USWNT.

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