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Steelers 20, Browns 7

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers did their part to keep their playoff hopes but were left waiting for help on three other fronts.

The Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns 20-7 on Sunday at Heinz Field to finish the regular season with an 8-8 record.

That was enough for the Steelers to stay alive and got needed help with losses by the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins. The Steelers entered the late afternoon games needing the San Diego Chargers to lose to the Kansas City Chiefs in order to secure the sixth and final seed in the AFC.

The Steelers won their third straight game and also beat the Browns for the 10th consecutive time in Pittsburgh in their attempt to become just the second team in the NFL history - the 1992 San Diego Chargers were the other - to make the playoffs of the 185 teams who have started a season with four losses.

The Browns lost their final seven games to finish 4-12, marking the sixth straight season they had a record of either 5-11 or 4-12. Cleveland also missed the playoffs for the 11th year in a row, the second-longest active streak in the NFL behind the Buffalo Bills' 14.

Rumors swirled during the game that Browns first-year coach Rob Chudzinski could be in danger of losing his job on Monday. Cleveland got off to a 3-2 start before losing 10 of their last 11 games and finishing with one less victory than last season when Pat Shurmur was fired after two seasons as coach.

The Browns issued a statement in the middle of the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Steelers.

"Our focus is on the game today. We will not discuss any evaluation of the season until this upcoming week," the statement read.

Steelers rookie running Le'Veon Bell rushed for 90 yards and wide receiver Antonio Brown had nine receptions for 87 yards. Brown finished the season with 110 catches, two short of the Steelers' record of 112 by Hines Ward in 2002.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 217 yards, completing 21 of 37 passes for one touchdown with two interceptions. Roethlisberger, who improved to 17-1 in his career against the Browns, had been picked off just twice in the previous six games combined.

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was held to 82 yards on seven receptions after torching the Steelers for 237 yards on Nov. 24 at Cleveland. Quarterback Jason Campbell was 23 of 40 with 240 yards and one touchdown and one interception.

The Steelers ground out two touchdown drives, covering nine and 14 plays, to take a 14-0 halftime lead.

The Steelers scored on their first possession with a 9-yard pass from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. Bell had a 5-yard scoring run with 4:22 left in the second quarter.

A pair of field goals by Shaun Suisham - a 30-yarder in the third quarter and a 32-yarder in the fourth period - pushed the Steelers' lead to 20-0.

The Browns avoided being shut out when running back Fozzy Whittaker caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Campbell with 2:46 remaining.

NOTES: Browns CB Joe Haden (hip) was inactive along with OL Shawn Lauvao (thigh), DL John Hughes (knee, elbow), OL Jason Pinkston (concussion), DL John Hughes (knee, elbow), TE Andre Smith (calf) and DL Phil Taylor (concussion). ... Cleveland CB Buster Skrine (shoulder) was injured in the second quarter and did not return, leaving the Browns without their starting corners. ... Steelers WR Antonio Brown became the first player in NFL history to have at least five receptions and 50 yards in all 16 games of a regular season. The record for most consecutive games is 19, set by Laveranues Coles from 2002-03. ... RB Le'Veon Bell set the Steelers' rookie record for most yards from scrimmage with 1,261 -- 862 rushing, 399 receiving -- breaking the mark of 1,235 set by Franco Harris in 1972 .... Steelers NT Steve McLendon (left ankle) was injured in the second quarter and did not return. ... Among Pittsburgh's inactives were LB Jason Worilds (abdomen) and LB Terence Garvin (knee).

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