It’s not just that the Steelers have been reduced to needing help to make the playoffs. It’s that that help has to come from the Browns.
That’s a painful admission for the traditional AFC North power, that the suddenly interesting Browns hold their keys to the postseason, as Pittsburgh needs to beat the Bengals and for the Cleveland to knock off the Ravens if they want to advance.
“Pray for Cleveland. Pray for the Browns,” Steelers safety Sean Davis said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.
Joe Haden angled his way out of Cleveland in 2017 and quickly signed with the Steelers to avoid situations like this (or to be pertinent in December, period). And he said after talking to some old friends, he’s confident they can help him.
“I’ve talked to a couple of them, just giving them some motivation,” Haden said. “But at the end of the day, I know those dudes, I know how they feel over there. Even if they may not be in the [playoff] picture, they want to end on a good note.”
So do the Steelers, though it’s distasteful to them to need the Browns’ help, but not as much as their distaste with their own play.
“With the way [the season] has gone, it’s a little deflating. But at the end of the day, it’s not over. We realize that, too,” guard David DeCastro said. “You just have to know there’s a chance. As bad as you feel now, you’ll feel worse if Baltimore loses and you lose, too.”
Considering the fact they lost to the Raiders, the Steelers can no longer assume a win over the Bengals. Which is why they’re smart to keep most of their focus on their own results.