The stakes were high heading into Week 17's regular season finale between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. The Steelers needed a win and then were hoping for the Jets to lose to the Bills in order to make the playoffs. Cleveland had a chance to spoil their rival's playoff hopes, but a loss could have put them in position to have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, depending on what the Titans did.
For much of the game, everything was very close. In fact, heading into the fourth quarter, the Browns trailed the Steelers 17-12, the Bills led the Jets 19-17, and the Titans trailed the Colts 27-24. After the Steelers kept on trying to hand the game to Cleveland with mistake after mistake, QB Austin Davis, filling in for QB Johnny Manziel, kept saying, "I don't think so."
Davis' repeated inaccuracy and indecision didn't allow the team to capitalize on three Steelers turnovers. When Davis fumbled in the fourth quarter in his own territory, QB Ben Roethlisberger hit WR Markus Wheaton for an 8-yard touchdown pass, and the team's two-point conversion was good. The Browns fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Steelers tacked on a field goal. In the blink of an eye, the Steelers led 28-12.
With under two minutes to go in Cleveland, the Bills held on to officially beat the Jets 22-17 and clinching a playoff spot for the Steelers. At the same time, Tennessee was trying to drive with under two minutes to play, down six points, but the Colts sacked QB Alex Tanney for a big loss. Then, facing 4th-and-21, Tanney's pass to TE Delanie Walker was broken up. In other words, it was the worst-case scenario for Cleveland:
- Cleveland allowed Pittsburgh to make the playoffs, and
- Tennessee secured the No. 1 overall pick.
Now, we'll see how quick the Browns move on from head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer.
- QB Austin Davis: 24-of-46 (52.2%) for 240 yards, 2 INT, 1 fumble lost.
- TE : 8 catches, 66 yards (gets over 1,000 yards on the year).
- WR : 1 catch, 42 yards (6 targets).
- ILB : 1 INT & 1 fumble recovery
- S : 1 INT