Week 18 Takeaways: Steelers finalize regular season with a win over the Browns

For some fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers a 28-14 win over the Cleveland Browns to finalize the 2022 NFL regular season in Week 18 may be a let-down; for others it was a thrill of a late-season comeback. Turning a 2-6 start into a 9-8 season, however, was not an easy feat for a Steelers team that was written off early by nearly every analyst – and many fans – only to surge back into contention.

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Yes, the Miami Dolphins’ win over the New York Jets on Sunday took all hopes of a playoff berth away, something Steelers players expressed as disappointing. The growth of this year’s Pittsburgh team is undeniable.

Giving credit where credit is due, this was a Steelers squad that was all-in, from coaching staff to individual players. Some had a better season than others, but collectively they held up in some truly difficult situations.

On Sunday, against the Browns, the Steelers played as if they needed no help to get into postseason play. The offense clicked, the defense harassed.

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It was fitting that Pittsburgh would find a way to make the most of an AFC North rivalry game by shutting Cleveland down. There has been a long history between the two franchises and, with the way the season started, the “big brother” Steelers had to win to stay alive as playoff hopefuls, but played like they just wanted to make a statement about how far they’d come during the 2022-23 NFL season.

There is so much to build off of moving forward that should create buzz during the off-season, if fans can just get past the desire that Pittsburgh was a Super Bowl Champion every year.

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The Steelers have their franchise quarterback in Kenny Pickett, a young receiving star in George Pickens, a versatile tight end in Connor Hayward, a solid change-of-pace rusher in Jaylen Warren, and those are just this year’s rookies in skill positions on offense.

The mix of veteran leadership and youth along both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as a complimentary secondary and support personnel gives Pittsburgh building blocks for an exciting future.

There was a lot to be happy about in this game, and this season. It may not go down in any history books outside ones that illustrate seasons the Steelers have had, outside of a few statistics individuals were able to record, but it had its ups and downs that kept things interesting.

A win is a win is a win. For many, that is enough. For others, it’s never enough. That’s part of the high standard Pittsburgh fans, and its football team, aspire to year after year.

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This Steelers team didn’t put enough of those together to control their own destiny, but many players on it will be back next year.

“I’m appreciative of the men, not what they’re capable of, but what they’re willing to do. In the face of adversity that football presents, in the face of adversity that life presents, we have an opportunity to kind of display some things in all of that… hopefully we learn something. Hopefully we taught others something in the midst of our journey.” – Mike Tomlin

The journey isn’t always a thrill ride. Sometimes, the road winds around obstacles, travels into valleys, wanders over tough inclines that lead to steep declines. The path to success is nearly never an easy one.

The Steelers ended the regular season at a high point, coming from behind to win tough games and then putting the Browns in the rearview.

What they do moving forward is a whole new chapter for the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.


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