CLEVELAND – Needing a victory and a New York Jets loss to make the AFC playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers got both on Sunday.
The Steelers (10-6) beat the Cleveland Browns 28-12, but it was still a game in the fourth quarter.
With Cleveland (3-13) down 17-12, Pittsburgh's defense came up with the game's biggest play when linebacker Lawrence Timmons forced quarterback Austin Davis to fumble inside the Browns 10-yard line. Linebacker Arthur Moats recovered, and on the next play, Ben Roethlisberger completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton.
"It's been a tough, 16-week fight for us, but we're where we want to be," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We're where we need to be."
Roethlisberger threw for three touchdowns and 349 yards, including 187 to wide receiver Antonio Brown, who had 13 catches and a score. Brown finished the season with 136 catches for 1,834 yards for 10 TDs.
The Steelers sacked Davis seven times.
When a playoff berth was in hand, the Steelers hugged and high-fived on the sideline and thousands of Pittsburgh fans celebrated in the stands.
There was one hiccup as Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams left in the first half with an ankle injury. Tomlin said Williams will be evaluated and would not rule him out of the postseason.