PITTSBURG – Ben Rothlisberger covered a 123-yard touchdown and stoppage in his last start at Heinz Field, and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns 26-14 on Monday night to maintain their post-season hopes.
Pittsburgh (8-7-1) need Roethlisberger to win the Baltimore next week and Indianapolis to beat Jacksonville to reach the playoffs for the 12th time in 18 seasons.
He could not do it alone. Rookie Naji Harris ran for the best 188 yards and touch in his career, Chris Boswell scored four goals and TJ Watt Baker fired Mayfield four times, giving him 21 1/2 points per season, one of the Hall of the NFL records kam. The famous Michael Strahan in 2001.
The Pittsburgh defense fired Mayfield nine times as Cleveland (7-9) – excluded from postseason play on Sunday – put the game on Mayfield’s torn shoulder instead of pushing Nick Chubb back against the NFL’s worst rush defense. .
Chubb ran 12 times in 58 yards, while Mayfield threw 37 times, finishing just 16 yards in 185 yards with two touches and two balls, making the team a long-term solution in a situation where instability is the norm. It is difficult to have convincing evidence for. for decades.
In Pittsburgh, everything is different. In several ways.
Roethlisberger, now 39, has been on the franchise since he took the injured Tommy Maddox as a freshman two weeks after the 2004 season.
Roethlisberger ran to Heinz Field for the 135th time as a starting defender, yelling, “Come on, Ben!” Let’s go to Ben! ” he went to throw the coin. It was an honor after Rotlisberger teammates and colleagues allowed Cam Hayward and Derek Watt to walk alone in front of the midfield logo.
Roethlisberger had tears in his eyes during an interview with ESPN after the game.
“I am very grateful to these fans and to this place. There is no place like it, ”he said.
Roethlisberger has said he has no plans to hold the last two games of his 18th season in a celebratory manner.
The tank may be dwindling, but it’s not empty, and when he decided it was always over, he briefly showed him the game he had won the two-time Super Cup and Hall of Fame.
The shoulder is fake here. There’s a step in your pocket. The legs do not move as fast as before. His hand does not deliver with the clarity of the past. Games that stretched to the field were largely replaced by dinks and dunks designed to protect him behind the offensive line.
If there was one constant thing during Rothlisberger’s career, it was his skill with the Browns, who supported Ohio-born Kellen Winslow in the 2004 project.
Roethlisberger’s win against Cleveland improved his record to 26-3-1, less than a year after the Browns threw four goals in the first-round playoff game last January. then took a small revenge.
That night was supposed to be the starting point for Cleveland going into 2021. It just didn’t happen. Mayfield’s injuries and inconsistent play will force the Browns to watch 18 playoff games from home in the last 19 years.
The Steelers created a 13-0 lead behind Roethlisberger’s 417th-minute pass, turning 5-yard to Diontae Johnson in the first half, which marked the first half before Pittsburgh’s Thanksgiving.
Cleveland returned to him shortly after Mayfield hit David Njoku from 6 yards out in the third quarter, but there was no return. Watt has backed his candidacy to be the best defensive player of the year, and his defense, which has been bad for most of the last two months, is not without the threat he has lacked for a long time.
Harris, meanwhile, has shown he can control the attack in Pittsburgh when the post-Roethlisberger era begins.