In a game that was played for pride and not playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers closed out their 2012 NFL season with a convincing win 24-10 over the Cleveland Browns. They started off strong and finished strong in front of a home crowd and gave fans something positive to close the season out on. But in what has been a season of disappointments, what can the Steelers and their fans take from a game like this?
Both teams had rosters that were littered with injuries so the lineups on the field were mere shells of what we’re are used to seeing. But regardless, both teams played hard and there was no give-up from either squad all the way to the end. The Steelers stuck to the script, pretty close to what I expected. In 51 plays, 25 were called passes and 26 rushes.
It was all about balance and taking advantage of the Browns mistakes. And they made plenty. One interception and three fumbles doomed the Browns and really highlighted what was one of the best overall efforts by the Steelers defense of the year. The game lacked a lot of flashy plays and gaudy stats, but the Steelers offense was efficient and the defense played more than well enough to win, keeping the Browns offense in shackles the entire game.
In my preview I also talked about injuries, and while several players had to leave the game due to some manner injury, however nothing of any significance so I breathe a sigh of relief at that one. I had said that I wouldn’t have played my key players just to be safe, but it appears as if they dodged the bullet on that one.
This was a game that was never in doubt for the Steelers but it’s hard to get to excited when the playoffs were already out of the picture. There was little in the way of “wow” plays for coaches to look at in terms of next season and so now it’s time for the Steelers staff to assess free agents and prepare for next year. But on this day the team came out and was balanced on offense and opportunistic on defense and finished the season on what can best be described as a high note. Now, on to the off-season and moving forward for 2013.