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Sunday September 15 2019
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Steelers lament missing out on playoffs

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A season of ebbs and flows for the Pittsburgh Steelers came down to a win over the listless Cincinnati Bengals and a makeshift watch party at Heinz Field, in which the Browns vs. Ravens game that was being shown live on the jumbotron served as the final hammered nail in the home team's coffin.
Even though the Steelers kept their end of the playoff bargain by escaping with a 16-13 win against Cincinnati Sunday, they still found themselves helplessly watching the end of the Baltimore-Cleveland game on the scoreboard after their game ended.

Pittsburgh needed Cleveland to win at Baltimore in order to qualify for this year’s playoffs. The Browns made it more interesting than most thought as their game came down to the last minute, and drove near midfield, but ran out of gas, sending the Ravens to the playoffs instead of the Steelers.

Head coach Mike Tomlin was appreciative of the team’s efforts in the win but was just as disappointed as anyone that there will not be a playoff run this season (barring a highly unlikely tie in Sunday night’s Tennessee-Indianapolis game. He would not discuss the shortcomings of the season after the game, saving that for the season-ending press conference next week.

“We were able to control things that were in our control today. We are what our record is,” Tomlin said. “We accept the outcome. Obviously, we had 17 weeks to state a case for ourselves. It’s tough. It is what it is. We can paint with a broader brush on Tuesday.”

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said this year’s results start with him

“It’s hard not to reflect. The first thing I’ll do is look in the mirror and say, ‘I need to play better,’ “ Roethlisberger said. “I think everyone will take [this season] a different way. We made the playoffs the last few years. We got a little spoiled because we got to Super Bowls early-on. It’s not that easy. It’s the NFL.”

Offensive lineman David DeCastro said the team accepted the situation it was in, but that did not help the feeling watching the Ravens beat the Browns and win the AFC North.

“It felt one-hundred percent helpless,” DeCastro said. “It was nice to win but it’s a tough ending the season like that when it’s not in your control.”

Running back James Conner said the team had their hands full focusing on trying to beat the Bengals, so no one was scoreboard watching until their game was over.

“We were in a tight game ourselves. It didn’t mean anything if we didn’t win,” Conner said. “It was tough leaving the [situation] in someone else’s hands. It’s hard. Earlier in the season we needed to do some things different.”

Cam Heyward was disappointed this year’s team will not be playing any more games.

“We didn’t get the job done for each other. This group will never be the same. You never know who will be here and who will not,” Heyward said. “It was frustrating. We put ourselves in this position. To know you gave your all in this game but had to still look around and say we needed someone else to do their job, that’s now how we wanted this season to go.”
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