Pittsburgh did its part to keep its playoff hopes alive by defeating Miami 30-24 earlier Sunday.
But upset losses earlier this year proved fatal, even with a three-game winning streak to end the season.
Baltimore converted two second half turnovers by JaMarcus Russell into seven points, and clinched an AFC Wild Card spot with a 21-13 win at Oakland.
The win by Baltimore eliminated the Steelers, after Houston had defeated New England earlier in the day. Because of the Texans' win, the Steelers needed Baltimore, Denver and the New York Jets to lose. The Jets clinch the remaining AFC Wild Card spot with a win Sunday night against Cincinnati. If they lose, the Texans will qualify for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Kansas City did its part, routing a Broncos squad that finished 8-8 after a 6-0 start this year, but Oakland couldn't capitalize on a mediocre-at-best performance in the Ravens passing game. In the end, Russell's turnovers were enough to allow Baltimore's strong running game to deflate the ball over the final 15 minutes.
It's the second time since 2006 that the defending Super Bowl champion failed to make the playoffs. The Steelers again failed to make the post-season that year. Contrary to 2009, Pittsburgh started off horribly in 2006, notching two victories in their first eight games. They stormed back, winning six of eight to end the year at 8-8. This year, a 6-2 start was nullified by a 3-5 finish. The five losses were consecutive, but the Steelers rallied to win their last three games.
With a 9-7 mark and a lack of a playoff berth, the Steelers will draft somewhere around 18 or 19, depending on how tie-breakers are finalized. The draft is scheduled for April.