Steelers eliminated from playoff competition with 13-10 loss to Cincinnati

Jared Wickerham

Pittsburgh's offense wilts under pressure while Cincinnati made just one more play at the end to take a 13-10 victory over the Steelers, and advance to the playoffs. Pittsburgh has been eliminated for the first time since 2009.

There was no repeat of the Immaculate Reception.

Instead, the Steelers were left with a disappointing season-ending loss that saw far more common scoring opportunities squandered.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's second interception of the game resulted in the second consecutive game ending off three points scored due to that interception.

Last week it was a forced throw on the sideline in overtime, this time, Roethlisberger's errant pass and poor decision of throwing into two deep safeties burned the Steelers, who played perhaps their best defensive football game of the year.

The Steelers (7-8) are eliminated from the playoffs with the loss, one season after finishing 12-4, and having started 6-3 this year.

Injuries drug this team down, but the final game was decided by the poor play of Roethlisberger in particular, as well as some highly questionable coaching decisions.

The Steelers held the ball on fourth down with under two minutes to play. Staring at a 53-yard field goal, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin elected to kick anyway. Heinz Field has seen six successful field goals of more than 50 yards in its 11-year history.

Shaun Suisham missed it, giving the Bengals the ball with plenty of time to get into range for their own try. A completion to WR A.J. Green later (he had 10 catches on the day), and Josh Brown - the same kicker who missed three field goals at Ford Field against Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL - buried a 43-yarder for the winning score.

The Bengals survived an intensely physical and a defensively dominant performance from both teams, and sit at 9-6, awaiting Baltimore's game against the Giants.

If the Ravens lose, Cincinnati will host the Ravens for the AFC North championship in Week 17. If Baltimore wins, Cincinnati will play the No. 3 seed in the first round of the playoffs.


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