If I told you before this game, the Steelers would return an interception for a touchdown, force 10 punts, limit the Browns to 238 yards and record four sacks, you'd have almost guaranteed a victory.
Then again, if I told you the Steelers would turn the ball over eight times - to once for Cleveland - and would still have a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, you'd have told me I was crazy.
@ Despite this loss, all is not down the drain for the Steelers.
Troy Polamalu and Antonio Brown should be back this week to play against the Ravens, while my gut feeling is that the Steelers will hold off another week with Ben Roethlisberger, even though he is saying that he's going to give playing this week a shot.
The final four games - three of which are at home - are winnable. The Steelers will likely be a three-point underdog at Dallas Dec. 16, but Pittsburgh is a better team.
And even if the Steelers only win three of those four games, the Bengals would have to go 4-1 in the final five to beat the Steelers for the final wildcard spot.
Cincinnati travels to San Diego this week for a tough road game, then hosts Dallas and travels to Cincinnati before closing the season at Pittsburgh and at home against the Ravens.
And there's a good chance Baltimore will be playing to assure a first-round bye in that game.
So if the Steelers can beat San Diego, Cleveland and Cincinnati at home, they'll be in the playoffs.
@ Honestly, what was the difference between Chris Rainey's momentum not being stopped at the end of the first half and Trent Richardson's being whistled dead prior to his fumble at the end of the game?
@ I seriously don't get Mike Tomlin's usage of the running backs at all. All four fumbled in the first half of this game. Yet Rainey didn't get benched because his fumble happened to go out of bounds?
And I really think this fumble rule is putting bad thoughts in the heads of his backs.
Not to mention the fact that Brown and Mike Wallace have both lost key fumbles this season, but neither has been benched.
@ I've praised Todd Haley's play calling quite a bit this season, but I felt he was way too conservative early in this game.
The Steelers really didn't start throwing the ball downfield at all until they were down 13-7 late in the first half.
To that point, everything had been short screens and such, almost as if the Steelers were playing not to lose - or not to have to put Brian Hoyer in the game.
Charlie Batch didn't play all that bad. Sure, he threw three interceptions, but really, only one was his fault - the deep ball into double coverage for Wallace.
Plaxico Burress ran a soft route that allowed Sheldon Brown to easily undercut him on one interception, while Wallace batted another into the air over the middle.
And Batch had some other nice throws called back on holding penalties by Ron Winter's crew, who must get paid per flag thrown.
@ Jason Worilds, subbing for LaMarr Woodley from midway through the first quarter on after Woodley left with an ankle injury, played a whale of a game.
James Harrison showed up strong for the second consecutive game as well and seems to be rounding into form.
Makes me think that outside linebacker might not be the glaring need in the draft that many feel. Though it would be tough to pass on a dynamic young pass rusher.
@ Ryan Clark continues to throw his body around with an apparent disregard for his own safety.
And that, and Troy Polamalu's issues this season, lead me to the safety position as the premiere first-round option for this team, which could use a ballhawk in the secondary.
@ Really, Ike Taylor undercut two passes in the first half just as Brown did in the second. The only difference was that Brown caught the ball, while Taylor dropped it - twice.
@ I honestly didn't understand Tomlin's decision to decline a holding penalty on the Browns at the 18-yard line and allow them to kick a 32-yard field goal as opposed to forcing them into third-and-18 from the 28.
Sure, the Steelers had stopped Cleveland. But a sack, fumble or even quarterback Brandon Weedon falling down, takes the Browns to the edge of field goal range - or even out of it.
Instead, Tomlin conceded the field goal instead of keeping the NFL's best defense on the field and allowing it to try to make a play.