CLEVELAND—In all likelihood, the Lombardi trophy will have a new home in 2010.
The current owner, the Pittsburgh Steelers, saw their playoff hopes take a devastating blow with another surprising loss to an inferior opponent. This time the lowly Cleveland Browns (2-11) earned a 13-6 victory over the defending Super Bowl champions. The game extended Pittsburgh's losing streak to a season-high five games. It was the first time Cleveland beat the Steelers in six years.
On Thursday Pittsburgh (6-7) had the same lack of urgency it showed in the past month in losses to equally bad teams like the Oakland Raiders (4-8) and Kansas City Chiefs (3-9). In a must-win game, the Steelers fell behind 13-3 at intermission before trying to rally. But the offense couldn’t muster enough points on a frigid and windy night.
This 2009 season for the Steelers will go down as one of the most disappointing in recent memory if they remain on the outside looking in come playoff time. Inconsistent play and injuries leave the reigning champs with a lot of unanswered questions moving forward.
There are now five teams in the AFC wild-card race with better records than Pittsburgh. So the best the Steelers can do at this point is try to win their final three games and hope for the best.