Wizards

Steelers pull away from Browns in 24-10 win

201212301254464545316-p2.jpeg

Steelers pull away from Browns in 24-10 win

PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II milled about the locker room after Sunday's 24-10 season-ending win over Cleveland, offering handshakes to some players, pats on the back to others.

It wasn't a typical fall in Pittsburgh (8-8), which avoided its first losing season in a decade but missed the playoffs for the first time in three years after a dramatic collapse. Yet even with the anticipated departure of several bold-faced names, the Steelers remain committed to the plan that's made them one of the most consistent forces in a league where parity rules.

``There's going to be a few `old-school' guys like us left who can impart some wisdom and leadership,'' safety Troy Polamalu said.

Not so much in Cleveland, where coach Pat Shurmur's two-year tenure is likely down to its final hours. If he departs, the Browns (5-11) will be in search of their sixth coach since the franchise was reborn in 1999.

Though Shurmur hasn't spoken to new owner Jimmy Haslam, the coach - who is 9-23 in Cleveland - is anticipating working elsewhere next fall.

``I have kids in college, I have mouths to feed,'' Shurmur said. ``This is my profession and this is what I choose to do. That's it. That is how simple it is in my mind.''

Shurmur took a little extra time addressing his players during the postgame, perhaps sensing it marked the final time he'll get the chance. He declined to go into specifics, but his players could sense how much it meant to him even though the Browns failed to sweep the Steelers for the first time in 24 years.

``To me, he was trying to hold back tears,'' linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. ``He put everything into it, and we were trying to do something that hadn't been done since 1988. With everything else that's looming over his head, it's tough. He's in a tough spot. The players appreciate it. We'll run through a brick wall for him; it's just too bad we couldn't get a win for him.''

In the end, Shurmur's last setback looked an awful lot like the 22 that came before it. The Browns outgained the Steelers by more than 100 yards (320-212) but turned it over four times, twice deep in their own territory.

Ben Roethlisberger tossed short touchdown passes to Antonio Brown, Plaxico Burress and Leonard Pope as the Steelers continued their stretch of nine straight years without a losing season.

``I said earlier in the week that we wanted to come out and finish the year with a win and have a good feeling going into the offseason,'' Roethlisberger said. ``That is what we did. I'm proud of the way the guys finish.''

Cleveland's third-string quarterback, Thaddeus Lewis, completed 22 of 32 passes for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception while filling in for injured starter Brandon Weeden.

``We just need to find a way to win, stats mean nothing,'' Browns linebacker Craig Robertson said. ``You have two columns, wins and losses. That's all that matters.''

That's all that matters to Haslam, who made a splash when he purchased the Browns earlier this season. The former Steelers minority owner wants to build Cleveland into a contender, which hasn't been consistently competitive in two decades.

Shurmur insists the building blocks are in place and for a brief stretch this season the Browns looked as if they had turned a corner. Cleveland put together a three-game winning streak spanning late November and early December that had some doing the complicated math necessary to put the Browns in the playoffs.

The optimism died just as quickly as it arose. Cleveland came back to earth in a 38-21 whipping at the hands of the Washington Redskins two weeks ago, followed by a blowout loss in Denver. Given a chance to sweep their biggest rivals for the first time in 24 years, the Browns instead lost to the Steelers in the regular-season finale for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

The changes in Pittsburgh won't be so widespread, but with an aging roster and salary cap issues. Nose tackle Casey Hampton, linebacker Larry Foote, offensive tackle Max Starks and wide receiver Mike Wallace are among those who will be free agents.

``You want everybody back but you know that is not what is going to happen,'' Roethlisberger said.

Quick Links

WATCH: Bradley Beal cross Andre Drummond into next week on step-back 3

WATCH: Bradley Beal cross Andre Drummond into next week on step-back 3

Bradley Beal didn't take long to add to his highlight reel Monday afternoon.

Beal just reminded Pistons' center Andre Drummond that he really shouldn't be out on the perimeter while on defense. 

After crossing up Drummond, Beal hit him with a step-back three and then reminded him that you should really slide your feet on defense. 

Beal is clearly having himself a week after getting engaged to his longtime girlfriend on Sunday.

Hopefully, Drummond learned his lesson.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Bradley Beal passes Wes Unseld on Wizards' all-time scoring list

Bradley Beal passes Wes Unseld on Wizards' all-time scoring list

Bradley Beal is the leader of the Wizards and now holds the mantle as the franchise player now that he's committed for at least two more years. 

In his eighth season with the Wizards, Beal continues to move up the team's all-time scoring list. Entering Monday's game against the Pistons, Beal needed 17 points to pass Wes Unseld on the Wizards' All-time scoring list, and after going into halftime tied with the Bullets legend, he finally passed him with a pull-up jumper. 

Unseld scored 10,624 points in his 13-year, Hall of Fame career with the franchise from 1968-81, and now that Beal has passed him he now sits in fourth-place on the Wizards' all-time scoring list. 

The three players ahead of him are Elvin Hayes (15,551), Jeff Malone (11,083) and John Wall (10,879). 

Since Wall is out for most if not the entire season, Beal should be able to pass him before the year is done, and there's no reason to think he can't pass Malone during next season. 

If the Wizards can convince Beal to re-up after his current contract is out, Beal could end his career as the franchise's leading scorer and maybe even the best player in the team's history if they can build a winner around him. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: